Junior John Williamson swam the second fastest 200 Butterfly time (1:44.18) in the ACC during the regular season

Irish Begin Inaugural ACC Championship Experience Wednesday

Feb. 25, 2014

ACC Championship Central

2014 Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Swimming Championship
February 26-March 1, 2014
Greensboro Aquatic Center
Greensboro, N.C.

Order of Events (ET):

Wednesday, February 26
6 p.m. – 200 Medley Relay
7 p.m. – 800 Free Relay

Thursday, February 27
11 a.m. – 500 Freestyle, 200 IM, and 50 Freestyle Prelims
7 p.m. – 200 Freestyle Relay, 500 Freestyle, 200 IM, and 50 Freestyle Finals

Friday, February 28
11 a.m. – 400 IM, 100 Butterfly, 200 Freestyle, 100 Breaststroke, and 100 Backstroke Prelims
7 p.m. – 400 Medley Relay, 400 IM, 100 Butterfly, 200 Freestyle, 100 Breaststroke, and 100 Backstroke Finals

Saturday, March 1
11 a.m. – 200 Backstroke, 100 Freestyle, 200 Breaststroke, and 200 Butterfly Prelims
5 p.m. – 1650 Freestyle Prelim
7 p.m. – 1650 Freestyle, 200 Backstroke, 100 Freestyle, 200 Breaststroke, 200 Butterfly, and 400 Freestyle Relay Finals

Championship awards will be presented following the 400 Freestyle Relay

2014 Notre Dame ACC Weekly Award Winners

Men’s Swimmer of the Week
Frank Dyer – November 19
Zach Stephens – December 10

Men’s Diver of the Week
Joe Coumos – November 19 and December 10

Notre Dame Top Five Times In The ACC This Season
Frank Dyer – 200 Freestyle (1st, 1:34.50), 500 Freestyle (2nd, 4:19.69), 100 Butterfly (3rd, 46.92), 1000 Freestyle (3rd, 9:11.93)

Zach Stephens – 100 Breaststroke (1st, 53.24), 200 Breaststroke (1st, 1:55.62), 200 IM (1st, 1:44.34)

Tom Anderson – 400 IM (1st, 3:46.22)

John Williamson – 200 Butterfly (2nd, 1:44.18)

Colin Babcock – 200 Breaststroke (3rd, 53.65), 200 IM (5th, 1:46.48)

Cameron Miller – 200 Breaststroke (4th, 1:58.28)

A Stroke of Luck

John Williamson’s path to Notre Dame was the perfect blend of timely circumstances and great performances

By Josh Dempsey (’16)

His day begins at 5:30 a.m. when he wakes up to the incessant buzzing of his alarm. By six he is in the pool and getting warmed up for a break-of-dawn practice. An hour and a half later he is leaping from the water, rushing a shower in order to get to breakfast and make it to his 8:20 class.

From there, it is lunch at 11:30, then back to classes, then once again in the pool for another two-hour practice. This is followed by dinner with the team, and then it is time to hit the books. By the time 10:30 rolls around, the final lights are being switched off in the room, and John Williamson is getting ready to repeat his daily routine as a student in Notre Dame’s College of Engineering, and a member of the men’s swimming and diving team.

Williamson, a junior, grew up in Bloomington, Ill., and attended University High School in Normal, Ill., where he was the fastest 16-year-old in the 100-fly in Illinois history. As one might assume, he holds the University High School record in the 100-fly, but that’s not all; he also holds school and area records in the 100-free, 200-free, 200-medley relay, and 400-free relay. Needless to say, as a record holder and Division I athlete at the University of Notre Dame, his talent in the water is quite abundant.

Williamson describes his rise to success as a mix of perfect timing and a dash of luck, but his development into a top-tier athlete began later than most.

“I really didn’t begin swimming year-round until right before high school, so that type of competition was really a new experience for me,” he says. “The progression and rate of growth I achieved was definitely something that [coaches] saw and it helped me stand out.”

He describes how luck and timing factored into his college plans roughly around his third year of competitive swimming.

“Junior year [of high school] was when I really started hitting a rhythm with my training,” Williamson describes. “I started dropping time a lot faster. And it is also about junior year when colleges begin recruiting. So, it really was perfect timing. I couldn’t have been luckier; that’s another huge thing–the luck I had all the way here.”

Williamson further retells his story by stating that it wasn’t just the perfect year, but the perfect swim meet.

“I was at high school states, and I placed second in two events against two seniors, which helped me stand out,” he recalls. “That helped me qualify for the junior nationals meet about five weeks after, and I got a time that placed me fourth out of all swimmers.”

Having such an extraordinary meet at nationals put Williamson on the radar of junior nationals coaches, who were then able to offer Williamson a chance of a lifetime–to represent his country in international competition.

“The time I was able to achieve at that meet qualified me to compete on the junior nationals team, which was going to Ireland that year,” he says. “I can’t reiterate just the perfect timing that everything came to together; it was awesome.

“That ended up being, by and far, the highlight of my high school career. The foreign country experience was absolutely incredible. It was just…there is no way really to describe it, there really isn’t.”

It was after this meet, and during the period when colleges can officially contact recruits they are interested in, that Williamson received a call from Notre Dame; the times he had put up at the state and national meets had clearly caught many eyes.

If Williamson impressed the Irish coaches with his performances, they returned the favor when he arrived for his official visit.

“You don’t just come to Notre Dame, see everything they’ve got and just think, `Oh well that’s kind of cool,'” Williamson remembers. “You come here and have your entire consciousness blown out of the water by everything.”

“I had visited both Tennessee and Notre Dame during my senior year. Tennessee had a great environment, but when you come here it’s just different; it’s very tough to compare,” he adds. “Everything just fit better here. My thoughts at Tennessee were that everything was great, but here, everything was perfect–that was ultimately the deciding factor for me.”

John Williamson’s story goes to show you that time, effort, and skill can take you to extraordinary places. But sometimes, it is luck that puts you in the right place.