Feb. 3, 2018
by Tony Jones
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – In the final official meet of the 2017-18 regular season, the University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams picked up a pair of hard-fought victories on Saturday to wrap the year at the Rolfs Aquatic Center. The No. 19 Irish men defeated Green Bay 126-107 and added a 159-62 win over Ball State, while the Notre Dame women downed Green Bay 160-80 and Ball State 164-75 in the season’s final dual meet.
The Notre Dame men’s squad (9-2) saw a pair of individual wins from William Cumberland, who led the field in both the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle for the Irish. Other key wins were earned by Notre Dame in the 200 medley relay, Tabahn Afrik in the 50 freestyle, Joe Turk in the 200 IM, Aaron Schultz in the 100 butterfly and Daniel Speers in the 100 freestyle.
On the women’s side, Notre Dame (11-1) enjoyed a solid team effort that saw nine different competitors take an individual race win. Skylar Fore notched an NCAA B-cut time in the 100 butterfly, Abbie Dolan posted a victorious 500 freestyle swim in her season debut in that event to win by more than eight seconds, and the Irish added a winning swim in the 200 medley relay to kick off the meet.
Coach Litzinger Said
“Our kids have done a great job of embracing any opportunity to race. A great example is someone like Abbie Dolan, who swam the 500 free for the first time this year and nearly posted a top-10 time in the history of our program. It could have gone either way but she attacked it and used it to help bolster her other primary events. Another aim of our lineup was to give someone like Zach Yeadon, who has raced a number of events for us this year, a rest. We saw a lot of different things today and the efforts were always high-end for us, so that’s a really good sign heading into the conference meet.”
“You saw younger kids like Will Cumberland and Skylar Fore step forward, and student-athletes like them are our future. Will is a backstroker primarily but he has good freestyle skills, so we like to tap into that a little bit. Skylar is a super strong athlete and the 100 fly is her third or fourth event, so to push those boundaries a little bit was good for them and was exciting for our team to watch. We have depth, we are well-rounded and our quality is very high.”
“I think we’re in a great spot, and the only thing that can derail us right now is any kind of illness. It’s just about resting now and fine-tuning a race plan here and there, and just enjoying being together. The message that I sent today was that this is the last time our full team will compete together this year, and that kind of hits home for the seniors. The juniors are now the lead class, and what you see is the transitional phase of our team. We now go our separate ways toward championship meets, but I told them we can’t let go of that team feeling. No matter what meet you’re at, let’s support each other through a text, phone call, email, a shout out on social media. We want to make sure that we have 60 athletes behind every person no matter the championship-level meet that they’re at.”
Top Irish Performances
Women’s 200 Medley Relay – Notre Dame fashioned a 1-2 finish to open the meet, led by the ‘A’ entry of Carly Quast, Meaghan O’Donnell, Cailey Grunhard and Sofia Revilak in first place with a time of 1:41.04. Claire DeSelm, Sherri McIntee, Nicole Smith and Abbie Dolan placed second with a time of 1:44.99.
Men’s 200 Medley Relay – The Notre Dame ‘A’ entry of Jack Montesi, Benjamin Gorski, Justin Plaschka and Daniel Speers logged a winning time of 1:29.53. The Irish lineup of William Cumberland, Steven Shek, Matt Grauslys and Daniel Fujan coasted in with a runner-up finish in 1:31.03.
Women’s 1000 Freestyle – Rebecca Walton placed second with a time of 10:21.56 to pace Notre Dame in the event. Sammy Steigerwald posted a third-place time of 10:23.35 for the Irish.
Men’s 1000 Freestyle – Nick Milikich raced to the wall with a time of 9:47.82 to bring home second-place points for Notre Dame.
Women’s 200 Freestyle – Molly Treble took the event win with a time of 1:51.61. Lindsay Stone was in second place after posting a time of 1:51.68 for the Irish. Reilly Lanigan pulled in fourth-place points for Notre Dame with a time of 1:54.87.
