ND spends break in San Juan
Ryan Klaus | Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Coming off a second-place finish in the Hawkeye Invitational before winter break, Notre Dame took advantage of its time off by spending a majority of it training in San Juan, Puerto Rico.“It’s always just great to get away from here,” Irish head coach Matt Tallman said. “The weather is almost guaranteed to be nice [in San Juan]. The guys have a good feeling of being down there for training versus being up here and there were good spirits, good energy and hard work.”
While in San Juan, the Irish also took advantage of a schedule that was not limited by classes or NCAA rules that cap practice time during the school year.
“We practice more frequently than we get to at school,” Tallman said. “There’s no hour limitation or classes where we have to make sure that they’re not getting too run-down to be able to perform in the classroom. We just have to make sure they’re getting run-down in the pool.”
With more free time for the Irish swimmers and divers, training not only went up in hours, but also in quality.
“It’s pretty intense,” Tallman said. “We did quite a bit of racing and quite a bit of aerobic training and all of it hopefully pays off at the end of the season.”
After getting back from San Juan, the Irish finally returned to action in Ann Arbor, Michigan, last Saturday in a meet that featured Northwestern and host Michigan. The Irish fell to both schools, though Tallman indicated that fatigue and the training schedule might have, for the timing being, put his team at a disadvantage.
“We were tired,” Tallman said. “It was definitely a different situation for us than it was for the other two schools that had been back at school for a week and back to their usual training regimens.”
Although the Irish fell to both Northwestern and Wisconsin, Tallman still found several positives in his team’s performance at Michigan, particularly praising senior Zachary Stephens, who finished second in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:02.02), third in the 200-yard individual medley (1:52.90) and seventh in the 50-yard freestyle (20.95).
“Zach’s an NCAA scorer, so he’s one of the faster guys in the country,” Tallman said. “He steps up and just knows how to race. He likes to compete and we have big plans for him at the end of the season.”
Senior Nick Nemetz led the Irish divers, claiming the top spot in the 1-meter dive (314.35) and second in the 3-meter dive (316.60).
Notre Dame will head to Madison, Wisconsin, on Thursday for a dual meet against the Badgers that will take place Friday and Saturday.