March 23, 2018
by Tony Jones
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Racing to the wall in a thrilling preliminary finish on Friday morning, the University of Notre Dame 200 medley relay team punched its ticket to the ‘B’ final on day three of the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center.
The Notre Dame lineup of Rob Whitacre, Steven Shek, Justin Plaschka and Daniel Speers claimed the final lane in the ‘B’ final of the 200 medley relay by .02 of a second, after swimming a prelim time of 1:25.17 as the last squad that qualified for the NCAA field. The Irish scored a total of four points in the ‘B’ final on Friday night with a 15th-place time of 1:25.21, moving Notre Dame into 26th place in the overall championship standings with 14 points.
In individual preliminary events, Plaschka put up a time of :46.02 to narrowly miss ‘B’ final qualification in the 100 butterfly while taking 23rd place. Plaschka previously established a sub 46-second NCAA A-cut and program record at the ACC Championships last month to earn an automatic invitation into the 100 fly at the national championship meet.
Off the 3-meter diving board, Joe Coumos concluded his Notre Dame springboard career with a 24th-place result by tallying 354.60 points. The Irish record holder in both 1-meter and 3-meter diving, Coumos claimed Honorable Mention All-America honors on Thursday night with a top-15 finish in the 1-meter competition.
The fourth and final day of the 2018 NCAA Championships begins with morning prelim heats on Saturday at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center. Zach Yeadon is set to swim the 1650 freestyle for Notre Dame, while Rob Whitacre closes out his individual career in the 200 backstroke. The final team race featuring the Irish is the 400 freestyle 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)
200 Medley Relay (Whitacre, Shek, Plaschka, Speers) – 1:25.21, 15th Place
Honorable Mention All-Americans – Zach Yeadon (500 Freestyle), Joe Coumos (1-Meter Diving), Rob Whitacre (200 Medley Relay), Steven Shek (200 Medley Relay), Justin Plaschka (200 Medley Relay), Daniel Speers (200 Medley Relay)
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.