NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame swim and dive program opened the annual Shamrock Invitational Friday morning showing promise for the remainder of the meet.
After the sounds of Cathy Richardson’s “Here Come The Irish” rang through the natatorium, the Irish were ready for the morning session. The women dove in first, claiming second and third in the 200 free relay while the men placed fourth to open the competition.
Notre Dame’s top relay squad swam to a Rolfs pool record time of 3:34.98 in the 400 medley relay to conclude the morning portion of competition, with Carly Quast notching her own pool record in the lead-off stretch of the 100 back. Quast swam a facility best time of 52.60 to lead her relay team of Meaghan O’Donnell, Erin Sheehan and Abbie Dolan to a first-place finish.
Through five events, the women hold a strong lead as they look ahead to the remaining two sessions while the men look to bounce back from a close finish in the 400 Medley Relay to reclaim the top spot. The women, who have 349.50 points thus far lead Akron, Ohio State and Iowa, two of whom they’ve met previously this season. On the men’s side, the Irish boast 235 points behind only Ohio State. They hold a close advantage over Iowa while Missouri State is also fighting for points.
Notre Dame nearly swept the women’s 50 free during the morning slate of events as they claimed four of the top-five spots to secure the first-place team finish through session one. Katie Smith led the team, finishing first in 23.09 while Cailey Grunhard (23.18), Kelly Jacob (23.19) and Rachel Wittmer (23.30) touched the wall third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
During the morning session’s ten events, the Irish claimed first in half, including in both the men’s and women’s 500 free. Sinead Eksteen took the top spot in the women’s race with a time of 4:48.75 before Zach Yeadon led the men’s race, touching the wall in 4:20.62. Yeadon’s time came just shy of the pool record which he previously set this season.
The two teams return to action for session two of the Shamrock Invitational Friday evening before concluding the annual event Saturday morning. Prior to diving into the pool on Saturday, the team’s 13 seniors will be honored for their dedication to the swim and dive program over the past four years.