GREENSBORO, N.C. — Zach Yeadon won Notre Dame’s first men’s ACC Championship since 2014 Thursday in the 500 Free, shattering a school record and earning his third NCAA A Cut (second individual) of the season. Jack Hoagland also reached the podium in the event, claiming the bronze. After two days of competition, the Irish stand in seventh place.
In the morning, the Irish men kicked off prelims strong in the 500 Free, as Yeadon claimed the top spot heading into finals (4:14.03). Hoagland followed closely behind, in third with a 4:14.58. With his swim, Hoagland became the second-fastest 500 Free performer in Irish records. Sadler McKeen rounded out the A-final qualifiers, placing eighth with a 4:18.06.
In the 200 IM, senior captain Aaron Schultz improved on his seed time to secure the ninth overall spot heading into finals (1:45.38). Will Cumberland also made the B final, posting a 1:46.46 to place 16th. Marci Barta touched the wall in 1:46.86 (21st) and Josh Bottelberghe notched a 1:46.87 (23rd).
The night began with Yeadon’s record-breaking performance in the 500 Free. Yeadon clocked a 4:10.39 to win the championship, breaking his own school record by more than two seconds. The third Notre Dame men’s swimmer to win an ACC Championship, his time also qualified as an A cut.
Hoagland took home the bronze with a 4:12.15 in the 500 Free, ranking as the second-fastest performer in school history (behind Yeadon’s swim). McKeen jumped up two spots to take sixth with a B-cut 4:17.14, and Max Miranda (17th) won the C Final heat with a 4:18.51 (B cut).
Schultz followed through on his ninth slot in the 200 IM, staying in place as he won the B Final with a B-cut 1:44.73, while Cumberland placed 16th (1:46.89).
In the final event of the night, the team of Brendan Santana, Aaron Schultz, McKeen and Cason Wilburn posted a 1:19.05 in the 200 Free Relay.
After his record-breaking performance to bring home the gold, Yeadon related the success to what the Irish have been focused on all season: the team.
“To be a part of history now, and for the team to get involved and be pumped up like that, it’s great. It’s a great motivator,” the junior shared. “And, after we finished, Jack Hoagland and I were both on the podium, and we were actually second in the meet at that point. So, it’s a great feeling to get everybody into the meet and really feel like we’re competing for something.”
The record-holder also noted that the swim served as a welcome benchmark to the progress he and his team have made in the past year.
“For myself, it’s great feeling, especially after last year when we had some swims that weren’t exactly up to par,” Yeadon noted. “Things didn’t go exactly how we planned. It’s a great feeling to come back this year and kind of put it all behind us.”
Notre Dame head coach Mike Litzinger agreed, adding that Yeadon’s success only served to boost up his training partners, and vice versa.
“When Zach mentioned it’s such a team booster, that has really defined his attitude and how he’s approached this whole year,” Litzinger remembered. “He had a great freshman campaign, struggled at this meet last year a little bit.
“To rise above all of that, and go back to work and be a great team guy — and take a young guy like Jack Hoagland and his other training partner Sadler [McKeen] making to A finals, placing first, third and sixth — that was a really special thing.
“I’m proud of all of those guys,” the Irish coach noted. “I’m proud of our staff for getting them ready. When you put someone on the podium at this level, that’s an inspiration for the rest of your team, and it carried through to the IMs as well. Those were some really good swims by our guys, and we had a solid relay tonight.”
Day Three of the ACC Championships will commence at 10 a.m. Friday with prelims in the 100 Fly, 400 IM, 200 Free, 100 Breast and 100 Back. Finals for those events, as well as the 400 Medley Relay, will take place at 6 p.m.
“Now, it’s on to our full team participating tomorrow,” Litzinger looked ahead. “You’re going to see everybody give a great effort, and you’ll see us rise up in the places.”
STANDINGS | COMPLETE RESULTS
- NC State – 488
- Virginia – 438
- Florida State – 420.5
- Louisville – 393
- Virginia Tech – 359
- North Carolina – 315
- NOTRE DAME – 294.5
- Duke – 258
- Pitt – 223
- Georgia Tech – 216
- Miami – 197
- Boston College – 66