March 22, 2018
by Tony Jones
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – A pair of point-scoring individual performances and a record effort on relays highlighted the second day of competition for the University of Notre Dame Thursday at the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center.
Notre Dame scored a total of 10 points on Thursday night to move into 24th place in the championship field. The Irish are a mere eight points from breaking into the meet’s top 20 entering preliminary heats on Friday morning.
Zach Yeadon claimed the first All-America honor of his Notre Dame career in the 500 freestyle, placing second in the `B’ final and 10th overall with a time of 4:13.95 to secure Honorable Mention All-America accolades. Yeadon set the Irish program record in the event earlier this season during a runner-up swim at the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championships.
Off the 1-meter diving board, Joe Coumos earned his first career All-America citation in the event after placing 10th in the preliminary round with 367.80 points, narrowly missing `A’ final qualification. A score of 325.70 points capped a 14th-place finish and stellar 1-meter career for Coumos at Notre Dame, where he departs as the top performer in the event with a career-best 420.00 points last season.
As part of the Irish 400 medley relay squad alongside Steven Shek, Justin Plaschka and Daniel Speers that placed 21st with a time of 3:09.31, Rob Whitacre made Notre Dame history with his leadoff leg in the backstroke. Whitacre clocked a blazing 100 back split of :46.39 to break his own team record set in individual action at last month’s ACC Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Elsewhere in preliminary round racing for Notre Dame on Thursday, the 200 freestyle relay entry of Plaschka, Speers, Aaron Schultz and Tabahn Afrik narrowly missed the `B’ final with a time of 1:17.86 to place 20th. Whitacre claimed 28th place in the 200 IM prelim round with a time of 1:44.26, and Plaschka touched the wall in the 50 freestyle prelims in :19.42 to take 30th place.
Notre Dame returns to the water Friday for the third day of competition at the 2018 NCAA Championships. Justin Plaschka is entered in the preliminary round of the 100 butterfly, Zach Yeadon in the 200 freestyle, Rob Whitacre in the 100 backstroke and Joe Coumos in the 3-meter dive on Friday morning, with the Irish also entered in the 200 medley relay.
Notre Dame At The 2018 NCAA Men’s Championships
Zach Yeadon, 500 Freestyle – 4:13.95, 10th Place
Joe Coumos, 1-Meter Diving – 325.70 Points, 14th Place
Rob Whitacre, 400 Medley Relay – :46.39 leadoff 100 backstroke split (ND record)
Honorable Mention All-Americans – Zach Yeadon, Joe Coumos
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.