Sizable Irish contingent to travel to NCAAs
Observer Sports Staff | Thursday, March 19, 2015
Irish sophomore diver Joe Coumous snatched a seventh-place finish in the 3-meter dive last weekend at the NCAA Zone C Diving Meet in Columbus, Ohio and secured a spot at the NCAA championships next weekend in Iowa City, Iowa.
Coumous — who added a ninth-place finish in the 1-meter dive — was the only Irish diver to finish in the top 10 in any event at the meet and will be eligible to compete in all three diving events when he reaches the national championships March 25.
He will be joined in Iowa City by a trio of Irish swimmers and two relay teams to give Notre Dame a solid contingent at the national championships.
Notre Dame’s 200-meter medley and 800-meter freestyle relay teams will make the trip to compete with college swimming’s elite while sophomore Tom Anderson and seniors Zachary Stephens and Jonathan Williamson will head to the meet as individuals.
For the two seniors, it will be the last time they don the Notre Dame cap in the pool, as both of them make their third appearances at the NCAA championships. Stephens will compete in the 200-yard individual medley, 100-yard breaststroke and 200-yard breaststroke. His best finish last year was in the 100 breast in 25th, but he has since dropped his time in the event by nearly a full second to reach 52.54 seconds, putting him in line to potentially better his finish at the national championships.
Williamson will swim a pair of events: the 100-yard and 200-yard butterfly. He finished 24th in the 200 fly last year and dropped his time over the course of the year in both events.
Anderson, the youngest of the bunch, qualified for a trio of events: the 500-yard freestyle, 400-yard individual medley and the 200-yard backstroke. While next weekend will not be Anderson’s first trip to the national championships, it will be his first as an individual; he was a relay-only swimmer last year.
The Irish sent five divers to Columbus last weekend but only saw Coumous advance to the national championships next weekend. The Irish had a strong 3-meter competition, as Coumous’s Irish teammates followed up his seventh-place finish with four more top-25 finishes. Senior Michael Kreft finished 16th in the event, freshman peter Myers placed 17th, senior Ted Wagner notched a 23rd place finish and sophomore James Lichtenstein wrapped up the Irish effort in 24th.
On the platform, Notre Dame had a less impressive performance; Coumous led the pack in 14th while Myers and Lichtenstein also picked up top-20 finishes for the Irish.
Coumous got the Irish back in the top 10 in the 1-meter as he finished ninth followed by Kreft’s 13th place finish.
Notre Dame’s contingent will head to Iowa City, Iowa next week for the NCAA championships, which begin Wednesday.