Nov. 8, 2017
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Another challenging meet awaits the University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams as the 2017-18 season rolls on. Fresh off a sweep of No. 23/16 Purdue on Oct. 27, the Irish are back in the pool against No. 1/9 Indiana and Cincinnati on Thursday at 2 p.m. (ET) in Bloomington. The meet will air live via a paid video feed on BTN Plus.
Notre Dame (4-1), ranked 13th (men’s) and 18th (women’s) in the latest CSCAA rankings, return to competition following a weeklong meet break since scoring a 169-131 men’s victory and 163-137 women’s triumph over Purdue in West Lafayette. The brief respite allowed both Notre Dame squads to refocus in the training pool heading toward the halfway point of the season.
“The kids have been working super hard, and to have a meet-free weekend to train, talk about things we’ve done in the past and clean up items was beneficial,” Notre Dame head coach Mike Litzinger said. “It is stressful, the emotions get very high, so to have a 10-day period where we could center ourselves was very valuable. It’s going to happen fast over the next two weeks traveling to Indiana and then the Ohio State Invitational (Nov. 17-19), which is also going to be highly competitive. In a way, the Thanksgiving break can’t come quick enough, but we’re really looking forward to this next two-week stretch.”
Early Dual Meet Success In 2017-18
Both the Notre Dame men’s and women’s teams have raced out to a 4-1 start to the dual meet season entering Thursday’s showdown at Indiana. The Irish have swept Louisville (Oct. 7), Michigan State (Oct. 13), Georgia Tech (Oct. 20) and Purdue (Oct. 27). Strong performances, but in particular the scoring depth at each event, has helped pave the way for the frenetic Notre Dame pace early on.
“It’s a combination of everything coming together, but what we are really doing is competing as a team” Litzinger said. “We certainly have our superstars but we have depth, and I think that’s the biggest change we’ve had. Not only do we have someone who is good at a middle-distance event, but our second, third, fourth person is just as good. That’s how you win a conference championship, get relays to the NCAAs and win dual meets. We want to be a deep team that competes like a team, and of course that ups the game in the practice pool, too. Someone is going to emerge from that competition at a high level.”
Fast Times For The Irish Leading To Team Results
Five meets into the dual season, Notre Dame swimmers hold a total of nine competitive times ranked in the national top 20 spread across a variety of events. On the men’s side, Zachary Yeadon ranks second in the country in the 1650 freestyle (15:20.20), fifth in the 500 freestyle (4:21.66) and seventh in the 1000 freestyle (9:02.47), with Rob Whitacre slotted 12th in the 200 backstroke (1:44.90) and Justin Plaschka 20th in the 50 freestyle (20.04). The women’s squad has Abbie Dolan ranked seventh nationally in the 200 freestyle (1:46.12) and eighth in the 100 freestyle (48.94), with Alice Treuth 13th in the 200 backstroke (1:55.76) and Lindsay Stone 14th in the 1000 freestyle (9:51.07).
“Times don’t lie, that clock does not lie,” Litzinger said. “When our student-athletes see seconds coming off, consistency, us being able to win, success begets success and it starts building off each other. It not only happens within the team, there is some national recognition that is also happening with recruiting. The three points we really try to drive home is team, what we’re doing nationally, and that triggers the recruiting piece.”
About Indiana and Cincinnati
Indiana is the current No. 1 men’s team in the CSCAA rankings after a 4-0 start to the 2017-18 season, with dual wins over No. 4 Florida, No. 2 Texas, No. 15 Tennessee and Kentucky already on its resume. The Hoosier women’s team is rated ninth in the country at 2-2, with meet victories against No. 18 Florida and No. 15 Kentucky thus far.
The Cincinnati men’s team enters Wednesday’s meet at 3-1 on the season, featuring head-to-head victories over Indianapolis, Cleveland State and IUPUI. The Bearcat women have added a matching 3-1 record with wins over the same three foes.
“With the evolution of what we’re trying to do with the program, I really wanted us challenged by having these highly-ranked opponents,” Litzinger said. “Especially someone like IU that has a rich tradition in swimming and diving in the past and are coming back on now with their men ranked No. 1 and their women ranked No. 9, and Olympic medalists on the diving board on both the men’s and women’s sides.
“This is the kind of competition that we need to see if we’re going to be successful on the NCAA level at the end of the year,” Litzinger added. “By scheduling those people we challenge ourselves every weekend, and that’s what it’s all about. It’s about competing, racing, and that’s part of the philosophy that our coaching staff has been trying to inject into the program since we took over.”