Irish dominate Cleveland State in regular-season finale
Sean Kilmer | Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Before they could start focusing on the upcoming ACC championships, Notre Dame defeated Cleveland State handily in the last meet of the regular season, winning 14 of 16 events en route to a 226-66 victory Saturday.
The win raised the Notre Dame’s record in dual meets to 6-6 and ensured the Irish finished above .500 at home (5-3) in coach Matt Tallman’s inaugural season.
Like last week, when senior John Nappi and the 800-yard freestyle relay team both broke pool records, an Irish athlete broke a record in the meet. Sophomore Joe Coumos’ time 409.27 score on the 3-meter springboard broke Eric Lex’s school record of 405.15, which was set in 2011. Notre Dame also took second through sixth in the 3-meter and added another top-three sweep in the 1-meter springboard.
To open the swimming portion of the meet, the Irish A relay team consisting of freshman Justin Plaschka, junior Bogac Ayhan, and seniors Cameron Miller and Zachary Stephens took first place in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:30.64. The B-team quartet of freshmen Robert Whitacre and Harlin Bessire, sophomore Reed Fujan and junior Andrew Jensen finished right behind the A team with a time of 1:33.78 seconds.
In the next event, freshman Richard Mannix, sophomore Tom Anderson and Miller placed first, second and third respectively in the 1,000-yard freestyle.
Cleveland State sophomore Philipp Sikatzki snagged one of the Vikings’ two wins on the day when he won the 50-yard freestyle in 20.79 seconds.
In the 100-yard backstroke, Whitacre led a sweep for the Irish, recording a time of 50.76 seconds. Freshman Benjamin Jany took second, and senior Broderick Kelley claimed third.
“I was pretty happy to get a win in the 100 back, and happy to get those points for the team,” Whitacre said. “I was also content with my time, which is right where it needs to be as we head into taper these next two weeks.”
Sophomore Trent Jackson notched his first win of the day when he took the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:08.36 as the lone Irish swimmer in the event, allowing Notre Dame to continue carrying momentum.
The Irish closed out the meet with a win in the 200-yard freestyle relay. The quartet of Plaschka and sophomores Jackson, Joseph Petrone and Kevin Bradley touched the wall first in 1:23.90.
“I think the meet went pretty well for everybody,” Plaschka said. “We all just wanted to get up and race one last time before we really set our minds on the ACC championships, and I think we did well there. For having to lift right before the meet, I think I did relatively well, and I’m pretty happy with my swims.”
The Irish will now set their sights on the ACC championships, and Whitacre shed some light on a swimmer’s mindset before the meet.
“Heading into a big meet like the ACC’s, it’s important to stay focused on the process of your race rather than the outcome. If you focus on the outcome, or what time you want to swim, it is very easy to get lost in all the hype and make a stupid mistake. Nevertheless, I am very excited to get down to Atlanta and see how we perform against the rest of the ACC.”
Diving events at the ACC championships run from Feb. 18 through Feb. 21, while the swimming events commence Feb. 25 and finish Feb. 28, with all events hosted by Georgia Tech in Atlanta.