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Swimming & Diving

Notre Dame downs Purdue for second victory over ranked opponent

| Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The No. 14 men’s and the No. 10 women’s squads both picked up victories in their first away meet over the No. 23 men and the No. 16 ranked women’s Purdue teams.

Before the Irish faced the Boilermakers, they earned their highest rankings in program history. Irish head coach Mike Litzinger credited his athletes’ strong performances for the high rankings as well as his coaching staff’s recruiting efforts, which helps to execute the team’s vision.

Emmet Farnan | The Observer

Irish sophomore diver Erin Isola launches off a springboard during Notre Dame’s meet against Texas A&M on Oct. 14 at Rolfs Aquatic Center.

“The rankings are a result of many things: First and foremost are the athletes. They work hard daily, over holidays and summer to hone their craft,” Litzinger said. “Second is our coaching staff. I lay out a vision, and we go to work. Each coach has a specialized area, develops a great dynamic within that area and executes. Third, we are recruiting at a Notre Dame level. [Associate head coaches] April Woo and Aaron Bell are relentless and have done an excellent job projecting our vision, finding those high-level student athletes who are the “fit” for Notre Dame. Our ranking is a nice tip of the cap for hard work, well done.”

The dual victory over the Boilermakers is the second win over a ranked foe for both teams, with the first one coming against Louisville. The men’s and women’s teams beat the Boilermakers 169-131 and 163-137, respectively. The Irish won 17 individual events, as well as the men’s 200-yard medley relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay. One notable swimmer for the Irish was sophomore Abbie Dolan, who won three individual events in the 50-yard, 100-yard and 200-yard freestyle races. Sophomore Aaron Schultz, senior Rob Whitacre and freshman Zachary Yeadon each won multiple events on the men’s side. Litzinger was pleased with his team’s performance Friday and said the team’s biggest strength is its depth.

“We had a solid meet,” Litzinger said. “The group was a bit tired from four consecutive, emotional weekends of competition. I thought our divers did a great job. The women went 1-2 on a board for us, and the men took on the challenge of a great Purdue squad. Watching an athlete like [Purdue diver] Steele [Johnson] is always fun and raises your level. I think the big takeaway is we continue to swim and dive as a team. The times were OK, but our depth continued to carry us. Our approach all year is team swimming and diving, and if you are three or four deep in events, you will be tough to beat.”

The Irish will enjoy a week off, and after showing some signs of fatigue against the Boilermakers, Litzinger said he believes the break will be beneficial to his team.

“It will be a blessing to have a normal week,” Litzinger said. “A normal week of classes for the student-athletes, a normal week of training for the coaches and bringing the group back to center. Relays continue to be an important piece, and getting a few athletes healthy after some nagging illness will be on top of our list this week.”

After a week hiatus, the Irish will compete in another dual meet Nov. 9 against another in-state rival in the No.1 ranked men’s and the No. 8 ranked women’s Indiana teams and the men’s and women’s Cincinnati teams in Bloomington, Indiana.

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