GREENSBORO, North Carolina — The No. 14 Notre Dame women are in fifth place after the third day of the ACC Championships, bolstered by a bronze medal performance from senior Kelly Straub in the women’s platform final.
In the women’s platform competition, Straub scored a 297.35 to place third and set a new program record. In her qualification for her third final in three events, Straub became one of just two female divers on the week to qualify for every final competition, joining North Carolina’s Aranza Vazquez.
“With the whole process of being a new coach, there’s a lot of trust that needs to be built both ways,” head dive coach Mark Bradshaw attested. “Kelly finished well on springboard, but she didn’t dive to the level that she has been. Navigating through our first time together at a championship meet, by the third day, she figured some things out in terms of competing, and then she just lit it up today.
“It was wonderful to see, because I know what she can do, and she did great.”
Notre Dame was the only program to have multiple female divers reach finals on multiple occasions (four other programs did it once) this week, boosting the overall team score significantly.
“Speaking for myself, and for the young ladies that I coach, I think they’re particularly happy that not only have they done well, but they feel good that they’ve been able to do something for total points for the overall team,” Bradshaw shared. “That’s very important that they feel individually good about making some kind of contribution to what the overall team is doing. That is unique to my experience with Notre Dame.”
In addition, 13 Irish swimmers claimed finals spots, highlighted by senior Rachel Wittmer, who swam two individual finals and was also a member of the Notre Dame 400 Medley Relay. Wittmer notched two program top-10 times, in the 100 Back and 100 Fly, on the night, as well.
“Our team has rebounded nicely from the relay DQ last evening and is in a great fight for fourth,” head swim coach Mike Litzinger noted. “Luciana Thomas was sixth in the IM, which was her highest finish ever. We have great momentum heading into tomorrow and need to keep it going.”
In the first prelim race of the day, the 100 Fly, sophomore Coleen Gillilan led the way for Notre Dame with a 52.76 (B Cut), good for 12th place and a spot in the B Final, followed by senior Cailey Grunhard in 14th with a B-Cut time of 53.04, securing her place in the B Final.
Senior Wittmer also made it to finals, posting a 53.73, as well as freshman Megan Deuel, who clocked a 53.90 for 23rd. Both Wittmer and Deuel qualified for the C Final. Freshman Emma Gleason also swam in the 100 Fly prelim, clocking a 56.00 for 38th.
The 400 IM prelim races came next, and junior Thomas punched her ticket to the A Final with a B-Cut 4:14.97 for seventh. Junior Sammie Eyolfson continued her finals trend, touching the wall in 4:20.97 for 20th place and a spot in the C Final, as well as freshman Sarah Bender, who solidified her place in the C Final with a 4:22.48 (23rd).
Next, in the 200 Free, freshman Sydney Whiting stood as the only Irish swimmer to qualify for finals, posting a 1:48.29, good for 18th place and a spot in the C Final.
Senior Skylar Fore just missed finals in the 200 Free, posting a 1:49.53 for 26th, as junior Madeline LaPorte placed 36th with a 1:51.17, followed by freshman Allison Kopac in 37th with a 1:51.19.
Ellie Jew continued her impressive run at the conference championships, qualifying for the B Final in the 100 Breast, clocking a B-Cut 1:00.94, good for 15th. Sophomore Elizabeth Fry also sent herself to finals, qualifying for the C heat with a 1:01.89 (21st), as well as junior Sarah Nicholls, who made the C Final with a time of 1:02.20 (23rd).
In the 100 Back, Notre Dame senior Carly Quast just missed qualifying for the A Final, finishing ninth with a 53.14 (B Cut), good for the top slot in the B Final. Junior Bayley Stewart also punched her ticket for the B Final, clocking a 53.79 (B Cut) for 15th. Senior Wittmer clocked a B-Cut 53.83 for 17th, claiming the top slot in the C Final.
Freshman Deuel narrowly missed the 100 Back Final, claiming 25th with a 54.70.
In the diving well, senior Straub scored a 274.70 in women’s platform prelims to secure her spot in finals. She was one of just two female divers to qualify for finals in all three events this week.
Having qualified with teammate junior Annie Wiese for both the 1-meter and 3-meter finals, Notre Dame was the only school to qualify multiple female divers in finals for two events. North Carolina, Duke, Miami and Georgia Tech each qualified multiple divers in just one event.
Wiese and senior Kate McCahan also competed in the platform prelims, as Wiese scored 224.45 for 13th, and McCahan scored 202.10 for 21st.
“Annie, on springboard, was super consistent, and that’s the way she’s been all year, and that pays off in those two competitions,” Bradshaw noted. “I was just really proud that they were both able to do that. It was good for us, because we had two young ladies in the final on both springboard events.”
“It should not be lost that Kate dove the best she has all season,” he added. “The whole week was really good from the standpoint of efficiency, getting the most out of the meet.”
Straub put on a show in the platform finals, scoring a 297.35, which earned her the bronze medal and shattered the Notre Dame program record, which Straub herself set this season at West Virginia (273.45).
To start off swim finals with the 100 Fly, Gillilan again notched a B-Cut time, clocking a 52.90 (12th), as did Grunhard (53.07, 13th), in the B Final. Wittmer took on her first final of the evening in the C 100 Fly heat, touching the wall in 53.23 (B Cut) for 19th, also making her the eighth-fastest performer in program history in that event, after previously ranking 10th.
In the 400 IM Final, Thomas moved up one spot to sixth, also shaving more than two seconds off of her prelims time. She posted a B-Cut 4:12.89 in the A Final. In the C Final, Eyolfson clocked a 4:19.84 for 21st, while Bender posted a 4:20.47, good for 23rd.
Whiting made a significant mark on the 200 Free C Final, winning the heat with a 1:47.09 (B Cut), good for 17th overall. Compared to the times from the A Final, Whiting was faster than two of them.
Moving to the 100 Breast final, Jew remained consistent, again posting a 1:00.94 (B Cut) in the B Final to take 13th overall. In the C Final, Fry posted a 1:01.51 (B Cut) for 19th and Nicholls touched the wall in 1:02.44 for 23rd.
In the last individual event of the evening, Quast led Irish finalists in the 100 Back, posting a 53.12 (B Cut) for 10th overall. Stewart rose in the rankings, finishing 12th overall with a 53.23 (B Cut), also in the B Final. Wittmer, in her second final of the night, clocked a B-Cut 53.42, placing 17th overall and claiming the top time in the C Final. Her time also made her the seventh-fastest performer in program history in that event.
To close out the evening, the team of Quast, Jew, Gillilan and Wittmer took on the 400 Medley Relay, clocking a 3:35.93 to finish fifth.
The Irish will return to the pool for the final day of the ACC Championships Saturday, Feb. 20. Women’s swim prelims will begin at 11 a.m. ET, and the men’s platform diving prelim competition at Noon ET. The men’s platform final will follow around 3 p.m. ET. At 4 p.m. ET, the women’s 1650 prelim races will commence, and at 7 p.m. ET, swim finals will begin.
Broadcast coverage will be available all day on ACC Network Extra, and live timing is available at http://sidearmstats.com/acc/swimming/.
- Virginia – 1047 points
- NC State – 879
- Louisville – 683.5
- Virginia Tech – 578
- Notre Dame – 509
- Duke – 502
- North Carolina – 399.5
- Georgia Tech – 391
- Florida State – 380
- Miami – 329
- Pitt – 277
- Boston College – 147