Jan. 30, 2016
By Lizzie Mikes
NOTRE DAME, Ind. ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” University of Notre Dame athletic programs take pride in their senior classes, but today meant a little something extra to the women’s swimming class of 2016. The squad swept Iowa (258-111), Illinois State (312-58) & Grand Canyon (254-115) in the Shamrock Invitational meet, while honoring seven seniors.
“Our women did great today,” Irish head coach Mike Litzinger said. “The mindset going into the 400 free relay was simply that when we swam that relay at the Purdue Invitational, we got disqualified in it; so the goal was to improve our seed time for the ACC Championships and bump us up with some elite teams there ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” because we know we can swim with them, and having that championship-type format tends to bring out the best in people.
“The goal was simply to improve our seed time, but when we looked at the pool record and looked at the splits we knew we had an outside shot at it. I let the girls know what they had to average, and they took care of the rest,” Litzinger said.
Catherine Mulquin (50.07), Ella Moynihan (49.86), Catherine Galletti (50.52) and Sofia Revilak (49.84) took first in the 400 free relay with their 3:20.29 showing. The new record beat the old time of 3:21.16 set in 2013, which Galletti also swam in as a freshman.
Says Litzinger on Galletti’s phenomenal performances in 2015-16, “I think Cat has had to manage some injury throughout her career, and had to be shutdown for awhile; but she’s come back. Our program helped her regain confidence in her swimming and her strength and she showed some of that tonight; she did a really nice job. We’re going to look to her to be our flier on our medley relays, and Cat’s a key part of our sprint relays . She’s got a heck of an individual fly and backstroke. The goal is NCAAs, and NCAAs individually, and I think she’s very capable of doing that.”
Other top individual performances from the Irish women’s team Saturday included Katie Miller winning the 400 IM (4:23.91), Moynihan taking top marks in the 200 free (1:51.35), and Revilak (54.95), Galletti (55.93) and Nicole Smith (56.06) taking first through third (Smith tying for third) in the 100 fly.
On the diving boards, Lindsey Streepey and Emma Gaboury finished first and second in women’s three meter. Streepey scored 316.80, while Gaboury scored 300.70. Other diving scores included Annie Crea (seventh, 273.15), Christine Stitcher (eighth, 261.80) and Deidre Worth (258.95).
On the men’s side, individual results were equally impressive. The Irish beat Missouri State 230-128, but lost to Iowa (220-150) and Grand Canyon (224.5-145.5).
“I think for our guys, the goal today was to get out and race,” Litzinger commented. “These two sessions were really good for us. We had really great events, and we have some really great talent in those events. Everyone stepped forward and did a much better job. We still have some teaching to do ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” our sprint relays are really good, and our 800 free relay is really good, but we have to work on meshing those legs together. We got close to that today in the 400 free relay, but in our 800 free relay our individual results were much better than our combined effort. If we’re going to do something special at the ACC conference meet we need to work on that. Our men’s team is a solid group; they’re a lot of fun, they know what they want to do, and they’re working really hard at that.”
Top performances by the Irishmen included freshman butterflier Matt Grauslys’ fourth place finish in the 100 fly (49.17) and junior Trent Jackson’s first place showing in the 200 free (1:40.00). Senior Bogac Ayhan took third in 100 back (49.63), followed by Rob Whitacre (49.70) in fourth and Grauslys in sixth (51.28). Whitacre also had the top time in the 200 back, touching the wall fourth (1:49.41).
When asked which performance stood out the most to him, Litzinger was hard-pressed to pick just one race. “I really like watching Trent Jackson swim; he’s gone from a freestyler to breaststroker for us to fill a need. We have some capable breaststrokers, but they’re a little young. So he fell into that role, not by accident but by talent, and he’s really run with it. Our sprint guys are really good too, Daniel Speers, Tabahn Afrik, Justin Plaschka; they’re all just tremendous athletes. We’re going to rein them in, and tighten some things up, and we look forward to seeing what we can do at the end of the year.”
— 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.