Irish set for ACC Championships
Kit Loughran | Wednesday, February 24, 2016
The Notre Dame men’s swimming team commences its ACC championship run today just after the women’s comes to an end.
The women’s team finished seventh at the ACC championship in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Saturday. The Irish scored 537.5 points over four days of competition, posting several top times throughout the meet.
Freshman Alice Treuth swam a 1:55.44 in the prelims for the 200-yard backstroke and finished seventh in the final with a time of 1:55.84. Her time, along with freshman Kyra Sarazen’s 1:56.82 in the B Final and and junior Katie Miller’s 1:58.72 in the C Final, qualified as NCAA B-cut times.
In the 400-yard freestyle relay, the school-record lineup of junior Catherine Mulquin, senior Catherine Galletti and freshmen Ella Moynihan and Sofia Revilak closed the night with a time of 3:21.08 to add 32 points to the team standings.
Now the men’s squad will take to the pool. Like the women’s team, the Irish will compete for four days from Wednesday to Saturday, and the 17 swimmers competing are ready to prove themselves in Greensboro, senior Shane McKenzie said.
“This is the most focused I have seen the members of this team all year,” McKenzie said. “We are definitely set out to prove ourselves in the eyes of the ACC and the national level. We did not rest for a mid-season meet this year, so this is the meet we have been dialed in on all season.
“We had some tough losses during the dual meet season especially against ACC rivals Virginia and Virginia Tech, and those losses are definitely in our minds heading into this conference championship.”
The Irish return four seniors, five juniors, three sophomores for another ACC championship meet, while five freshmen will be racing at the collegiate postseason level for the first time. Based on their training this season, each swimmer is pursuing their respective events this postseason. As a team with NCAA hopes though, McKenzie said the meet will come down to the relays.
“I will be swimming the 200 and 400 individual medley as well as the 200 butterfly,” McKenzie said. “Those are the events I have been training for all season and will be focusing on the most.
“As a team, we are looking to improve significantly in the relays compared to last year. We have a number of freshmen who have stepped up this season and will contribute on those relays. Those will be exciting to watch as members of those relays hope to qualify for NCAAs and establish new school records.”
While the Irish have claimed Big East championships in the past, they are still searching for their first ACC trophy. In addition to Virginia and Virginia Tech, Notre Dame is set to face North Carolina State, North Carolina and Louisville this week.
“The biggest challenge at the meet will be keeping focus and energy high for the duration of the four-day meet,” McKenzie said. “There are prelims and finals sessions every day with not a lot of down time in between. These championship style meets are emotionally and physically draining, but as a team, we must trust in our training and focus on executing just as our coaches have prepared us to do throughout the season.”
And the key to remaining focused lies in the depth of Notre Dame’s roster, McKenzie said. The four seniors and five juniors, who grounded the team midseason during a coaching transition, will continue to solidify that foundation in the ACC championships.
“This is the first time as a senior class where all of us will be competing in the conference championship,” McKenzie said. “As a class, we are all very excited to see this team perform.
“Since coming back for winter training in December, I’ve never been part of a team here at Notre Dame more dedicated to each other. This team is special and I couldn’t be prouder ending my swimming career with this group of guys, and I am positive the rest of the senior class — Andrew Jensen, Bogac Ayhan and Michael Hudspith — can attest to that as well.”
The Irish compete in the 2016 ACC championships meet from Wednesday to Saturday in Greensboro, North Carolina, at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.