NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The No. 16/12 Notre Dame Swim & Dive teams will host the Shamrock Invitational from Jan. 24-25. As part of the invitational, the Irish will honor the anniversary of the 1992 bus accident that claimed the lives of two Notre Dame swimmers, and recognize legendary coach Tim Welsh for his career accomplishments.
Teams from four other universities will travel to Rolfs Aquatic Center to compete in what is becoming one of the premier invitationals for the early spring season in collegiate swimming, according to Irish head coach Mike Litzinger.
“This invitational isn’t necessarily about winning and losing,” the Notre Dame coach explained. “For all of these teams, this is kind of a measuring stick on where you are pre-conference [championships]. So you’re going to see a lot of fast swimming and some really high-end diving, simply because of the nature of the group that’s together.
“They’re going to bring out the best in each other.”
Last week, Notre Dame swept Northwestern at home. The women won by a score of 169-74, while the men emerged victorious, 151-92. Zach Yeadon (500 Free) and Coleen Gillilan (200 Fly) broke Rolfs Aquatic Center records.
THE MEET DEETS
Teams: No. 16/12 NOTRE DAME, No. 18/RV Iowa, No. 14/7 Ohio State, Akron (Women), Missouri State (Men)
Dates and times
Friday, Jan. 24: Session I, 10 a.m. | Session II, 5 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 25: Session III, 11:15 a.m. (1650 Free at 9 a.m.)
Location: Rolfs Aquatic Center, Notre Dame
Live timing: Meet Mobile and und.com/swimmingstats
Schedule of events:
Session I: 200 Free Relay, 500 Free, 200 IM, 50 Free, 400 Medley Relay
Session II: 200 Medley Relay, 400 IM, 100 Fly, 200 Free, 100 Breast, 100 Back, 3-meter/1-meter diving, 800 Free Relay
Session III: 1650 Free (9 a.m.), 200 Back, 100 Free, 200 Breast, 200 Fly, 1-meter/3-meter diving, 400 Free Relay
The Invitational, set in the same event lineup as conference championships, will give individual student-athletes the opportunity to impress and mark down times and scores that may earn themselves a chance to represent their universities in those conference championships.
“Traditionally, this meet has been kind of a dress rehearsal for the conference, since we are doing all the events in order,” Litzinger noted. “But, what you’re going to see is much, much more than that. It’s becoming one of the premier meets at this time of the year across the country because of the level of performance and what’s kind of at stake for each team.”
As the meet falls towards the culmination of the season, training for the Irish takes a different tone. According to Litzinger, the team now focuses on pace and race strategy, as opposed to the heavy conditioning and lifting components of training.
This weekend, the Notre Dame Swim & Dive Team will honor the anniversary of the 1992 bus crash that killed two members of the women’s team, Colleen Hipp and Meghan Beeler, and injured others.
“It’s always a time for us to reflect and how lucky we are to be on an athletics team at the University of Notre Dame and have each other; and, certainly, remember Colleen Hipp and Meghan Beeler, who we lost in that accident,” Litzinger shared.
“Alumni are really pleased that we’re continuing to do this and keep teams from the past in our life,” he continued. “I think that’s one of the great things about being at a place like Notre Dame, is your tradition follows you. And, no matter what that particular tradition was, it’s a championship-level tradition. We’re trying to regain that feeling here, and we want to make sure that we continue to honor those who came before us.”
Tim Welsh Dedication
The Irish will also honor Tim Welsh, who served as Notre Dame Head Swim & Dive Coach for 30 seasons, on Saturday. Honored as one of the most notable contributors to collegiate swimming, Welsh has been awarded the National Collegiate and Scholastic Swimming Trophy, the College Swimming Coaches Association of America’s highest honor, and this fall, received the 2019 Notre Dame Monogram Club’s Jesse Harper Award, recognizing him for his commitment and involvement with the athletic department and the university as a whole.
As such, Notre Dame will dedicate the Coach Tim Welsh Team Room, continuing to provide a space for student-athletes to, in the words of Welsh, “pursue – and achieve – athletic excellence, with self-discipline and love for one another.”
“What’s really evident is the effect that [Welsh] has had on his athletes beyond the pool, and their relationship with him post-swimming. The philosophy that he put forth still resonates with them today,” Litzinger remembered. “When you receive something like the Jesse Harper award, it’s more than just the success of being a coach here. It’s being a coach, it’s being a mentor, it’s being a father, it’s being a friend. It’s being everything that Notre Dame asks you to be in relationship with student-athletes.”
The Shamrock Invitational can be followed on Meet Mobile and at und.com/swimmingstats. Fans can also follow along with @NDSwimDive on Twitter and Instagram.