Irish Head Into Final Day Of Invite In Second Place

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Irish swim and dive team concluded day two of the annual Ohio State Fall Invitational with a combined 10 top-three finishes and multiple NCAA B cut times.

The women came out strong for the team to start the evening session, taking the second best time in the 200 medley relay as Carly Quast, Meaghan O’Donnell, Cailey Grunhard and Abbie Dolan finished in 1:38.20. The men responded with a first place finish in the same event when Jack Montesi, Matthew Limbacher, Zach Smith and Aaron Schultz came together to post a final time of 1:26.41.

Four members of the Notre Dame team earned NCAA B cut times during the evening event in the 100 fly. Nikki Smith finished first for the Irish women, completing the race in 52.80 for second overall. Erin Sheehan also made the cut, touching the wall in 53.24. On the men’s side Aaron Schultz and Zach Smith both tabbed NCAA times when they finished second (46.87) and fourth (47.41), respectively. Jack Montesi, who finished fifth, had also notched his NCAA cut in the preliminary round Friday morning. Matt Grauslys finished seventh overall in the men’s race and Jack Russell and Brendan Santana also placed in the top-21. Cailey Grunhard, Rachel Wittmer, Katie Rentz and Sofia Revilak all finished in the top-20 for the women, competing in the b heat, while Paige Kaplan also competed.

Luciana Thomas led the Irish women in the 400 IM, an event that saw three women competing for the Blue and Gold. Her final time of 1:45.79 earned her an NCAA B cut and an eighth place finish overall. She was joined in the pool by teammates Sammie Eyolfson (4:23.47) and Paige Kaplan (4:24.82). The men’s 400 IM boasted three Irish swimmers finish in the top-five, including a first place finish from Marci Barta who touched the wall in 3:41.67. Andrew Winton (3:47.30) finished third while Will Cumberland took the fifth-best time (3:50.76). Nick Milikich and Joe Turk also competed and took 12th and 16th, respectively.

The women’s 200 free featured nine Irish women, the most of the evening, with Abbie Dolan claiming third place (1:45.79). Lauren Heller also finished in the top-10, touching the wall in 1:47.83 for a seventh place finish. In the men’s event, four members of the team represented Notre Dame with Sadler McKeen leading the way. He finished with a time of 1:35.56 and an NCAA B cut.

Meaghan O’Donnell led the Irish women in the 100 breast, earning an NCAA B cut in the event with her time of 1:00.82. Sammie Eyolfson finished 12th in the event and Sarah Nicholls came in 15th overall. The men placed four in the top-15 with Josh Bottelberghe taking fourth overall and first for the Irish. His time of 54.27 was enough for an NCAA B cut as well. Matthew Limbacher, touching the wall in 54.68, took seventh while Jack Russell claimed 11th overall and Rex Riley took 13th.

The 100 back featured Carly Quast taking third with a time of 52.61 and an NCAA B cut. Alice Treuth (53.99) and Bayley Stewart (54.23) both finished in the top-10. Stewart turned in an NCAA B cut performance in the morning session in the event. Highlighting the race for the Irish men was Jack Montesi who took the top place with an NCAA cut of 47.61. Will Cumberland, finishing fifth with a time of 48:56 and Matt Grauslys who took 10th rounded out the Irish in the top-10.

The men’s 800 free relay, led by Zach Yeadon, Sadler McKeen, Aaron Schultz and Marci Barta, won the final swimming event of the evening, shaving 12 seconds off their preliminary race time to finish in 6:21.58 and earn an NCAA B cut.

In the diving events, Kelly Straub took sixth with 260.75 points, just edging out teammate Erin Isola who finished with 259.55 points for seventh overall. Both earned NCAA B cuts in the 1-meter dives during the morning preliminary session. Austin Flaute competed for the Irish men, tallying 302.05 points for eighth overall.

“It was an incredible day of racing for our group,” head coach Mike Litzinger said. “Marci Barta now owns the Notre Dame record in the 400 IM and the fastest time in the NCAA. Our Men showed great spirit tonight winning both relays and stepping up individually for their team.

“Our women were solid with big swims from Nikki Smith, Carly Quast and Meaghan O’Donnell,” he added. “We need to finish this meet off with what our women do best, perform as a team.”

Through two days of competition, both teams sit in second prior to the third day of the annual meet. The final day of competition begins tomorrow, Saturday, November 17 with the preliminary races at 10 a.m. The final session of the weekend will start at 5 p.m.