senior Zachary Stephens hopes to finish strong in one of his last collegiate meets this week at ACC Championships.

Irish Finish Second to Hokies, Best Pittsburgh in ACC Showdown Saturday

Nov. 8, 2014

Final Stats

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame men’s swimming and diving team gained valuable experience in their meet with Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh this weekend. The Irish finished behind defending ACC Champion Virginia Tech, 201-169, but outswam Pittsburgh, 286-84.

“I thought we raced very well again, and did a few more fundamental things right,” Irish head coach Matt Tallman says. “It was still a relatively close meet despite Virginia Tech widening the margin in score between yesterday and today.”

In Saturday morning’s first event, The A-team finished second and the B-team third in the 400 medley relay. Bogac Ayhan, Zachary Stephens, Jonathan Williamson and Matthew Buerger touched the wall in 3:19.19, while Robert Whitacre, Cameron Miller, Patrick Olson and Kevin Bradley weren’t far behind with their 3:23.53 showing.

“From the freshman class in particular, Rob Whitacre is coming back from injury and he’s playing a huge role for us. This was the first week he could swim a 200 backstroke and his backstroke is coming along – he’s swimming faster at this point in the year than he did previously in high school,” Tallman says of his underclassmen superstars.

Whitacre also placed seventh in the 100 back (51.34) on Saturday, after taking third in the 200 back race Friday night (1:49.91).

Saturday didn’t just feature top times from the swimmers however, as savvy-veteran Nick Nemetz won the men’s 1-meter diving competition. Nemetz – a former BIG EAST Diver of the Year – took first with his 322.15 score. Ted Wagner finished third with a 304.45 showing, while sophomore Joe Coumos rounded out the top five with his 285.00 score. Nemetz finished fourth in Friday’s 3-meter event (323.35) while Coumos was fifth in the standings with his 319.10 mark.

Back on the starting blocks, freshman Benjamin Jany continued to impress with his third-place showing in the 500 free (4:35.69). Rounding out the top-10 across two heats were John Nappi (sixth, 4:38.33), Kevin Hughes (eighth, 4:42.80) and Brennan Jacobsen (10th, 4:45.59).

In the 200 IM, Stephens defended his title from the Purdue meet (Nov. 1), out-touching Virginia Tech’s Owen Burns at the wall to clinch the first-place victory (1:49.75). Olson claimed fifth with his 1:52.15 showing, while sophomore Tom Anderson was eighth (1:54.50) and junior Matthew Buerger came in ninth (1:55.36).

In the 50 free, New York state record holder Justin Plaschka turned heads as he came in first. His 20.67 showing was .48 of a second off from the NCAA B-cut mark.

Fellow freestylers Joseph Krause and Michael Hudspith came in seventh and 10th respectively, while freshmen Gabe Ostler and Harlin Bessire swam for exhibition times.

In the 200 fly, Williamson was two seconds away from earning an NCAA B-cut time with his 1:49.75 time. Williamson claimed second, behind Virginia Tech’s Morgan Latimer’s 1:47.90 B-cut, while Bradley finished fourth (1:52.38) and Broderick Kelley touched in sixth (1:53.70).

“We have a lot of guys fighting for a chance to travel to Atlanta in February,” Tallman muses. “As a coaching staff, we really like to see that early in the season.”

In addition to Whitacre’s seventh-place showing in 100 back, Ayhan, Plaschka and Buerger finished second through fourth (50.04, 50.59 and 50.62 respectively).

Stephens missed getting his own B-cut by a mere .20 of a second in the 200 breast. The senior earned another first place finish with his 2:00.59 time, while classmates Andrew Jensen, Olson and Miller finished fourth (2:05.76), sixth (2:06.00) and seventh (2:06.29).

Freestyle continued to be an Irish strongsuit, with Trent Jackson finishing third behind a pair of Hokies swimmers in the 200 race (1:41.70). Hudspith, Kevin Hughes and Jany claimed fifth through seventh as well.

The Irish finished the meet the same way they started – in first place in a freestyle relay. The A-team lineup of Stephens, Buerger, Plaschka and Hughes touched the wall in 3:01.34, while the B-team squad (Krause, Bradley, Jackson, Hudspith) came in fourth (3:07.23).

The Irish are next in action Friday, Nov. 14 as they travel to East Lansing, Michigan, to face Michigan State.

Lizzie Mikes,

Media Services Coordinator