Irish head to Iowa for Hawkeye Invitational
Henry Hilliard | Thursday, December 4, 2014
In its last competition of 2014, Notre Dame travels to Iowa for the annual Hawkeye Invitational, which runs from tonight until Sunday.
The Irish (3-2) hope to continue their winning ways in Iowa City, Iowa, after besting Michigan State on the road two weeks ago.
Notre Dame’s divers will face a rematch with the Spartans this weekend, since the Michigan State squad will also make the journey to Iowa City for the Hawkeye Invitational. The Irish will also face Iowa, Denver, Washington State and UW-Milwaukee in swim and dive competition.
Iowa State, Nebraska, Northern Iowa, Ohio State and Michigan State are also participating in the meet, though only in the diving events.
On the diving boards, the team looks to continue its recent dominance. Against the Spartans two weeks ago, Notre Dame claimed each of the top five places, led by sophomore Joe Coumos, who won both the 1-meter and 3-meter boards, with scores of 370.80 and 383.10, respectively.
The Hawkeye Invitational is familiar territory for the Irish. This will be the fifth consecutive year Notre Dame has traveled to Iowa for the meet. Last season, it won the meet, scoring 1,228.5 points for the second-highest total in the history of the annual event.
The Irish hope for a similarly strong performance this weekend, the first time Notre Dame will enter the meet with Matt Tallman as their head coach. Tallman previously served as assistant coach under former head coach Tim Welsh, the current interim coach of the women’s team.
“We obviously want consistency, and I would say that the transition has been seamless,” Tallman said. “Having Coach Welsh working with the women’s team has helped us transition and keep our focus of preparing for the next competition.”
In terms of preparation, Tallman said Notre Dame is still reaping the benefits from their fall break spent at the U.S. Olympic Training Facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado. After staring 1-1 on the season, the team has collected two wins in three meets since the trip, beating Pittsburgh, 286-84, on Nov. 8 and Michigan State, 171-127, on Nov. 14. Notre Dame made the same trip last year.
Despite the recent success, Tallman said the Irish remain committed to improving on the margins.
“I always want our guys to be able to come out of every meet and say that they improved and left everything in the water,” Tallman said.
The Irish are slated to resume action after the start of the new year with a double dual meet against Michigan and Northwestern to be held in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Jan. 10. Notre Dame will not return home to Rolfs Aquatic Center until it hosts the Shamrock Invitational on Jan. 30-31, after nearly three months of swimming away on the road.