When Notre Dame hosts Cleveland State on Saturday at noon at the Rolfs Aquatic Center, it will be a rather emotional day for the Fighting Irish. That’s because it will be there turn at the “Senior Day” carousel, honoring those swimmers who are racing their last home meet for the team.
This meet will come with all of the usual bitter-sweet moments. It will see the ceremony of stars like Kelly Ryan for the women and Frank Dyer for the men, with Dyer being one of the most successful swimmers in program history.
In total, the graduations won’t take a big chunk out of the team’s core simply because they’re relatively small classes: just 5 women are seniors, and just 4 men.
But there will, however, be a noticeable gap for the next time we see the Irish race at Rolfs. That’s because the meet will be the final home meet for men’s team head coach Tim Welsh. He has been at Notre Dame since 1985, and announced in November that he would retire at the end of this season.
Welsh’s excursion into swimming was a unique one, as explained by this article from 1993 by the Philadelphia Inquirer. He was not a high school swimmer, and in fact has very little competitive background as a swimmer (he was a basketball player by trade). However, coaching swimming grew from a summer job, to something that got him through his postgraduate studies, into his profession. Things turned out pretty well for him.
The Welsh Files (Pending Final Three Meets of the Season)
- Led Johns Hopkins to Division III National Championships in 1978 and 1979
- 1979 NCAA Division III National Coach of the Year
- 33 conference championships
- 6-5-1 in his final season to bring career dual meet record to 325-179-1 (.645 winning percentage)
- 11 All-American honors
- 45 Big East event titles
- 6 Big East Conference team championships, including in the team’s last year before joining the ACC this season
- Sarah Dotzel, Fly, York, PA/York Catholic
- Christen McDonough, Breast, Charlotte, NC/Charlotte Catholic
- Lauren Stauder, Breast, Carmel, IN/Carmel
- Mikelle Masciantonio, Free/Back/IM, Center Valley, PA/Emmaus
- Kelly Ryan, Back/Free, Hindsdale, IL/Fenwick
- Bertie Nel, Free, Tzaneen, South Africa/Ben Vorster
- Frank Dyer, Free/Fly, Loudonville, NY/Shaker
- Joshua Choi, Breast/IM, Folsom, CA/Vista del Lago
- Colin Babcock, Breast/IM, Covington, LA/Saint Paul’s
- Tim Welsh, Coach, Aldan, PA/Alden High/Providence College