COLUMBUS, Ohio — No. 16/12 Notre Dame opened the Ohio State Winter Invite Friday, posting four wins in finals. The last competition prior to the ACC Championships, several Irish swimmers who will not be competing in the postseason have the chance to get one championship-style weekend in before the end of the 2020 season, and competitors like senior Joe Turk and freshman Liam Hutchinson made their marks.
“Tonight was a very nice boost for the athletes we have competing here at Ohio State,” Irish head coach Mike Litzinger noted. “Our energy was up and that showed in our swims.”
Beginning with the women’s 500 Free, Sammy Steigerwald placed 15th in preliminaries, while Tegan Sweeney placed 23rd. Freshman Hutchinson noted the top time in preliminary heats of the men’s 500 Free, posting a B-Cut 4:21.81, with teammate Luke Thornbrue right behind him in second place at 4:28.56.
Sammie Eyolfson claimed the fourth slot in the women’s 200 IM, while Claire DeSelm placed sixth, Catie Brennan placed 13th and Meaghan Lyons placed 15th. On the men’s side, Turk narrowly missed the top spot in prelims, entering finals with a 1:49.70, second only to Tristan Lin from Johns Hopkins (1:49.61). JP Becker added on, placing fourth, while Michael Rosa placed 11th.
In the women’s 50 Free, Kelly Jacob and Maddy Potter (23.65) tied the fifth spot out of prelims, while Katie Smith placed 11th and Sarah Boyle placed 20th.
Topher Stensby claimed the second-best time coming out of men’s 50 Free prelims with a 20.54, closely followed by Alec DeLong (20.57), as Charles Korndorffer placed 10th and Nicholas Chase placed 12th.
Notre Dame started off with a bang, as the team of Jacob, Potter, Eyolfson and Smith won the women’s 200 Free Relay with a 1:34.55. The men’s squad of Stensby, DeLong, Chase and Korndorffer placed second (1:22.42), just .07 seconds off the win.
Hutchinson successfully defended his first place slot in the men’s 500 Free, shaving more than two seconds off his preliminary time to post the sixth-fastest time in Irish record books for the event (4:19.11).
“Liam was exceptional in the 500, and that performance put him No. 6 all time in Notre Dame history,” Litzinger shared. “Considering he was out of the water for 6 weeks prior to the holidays, that swim was well-executed. He certainly has a great future.”
Turk made his move up to win the men’s 200 IM, overtaking Lin by almost two seconds and touching the wall in 1:47.67. Becker held on to fourth place (1:50.56).
“Joe Turk has been a scrappy competitor throughout his career at Notre Dame, and tonight was no exception,” Notre Dame’s head coach attested. “He swam like a senior tonight, and he has set himself up for a great weekend.”
Jacob remained in fifth in the women’s 50 Free after finals (23.60), and Potter tied for sixth (23.62). Topher Stensby narrowly missed the win in the men’s 50 Free with a 20.44, taking second.
To end the night, the men’s team of Turk, Becker, Korndorffer and DeLong won the men’s 400 Medley Relay with a 3:17.18.
“The men’s Medley was a non-traditional lineup, and our guys really put up some exciting splits,” Litzinger shared.
“Overall, we have a solid start, and now it is time to get into the heart of competition with the same kind of energy as tonight.”
The Irish return to the pool Saturday for Day Two preliminary races beginning at 11 a.m. Follow along @NDSwimDive on Twitter and https://data.ohiostatebuckeyes.com/livestats/w-swim/index.htm for updates.