Oct. 27, 2016
By Lizzie Mikes
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – University of Notre Dame head swimming coach Mike Litzinger has much to be excited about these days. After beating ACC foe Georgia Tech in Atlanta last week, the Irish welcome Purdue, Rutgers and Miami to their home pool this Friday for a quad women’s meet, and dual meet for the men’s team. The meet is slated to start at 5 p.m. EDT, and will be held in the Rolfs Aquatic Center on campus. Admission is free.
“Originally, this started just as a meet with Purdue,” Litzinger says. “Last year the women’s team swam Purdue in a straight-up dual meet, and now that we combined our teams, it was only natural to have both squads compete here. The Miami coach called then, and said they’d like to swim us the same weekend as the football game; so with Purdue’s approval, we added the Miami women’s team. Then my friend on the coaching staff at Rutgers called, and asked if they could swim us on Friday before they swim Northwestern Saturday; so when Miami and Purdue agreed to that, the meet morphed from just a men’s and women’s dual meet into a women’s quad meet, which is very cool for us. Unfortunately for our guys, Miami and Rutgers don’t have men’s teams, but all of us – athletes and coaches – are excited for the weekend and the teams we’re hosting.”
Notre Dame stands highly ranked in both major polls early in the season, with the TYR/CSCAA Poll showing the men’s team at No. 16 and the women, No. 24; per CollegeSwimming.com, the men’s team ranks 12th nationally and the women’s squad is 10th. By comparison, Purdue stands 46th in the men’s poll and 34th in the women’s rankings on collegeswimming,com, and Miami is 42nd. None of the Irish opponents are ranked in the TYR/CSCAA polling.
Litzinger is quick to credit the work his team puts forth in practice as a reason for the early-season success.
“On our men’s team, Justin Plaschka, Rob W Whitacre, Matt Grauslys and Dan Speers have completely bought into what we’re doing with a combined program, and they’re reaping the benefits of a larger, more experienced coaching staff,” Litzinger states. “While on our women’s team, we have a quite a few people stepping up early in the year. Number one, we have a really large, really talented freshman class; so people like Abbie Dolan and Lauren Heller are coming in, and doing something special right away. But also equally important, the women who were on the team with us last year have a year under their belts with us already; they’re reaping the benefits of coaching consistency, and many of them are coming off a great summer of training. Meaghan O’Donnell, Molly Treble, Alice Treuth, Cat Mulquin, these are athletes that always do a great job for us in the pool and we’re really pleased with where both squads are right now.”
Adding to the excitement of the weekend, in conjunction with the Notre Dame Monogram Club’s 100 Year reunion festivities, alumni and former monogram winners from both teams will be in attendance for the meet Friday evening.
“We’re not recognizing anyone individually, but we did extend an invitation to all former monogram winners to attend several events this weekend,” Litzinger says. “We have over 100 monogram-winners who will be in attendance, and our team will wear a unique, specially-made swim cap with the 100 year logo on it. All former monogram winners are invited to share in a team mass Friday before the meet, then Saturday morning, everyone is invited to practice and a team breakfast before the football game that afternoon.”
Fans can follow live results of the meet on both team Twitter accounts, @NDWSwimDive and @NDMensswimdive, with a complete recap posted to und.com at the conclusion of the met.
— ND —
Lizzie Mikes is a program coordinator with the University of Notre Dame International Department, having previously served as the athletic department’s media services coordinator from 2013-16. A 2013 graduate of Johnson & Wales University, Mikes oversaw credential management and worked as the athletic communications director for the men’s and women’s swimming and diving, track and field and fencing teams.