Familiar faces, strong rivalries and down-to-the-wire finishes are some of the annual hallmarks of this weekend’s dual meet against Notre Dame.
Both aquatic teams will travel to South Bend, Ind., on Saturday to face off against the Fighting Irish, a highly anticipated matchup for teams that share more than just a state. Eight Boilermakers hail from Northwest Indiana and many have spent time practicing and competing in Notre Dame’s pool. Purdue’s men are ranked 18th in the nation with the Irish currently just outside of the top 25. The women’s teams are ranked 18th and 24th for Purdue and Notre Dame, respectively.
“This weekend is always really competitive. We’ve had a lot of years with them where it’s come down to the last relay,” said women’s head coach John Klinge.
“Our swimmers do really get along with them really well; they have a lot of friends on their team,” Klinge said. “People grew up swimming together, competing together, so it’s fun. But make no mistake, when they get up and are ready to race, they want to beat the swimmers from Notre Dame just as much, or more, than any other race.”
Klinge’s side comes into the meet with a five-meet streak of victories over the Irish on the line. The men’s side has also had recent success against Notre Dame, winning six of their last seven against the Irish, but will enter Saturday’s meet with an added challenge.
On Thursday, the men’s team traveled to Oxford, Ohio, to take place in a dual-meet against Miami. This is only the eighth time that the Boilermakers have had to race in two different venues in the span of 48 hours. The Boilermakers hope to carry momentum from their win in Oxford back to South Bend.
Men’s head coach Dan Ross says that the trip will certainly challenge his team and act as a measuring stick of their progress. Ross says he’s consulted fellow Purdue coaches Dave Shondell (volleyball) and Robert Klatte (soccer) on how to best get his team prepared for the kind of quick turnaround they’ll be seeing this week.
“I expect it to really be a battle. We’ve had some pretty good luck with [Notre Dame] the last couple of years,” Ross said. “They’ve got a new head coach; they’ve got a really, really good team; they’re recruiting really well … we’re really going to see what we’re made of. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The meet will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Rolfs Aquatic Center in South Bend, Ind.