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Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024
The Observer

Men's Swimming: Dyer becomes second Irish NCAA swimmer

Capping off his record-breaking first year on the Irish squad, freshman Frank Dyer competed in the NCAA Swimming Championships over the weekend, becoming only the second swimmer in Notre Dame's history to do so.

Dyer, the first ever Irish freshman to qualify for the NCAA Championships, also recorded the highest ever finish for the Irish program in the meet when he placed 26th in the 200-meter freestyle. However, Dyer says that he doesn't expect his new record to remain intact for any significant period of time.

"I am honored to be the highest [Irish] finisher at the meet," Dyer said, "[However,] I know with the teammates that I have now and the incoming swimmers we have, 26th place will shortly be lowered to top eight at least."

If Dyer's prediction turns out to be accurate, he will most likely be the one to surpass his own previous best finish. In this year's NCAA meet, Dyer swam the 100, 200 and 500-meter freestyles, placing 40th, 26th and 44th respectively overall. Dyer's first swim of the Championships was the 500-meter freestyle, in which he recorded a time of 4:27.25. In February at the Big East Championships Dyer posted a time of 4:19.08 in the event, setting new records for Notre Dame and the conference as he became the 500-meter freestyle Big East Champion. Dyer, who was accompanied by his parents and coaches at the NCAA meet, says that he noticed the absence of his team's support he received at the Big East meet.

"It was hard to go faster in the 500 after such an emotional event with my team behind me at Big East [Championships]," he said.

Despite any drop-off from previous performances, Dyer said he still found plenty to celebrate as he realized that his showing as a freshman signals a promising career at the NCAA Championships.

"I was very happy with my first NCAA meet," Dyer said. "In my shorter distance events, I think I really set myself up nicely for NCAA meets in the future."

More importantly for Dyer, the swimmer hopes that his performance at the NCAA Championships will serve as a model and learning experience for the entire Notre Dame team.

"My first season in college was for me to continue to keep doing what I had been doing to get to this point," Dyer said. "But it was also an opportunity to see how much our team can improve. I want so badly for more members of our team to compete at the national level and I know we are just small steps away from it."

Should more members of the Irish team be able to qualify for the NCAA Swimming Championships in the coming years, it would be a welcome sign for a Notre Dame program that has enjoyed considerable success recently under coach Tim Welsh. At the very least, it is likely Dyer will return much stronger in his sophomore year having gained both experience and motivation as he sets his sights on a national title.

"This meet was definitely an eye-opener," Dyer said. "I have now seen the fastest, most competitive meet in college swimming and I want to put the work in to be as close to a national champion as I can be. Now, I'll have to work on things in the off season to become a smarter, more focused swimmer in order to accomplish my goals."