Men’s 200 Freestyle – William Cumberland paced the field to the finish with a time of 1:39.76. Justin Plaschka brought home runner-up honors with a time of 1:40.21.
Women’s 50 Freestyle – Katie Smith finished at the front of the field with a time of 23.35. Kelly Jacob notched a second-place result in 23.39.
Men’s 50 Freestyle – Tabahn Afrik touched the wall just above an NCAA B-cut for the race win with a time of 20.53. Daniel Fujan was third with a time of 21.15, and Benjamin Gorski placed fifth with a time of 21.49.
Women’s 200 IM – Meaghan O’Donnell claimed an Irish victory with a time of 2:05.31. Sherri McIntee notched third place in 2:08.26, with Paige Kaplan right behind with a time of 2:08.98.
Men’s 200 IM – Joe Turk took the race victory for Notre Dame with a time of 1:51.67. Steven Shek was runner-up with a time of 1:52.46. Richard Mannix took home third place in 1:53.51.
Women’s 3-Meter Diving – Kate McCahan led the way for Notre Dame with a first-place score of 284.65 points.
Men’s 1-Meter Diving – Cristian Herrera was event runner-up with a score of 262.40 points for Notre Dame.
Women’s 100 Butterfly – Skylar Fore logged an NCAA B-cut time of 54.37 for the event victory. Sofia Revilak placed second with a time of 55.90, and Katie Rentz added a third-place time of 57.15.
Women’s 100 Freestyle – Carly Quast scored first-place points with a time of 50.72. Kyra Sarazen (51.00) and Erin Sheehan (51.48) rounded out the podium finishers for Notre Dame in second and third, respectively.
Men’s 100 Freestyle – Daniel Speers threw down a winning time of 45.01 for Notre Dame. Teammate Benjamin Jany took runner-up honors in 46.00, with Sadler McKeen third with a time of 46.28.
Women’s 100 Backstroke – Cailey Grunhard won a narrow second heat for the event victory in 56.41. Teammate Rachel Wittmer was right behind with a runner-up time of 56.46. Claire DeSelm took fourth place with a time of 59.16.
Women’s 500 Freestyle – Abbie Dolan posted the third-fastest Notre Dame time of the year in her event debut, winning by more than eight seconds with a time of 4:50.14. Lauren Heller placed second with a time of 4:58.90 to round out the Irish finishers.
Men’s 500 Freestyle – William Cumberland swam to a dominant race win by over 11 seconds with a time of 4:34.30 to lead Notre Dame to top points.
Women’s 1-meter Diving – Annie Crea took second place with a score of 270.10 points. Kate McCahan finished fourth with 244.35 points.
Men’s 3-meter Diving – Cristian Herrera scored a season-high 316.85 points to finish in second place.
Women’s 100 Breaststroke – Alyssa Storino claimed a race victory with a time of 1:04.28. Nicole Smith placed second with a time of 1:04.46, and Paige Kaplan finished sixth with a time of 1:07.69.
Men’s 100 Breaststroke – Rex Riley was the top Notre Dame finisher after clocking a time of 57.23 for second place. Jack Russell placed third with a time of 57.76, and John Paul Becker chipped in a sixth-place time of 59.15.
Women’s 200 Freestyle Relay – The Notre Dame ‘A’ squad of Rachel Wittmer, Katie Smith Skylar Fore and Kelly Jacob swam an exhibition time of 1:33.14 that was the fastest of the final event. Erin Sheehan, Reilly Lanigan, Lindsay Stone and Molly Treble added an exhibition swim of 1:39.38, and Ellie Berdusco, Rebecca Walton, Sammy Steigerwald and Claire DeSelm posted a time of 1:39.58.
Men’s 200 Freestyle Relay – The Notre Dame ‘A’ entry of Aaron Schultz, Zach Yeadon, Brendan Santana and Sadler McKeen posted an exhibition swim of 1:23.95 for the fastest time in the event. Garrett Clarke, Benjamin Jany, Richard Mannix and Soren Holm added an exhibition effort of 1:25.96.
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.