Jan. 16, 2016
By Lizzie Mikes
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams dove into the Rolfs Aquatic Center waters Saturday afternoon, beating the Northwestern Wildcats. The men’s team won, 166-132 while the women’s team won 156.5-143.5. It was Notre Dame’s third home meet of the season.
“The key racers for us today were Ella Moynihan and Kyra Sarazen; when they won the 200 freestyle, that was a huge win for us, and then Ella winning the 500 free, those were two big swing events for us,” Irish head coach Mike Litzinger said. “We put the emphasis on individual performances; we didn’t have our best 400 free relay up, so we front-loaded the meet and we ended up winning in the 200 IM – so one event made a difference today.”
The women’s team strategy included focusing on the individual races, and it paid off. Freshmen Moynihan (1:50.74) and Sarazen (1:50.76) finished first and second in the 200 free, while Catherine Mulquin won the 100 back (54.71). Danielle Margheret (1:03.76), Sherri McIntee (1:04.01) and Meaghan O’Donnell (1:05.04) finished first through third in the 100 breast and 200 breast, with McIntee (2:17.67) earning the top time in the 200, followed by Margheret (2:18.65) then O’Donnell (2:19.63).
“Our breaststroke group is really strong; when you have 1-2-3 finishes like we did in those events, it really shuts the door on your opponents and opens up the point spread. We talked about swimming aggressively, and really taking the lead right from the start, and we executed really well,” continued Litzinger.
Other notable winners for the Irish included Nicole Smith in the 200 fly (2:01.33), with Moynihan earning a top finish in the 500 free (4:58.57). Catherine Galletti (54.69) and Sofia Revilak (55.76) finished 1-2 in the 100 fly.
For the Irish men, roster depth played a crucial part in the Irish victory today. The Irish came in first in the 200 medley relay with their A team of Bogac Ayhan, Andrew Jensen, Matthew Grauslys and Daniel Speers touching in at 1:31.20. The Irish distance group of Richard Mannix (9:31.02), Connor Brown (9:34.62) and Steven Shek (9:40.90) finished second through fourth in the 1,000 free, while Trent Jackson (1:40.14), Reed Fujan (1:40.49) and Michael Hudspith (1:40.65) finished second, third and fourth in the 200 free as well.
“When you look at it on paper, you either do the time or don’t do the time; there’s not a point when you’re going to go up 40 points per se. So we had an opportunity today to swim some guys around the boards in terms of trying to make a good profile for the team at the conference level. We need to have the guys swim that second or third event under pressure, and see exactly what we’re capable of swimming at the end of the year,” Litzinger commented on the men’s team.
Ayhan swam to a crucial first place win in the 100 back (48.92), while Grauslys (1:49.80) and Kevin Bradley (1:50.21) came in first and second in the 200 fly. Justin Plaschka earned first place in the 50 free (20.58), with Robert Whitacre touching in at 1:48.30 for the top finish in the 200 back. Trent Jackson (2:04.59) and Maciej Olszewski (2:06.80) were the top Irish swimmers in the 200 breast, clinching first and second respectively. Grauslys (49.57) and Ayhan (50.09) continued to impress in the 100 fly, going first and second. The 400 free A relay team of Reed Fujan, Hudspith, Jackson and Daniel Fujan sealed the victory with their first place finish in the 400 free relay (3:02.49).
The Irish are next in action on January 29, as they begin the two-day Shamrock Invitational meet at home.
— ND —
Lizzie Mikes serves as Media Services Coordinator at the University of Notre Dame. A 2013 graduate of Johnson & Wales University, she oversees credential management and is the athletic communications director for Fighting Irish men’s and women’s swimming and diving. She has assisted with numerous NCAA postseason events hosted by Notre Dame, and is heavily involved in the day-to-day tasks of the athletic communications office.