Feb. 13, 2016
By Lizzie Mikes
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s swimming team raced throughout the day Saturday at the Michigan First Chance meet. Several racers finished first in their events throughout the day, with competition continuing tomorrow.
“I have to tip my hat to April [Woo] and Joe [Spahn}; to see these results with a lighter-than-normal coaching staff, amidst our preparations for the ACC meets was great,” head coach Mike Litzinger said. “They both took the weekend to give our kids the right coaching that they needed at this meet, and the results reflect that.”
For the women’s team, Molly Barry and Rebecca Walton swam in the first event of the day, the 500 free. Barry took first (4:57.63) and Walton, third (5:03.49). In the 50 free, Genevieve Heidkamp came in second (24.19) and Mary Hinton, sixth (26.25).
Heidkamp and Walton went 1-2 in the 100 fly, with Heidkamp touching the wall in 55.35 seconds and Walton in 57.01 seconds. Barry and Hinton followed suit in the 200 free, with Barry taking first place with a time of 1:53.00 and Hinton finishing in 1:56.30. All four girls will be back in the water tomorrow.
“For our women, the goal was to go up there and get some experience; obviously for Genna [Heidkamp], being a senior this was her last competition in an Irish uniform. We wanted to see what she was capable of, and she did a great job,” Litzinger stated. “Molly Barry was great too, and for Mary and Rebecca it was important for them to gain experience. This meet has a challenging format, where you have to swim in the morning and then stay warmed up for another event in the afternoon. You have to swim multiple times in a day, and swimming fast in each race is important. Their races set a good tone for the rest of our girls that will be swimming next week at the ACC meet.”
On the men’s team, Benjamin Jany was the sole swimmer in the 500 free, touching the wall sixth (4:28.61). The Irish had four entrants in the 200 IM, with Ben Gorski earning the top time of 1:51.08, good for fifth place. Michigan native Jack Russell took seventh (1:53.63), while classmates Maciej Olszewski came in eighth (1:56.27) and Zachary Stump finished ninth (1:57.75).
In the 50 free, Daniel Fujan finished second and raced a personal best with his 20.40 time and was closely followed by Harlin Bessire (20.86, fifth), Billy Barth (20.88, sixth) and David Stewart (21.19, eighth). In the 100 fly, Bessire took second (48.77), Stewart came in fifth (49.02) and Russell, seventh (49.71).
“The guys did a tremendous job,” Litzinger commented. “Especially with my staff taking on the men’s team midway through the year, they had to make some adjustments in training and philosophy – they have, and they did very well today. Daniel Fujan had his best time today by quite a bit, and I was impressed with Harlin [Bessire] and Billy [Barth]’s times as well. Benjamin Jany also had a good 500, considering he’s only five months removed from a knee surgery. To get up and match his ACC time from last year was impressive.
“I think all of our young guys really took some great steps forward in maturing and being ready to swim at this level, especially heading into the next few years down the road,” he finished.
In the last races of the day, Jany (1:38.73, fourth), Barth (1:40.30, sixth) and Fujan (1:41.60, eighth) all swam in the 200 free, and Gorski (55.57, second), Stump (55.89, third) and Olszewski (58.96, fourth) raced in the 100 breast.
— ND —
Lizzie Mikes serves as Media Services Coordinator at the University of Notre Dame. A 2013 graduate of Johnson & Wales University, she oversees credential management and is the athletic communications director for Fighting Irish men’s and women’s swimming and diving. She has assisted with numerous NCAA postseason events hosted by Notre Dame, and is heavily involved in the day-to-day tasks of the athletic communications office.