March 25, 2017
By Sinhue Mendoza
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – The No. 19 Notre Dame men’s swimming and diving program concluded its most successful performance at the NCAA Division I Championships in school history Saturday.
The Irish finished with a program-record 29 points and placed 25th. Notre Dame’s showing tops the previous mark in 2012 when the Irish finished 28th with 15 points.
Senior Trent Jackson earned All-America honors in his final meet for Notre Dame. He swam 1:53.58 in the morning prelims of the 200 breaststroke, which was good enough to finish in the top eight and move him into the finals. Jackson then placed eighth in the final with a time of 1:55.24.
The 400 freestyle relay quartet of Tabahn Afrik, Daniel Speers, Justin Plaschka and Reed Fujan finished the morning prelim swim in 12th-place with a time of 2:50.39. The effort set the standard for Notre Dame and earned them a spot in the evening finals. The Irish finished 14th in the finals with a time of 2:51.42.
Backing in Top 20
Robby Whitacre finished 20th in the 200 backstroke tapping the wall at 1:41.15. The swim was the third-fastest in program history. Whitacre holds the school record from his fifth-place swim in the 2017 ACC Championships (1:40.60).
COACH LITZINGER’S THOUGHTS
On a historically successful performance for his team…
“Overall a great team effort and certainly breaking new ground. Our men swam hard and put themselves in position to perform again in the evening.”
On senior Trent Jackson earning All-American honors…
“Trent Jackson was certainly an individual highlight being a finalist in the 200 breast tonight. A well deserved honor.”
On his coaching staff and departing seniors…
“I truly appreciate the leadership of our coaching staff and our seniors Reed Fujan and Trent Jackson. They believed in our mission from the start and they finished their career with incredible performances. I am so proud of their efforts and they have set the bar high for teams to come.”
SETTING THE STANDARD
The 2016-17 Notre Dame men’s swimming and diving team set a new standard of excellence for the program.
- The Irish sent a record tying nine to the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis. Five student-athletes competed in individual races, ACC 3-meter diving champion Joe Coumos dove in both the 1 and 3-meter board, and another four swimmers were in the Irish relays.
- Notre Dame set four new program records at the NCAAs; 200 free relay, 400 free relay, 400 medley relay and Justin Plaschka’s 50 free lead off split while while earning multiple All- American recognitions.
- In the regular season the Irish recorded over 25 NCAA B-cut times while earning such a time in every NCAA qualification category.
- The squad was ranked in the TYR / CSCAA Division I Top-25 throughout the entire season.
- Notre Dame’s highest ranking was No. 14.
- The Irish placed third at the 2017 ACC Championships for the program’s first-ever podium finish at the conference meet.
- Notre Dame ended NCAA Championship action with its highest point total and placement in school history.