Swimmers break program records at championships
Kyle Barry | Tuesday, March 28, 2017
The No. 19 Notre Dame men finished their season on a historic note after their performance at the NCAA championships in Indianapolis on Saturday.
The Irish concluded the NCAA championships with a program-record 29 points and finished 25th overall. Notre Dame’s record-breaking performance went beyond the 2012 season, when the Irish finished 28th with 15 points.
Irish senior swimmer Trent Jackson finished his Notre Dame career by earning All-American honors after his final meet at the NCAA Championships. Jackson swam 1:53.58 in the preliminary race of the 200 breaststroke, which placed him in the top eight and advanced him to the finals. Jackson would go on to finish eighth in the final meet with a time of 1:55.24.
Irish swim coach Mike Litzinger said he was proud of how Jackson was able to overcome obstacles to become an All-American.
“Trent was a very unlikely hero. He was recruited as a middle distance swimmer, and upon the coaching change, we decided to focus on the breaststroke events,” Litzinger said. “As it turns out, his size, strength and background really made a difference. I am very proud of Trent and how coachable he has been.”
In the finals of the 400 freestyle relays, the four Irish swimmers, made up of sophomores Tabahn Afrik and Daniel Speers, junior Justin Plaschka and senior Reed Fujan finished 14th overall with a time of 2:51.42.
Among the accomplishments for the Irish this season were four new program records set at the NCAAs (in the 200 free relay, 400 free relay and 50 freestyle), a record-tying nine swimmers sent to the NCAAs, a third-place finish at ACCs and a national ranking of No. 14 at the highest point of the squad’s season.
Litzinger said that he was happy with how the coaching staff and swimmers performed throughout the season.
“I truly enjoyed coaching these teams. Our staff did an incredible job,” Litzinger said. “The athletes understood what it would take from the beginning, and they all responded at the ACC level and of course, the last two weeks, at the NCAA level.”
Litzinger is determined to continue this year’s success into next year.
“This is a sport that doesn’t stop. No one is getting slower out there,” Litzinger said. “The expectations have changed with our success, and a great spring and summer will be needed to continue our upward trend.”