March 12, 2018
by Tony Jones
NOTRE DAME, Ind. ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” The 2018 NCAA Division I Swimming and Diving Championships have finally arrived for the University of Notre Dame women’s team. The Irish travel to a familiar site, the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion in Columbus, Ohio, for the NCAA meet from Wednesday through Saturday.
No. 19 Notre Dame has already experienced success at the facility thus far in the 2017-18 season. The Irish scored a third-place finish at the Ohio State Fall Open Invitational in a loaded field of fellow ranked foes in November, along with posting numerous NCAA B-cut standards and top personal swims at the OSU Winter Invitational in February.
“It’s a huge advantage to return to Columbus because the team is comfortable there, we know our surroundings and know that the pool swims fast,” Notre Dame head coach Mike Litzinger said. “To have the fastest short-course meet in the world at this venue is exciting for us. There was a certain intent with visiting Ohio State earlier in the year, both to give us that experience but also to set some goals for the spring.”
Irish Onward To NCAAs
A total of 10 Notre Dame student-athletes have punched their tickets to the NCAA Championships, which will be held Wednesday through Saturday in Columbus, Ohio.
Four Notre Dame women’s swimmers have qualified for individual events at this week’s NCAA women’s meet. Alice Treuth will race in both the 100 and 200 backstroke events, entering the meet ranked 26th nationally (1:52.88) in the 200 back and 53rd nationally (:52.84) in the 100 back.
Abbie Dolan will compete in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle for Notre Dame in the midst of a standout sophomore campaign. Dolan ranks 64th in the 50 free (:22.44), 30th in the 100 free (:48.36) and 44th in the 200 free (1:44.90) nationally this season.
Carly Quast is a double entrant in both the 50 freestyle (:22.30) and the 100 backstroke (:52.27), ranking 43rd and 26th in the country in those events, respectively.
Lindsay Stone rounds out the Irish individual qualifiers in both the 500 and 1650 freestyle. Stone’s best 500 free time of 4:42.85 is 63rd nationally, while her 1650 free time of 16:07.66 is 26th in the country thus far this season.
On the relay ledger, Dolan will swim the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle relays alongside Quast and Lauren Heller. Sofia Revilak will take part in both the 200 and 400 free relays, with Skylar Fore in the 400 and 800 relay events and Kyra Sarazen rounding out the 800 free relay lineup.
In diving, Erin Isola and Kelly Straub earned their first career NCAA Championship bids with top finishes in the 1-meter dive at the NCAA Zone C Diving Championships meet on March 8. Isola scored 570.90 points to finish sixth and Straub added 564.00 points to place seventh, both within the qualification window of the best eight scores.
“Success begets success, and when you meet with athletes that aren’t training right now the question is how do I get there?” Litzinger said. “How can I be competing at this time next year? That’s a great sign for the future of our program. We always ask the NCAA-level kids to share their experience, and when they share what it is like to progress from the ACC meet to NCAAs and have success it’s great for the development of our team. It’s very crucial that everything gets passed down to the next generation of athletes that are coming up.”
10 To NCAAs For 2nd Straight Year
Notre Dame sends 10 student-athletes to the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships for the second consecutive year. Claire Andrews (diving), Abbie Dolan (freestyle, freestyle relays and medley relay), Catherine Mulquin (backstroke, freestyle, freestyle relays and medley relays), Meaghan O’Donnell (breaststroke, medley relays), Sofia Revilak (freestyle relays), Erin Sheehan (butterfly, medley relay), Katie Smith (freestyle relays and medley relay), Nikki Smith (freestyle relay) and Alice Treuth (backstroke) represented the Irish last season at the 2017 NCAA Championships.
“The biggest point of emphasis now is that we continue to take multiple athletes to the NCAAs, and the goal is to build on that each year,” Litzinger said. “Last year at the women’s meet we just missed scoring on relays and set some record swims, which was fine for where we were at then, but now we want more. We have the personnel to do more, the relay power to do more, so that’s where the expectations are. At the end of the day the goal is to regularly be a fixture and score at the NCAA meet, start piling the points up each year. The progression is happening and it’s exciting to see.”
Irish Success At Recent NCAA Meets
Notre Dame has enjoyed a recent run of success in the last five stops at the NCAA Division I Swimming and Diving Championships, scoring the best finishes at the national meet in program history during that span.
The Irish scored 55 points during the 2013 NCAA Championships to earn a 16th-place finish, the best placement for Notre Dame ever at the NCAA meet. Notre Dame swimmers accumulated 10 All-America honors in 2013, highlighted by three top-10 finishes (fifth in 100 and 200 breaststroke, ninth in the 200 IM) for Emma Reaney, 13th place in the 200 backstroke by Kim Holden, a 13th-place effort by the 200 medley relay and a 16th-place 200 backstroke run for Kelly Ryan.
Reaney once more guided the Irish to a share of 16th place in 2014, claiming three All-America honors to go along with an American record and national championship in the 200 breaststroke. Reaney capped her decorated Notre Dame career with 13 total All-American scrolls after 21st-place Irish result at the 2015 NCAA Championships.
“At this point a program on the rise is a good tag to give us, but we want to reach the next level,” Litzinger said. “We would like to move on from that moniker, and the reality is we’re building a program fighting for an ACC title and an NCAAA top-10 finish. Those are my expectations, and that may be a year or two down the road. When I go to these meets I see us not only competing well in the present, but also in the future.”
Key Irish Victories Powered 2018
A stellar 11-1 mark in dual meets guided Notre Dame to the 2018 NCAA Division I Championships this week in Columbus. The Irish posted top-25 wins against No. 9 Louisville (181.50-118.50) on Oct. 7, No. 23 Purdue (163-137) on Oct. 27, No. 9 Indiana (123-120) on Nov. 9, and No. 25 Florida State (193-160) on Jan. 20 under their belt entering championship season.
In addition to the key dual victories, Notre Dame took first place at the competitive Shamrock Invitational on Jan. 26-27 at the Rolfs Aquatic Center. The Irish scored 1023.50 points to outlast the likes of No. 13 Ohio State and No. 18 Wisconsin.
Irish Record Swims In 2018
Program records in eight different events have fallen for Notre Dame during the current calendar year. Six individual swims and a pair of relay marks have entered the Irish record book thus far in 2018.
Abbie Dolan put her stamp on the fastest 100 freestyle time for Notre Dame with a :48.36 effort at the ACC Championships. Lindsay Stone completed the 500 (4:42.85), 1000 (9:43.47) and 1650 (16:07.66) freestyle triple at the conference championship meet, while Nikki Smith threw down the fastest 200 butterfly swim for the Irish (1:56.38) in Greensboro. Alice Treuth broke the program best in the 200 backstroke (1:52.88) at the Boiler Make-It last-chance meet at Purdue. Notre Dame has also set fastest marks in the 400 (3:15.22) and 800 (7:04.31) freestyle relay events during 2018.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball, men’s soccer and swimming and diving programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.