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Full Circle: Bass and Johnson look to end careers at the place where it all began

Mar 28, 2013, 9:40 AM EDT

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Chris Johnson on a youth relay team.

Reaching the NCAA Championships is the dream of nearly every collegiate swimmer, but for two senior student-athletes on the Notre Dame men’s swimming and diving squad, participating in this year’s championship meet carries a little extra emotional significance. Bill Bass (Chesterton, Ind.) and Chris Johnson (St. John, Ind.) are native Hoosiers, and for the majority of their swimming careers they would travel to the Indiana University Natatorium on the campus of IUPUI in Indianapolis for the various championship meets of both their club and high school seasons.

“My first meet at this pool was when I was ten. It was my first big invitational I had ever swum at and I only swam in one race, but the whole thing was really exciting for me at the time. I had never been at a championship meet before that point,” said Bass. “It has been really lucky that we are able to finish everything here. The state championships have been held here nearly every year, and to be able to have this come full circle is really exciting.” Bass will be completing his career this weekend as a two-time competitor at the NCAA Championships, and will finish as one of the most individually decorated swimmers in school history.

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Bill Bass (left) and Chris Johnson (middle) both grew up in the Hoosier State.

“The first meet you come to as an age-grouper in Indiana where it truly feels like a championship meet with its atmosphere is at the IU Natatorium. You have the huge pool and the stands which can hold thousands of fans that create a setting perfect for a championship meet,” said Johnson. “I never had the chance to come watch any of the Olympic Trials that were held here, but I did come to the “Duel in the Pool” (which pitted swimming stars from America and Australia against each other) and it was a really cool experience to see Olympians and world record holders racing in the same lanes that I would also be swimming in. This pool has so many championship memories. I don’t think I have ever swum slowly in this pool. It’s just one of those things growing up in Indiana; you come to IUPUI to swim fast. Getting to come back here to swim our last couple of races is something that you can’t help getting excited for.” Johnson will be competing in the 100 and 200 yard breaststroke events at this meet, as well as some relays.

Both swimmers are looking to add a few more memories at this storied location, and fortune has smiled at them bringing the NCAA Championships “Back Home Again in Indiana.” Be sure to visit und.com for all of your championship information, as well as for links to live stats, video, and session recaps each day. You can also follow the team on Twitter (@NDSwimming) and on Facebook. The meet begins today (March 28th) and will run through Saturday night with preliminary sessions in the morning and championship finals at night.

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Irish seniors Kevin Overholt, Chris Johnson, Bill Bass, Mason Weber and John McGinley with the BIG EAST championship trophy.

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