NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The No. 17/RV University of Notre Dame Swim & Dive team topped the NR/No. 25 Wildcats of Northwestern Friday night in the first home meet of 2020. The night was punctuated by two pool records set by Irish swimmers Coleen Gillilan (women’s 200 Fly) and Zach Yeadon (men’s 500 Free), along with strong finishes in the top three across the board.
FINAL RESULTS | PDF RESULTS
No. 17 Notre Dame: 151, Northwestern: 92
RV Notre Dame: 169, No. 25 Northwestern: 74
“We had a lot of energy tonight,” Notre Dame head coach Mike Litzinger noted after the meet. “It really felt more like our team. We’re starting to develop that championship identity, and every swim is starting to count more and more.”
With swimmers that, on paper, were evenly matched with the Wildcats, the Notre Dame performers pulled away to strong leads early, and hung on.
“We came out on top this time, but we know that Northwestern is a great team,” Litzinger added.
The night started with a win for the Irish in the men’s 400 Medley Relay, with the team of Jack Montesi, Josh Bottelberghe, Zach Smith and Aaron Schultz posting a 3:13.88. From there, the individual wins started rolling in, beginning with Luciana Thomas in the women’s 1000 Free (9:57.90). Jack Hoagland followed suit, winning the men’s 1000 Free with a 9:05.74.
Abbie Dolan (1:47.19) and Sadler McKeen (1:36.14) posted their first wins of the night in the 200 Free, with McKeen’s time qualifying for B-cut status. Gillilan stacked another win for the Irish, posting a B-cut 1:57.38 in the 200 IM.
On the men’s side, Marci Barta (1:49.50), Max Miranda (1:49.83) and Andrew Winton (1:50.10) swept the podium in the 200 IM. Following, in the 50 Free, junior Rachel Wittmer (23.20) and senior captain Schultz (20.69) won both events.
Gillilan struck again, this time posting a pool record for Rolfs Aquatic Center in the women’s 200 Fly with a 1:55.94, her 21st B-cut performance of the season. Thomas followed behind with a B-cut time of 1:59.00.
Wittmer (50.77) and McKeen (44.25) won the 100 Free events, while Bayley Stewart posted a win in the women’s 200 Back (1:57.64). Carly Quast followed behind with a 1:59.53 in the event.
Notre Dame put on a show in the 500 Free heats, with Yeadon setting a pool record, marking down a 4:19.30 (B-Cut). Hoagland (4:23.86) and Miranda (4:31.58) took second and third place. On the women’s side, the Irish made their mark, as Dolan placed first with a 4:52.35 and Madeline LaPorte placed third with a 4:59.12.
Bottelberghe closed out the individual events with a win in the men’s 200 Breast (1:58.97), followed by a third-place finish from Rex Riley (2:02.84).
The Irish claimed both 400 Free Relays, with the women’s team of Dolan, Gillilan, Quast and Wittmer posting a 3:21.84, and the men’s group of Yeadon, Cason Wilburn, Schultz and McKeen touching the wall in 2:56.90.
On the diving end, the Irish got off to a hot start with two first-place finishes. Kelly Straub won the women’s 1-meter (329.93), while Austin Flaute placed first in the men’s 3-meter (336.53). In the second session, Straub completed her sweep of the diving events, winning the women’s 3-meter (307.20). Flaute placed second in the men’s 1-meter with a 351.60.
According to Litzinger, the massive success for the Irish was the result of multiple aspects of Notre Dame’s schedule and training program. Friday marked Notre Dame’s first home meet since Oct. 4.
“First of all, it’s good to be home,” he added. “We race really well at home. But, the second piece is, I think it really shows the production that we got from training camp.”
Even with multiple pool records broken and NCAA B-Cut times posted, Litzinger explained that as the squad nears championship season, winning swims serve best when contributed to the overall team.
“There’s always going to be individual success, and we’re certainly proud of those athletes,” he noted. “But, at the end of the day, this was a true team effort.
“We’re starting to truly form that identity that we talked a lot about in the fall.”
Next week, Notre Dame will remain at home to host the Shamrock Invitational Jan. 24-25, and will return to Rolfs Aquatic Center again the next weekend to host Ball State and Michigan State on Feb. 1. Follow along with @NDSwimDive on Twitter for updates.