Irish ready to make splash at ACCs
Mike Ginocchio | Tuesday, February 24, 2015
With NCAAs around the corner, the Irish travel to Atlanta for the ACC championships. The week-long tournament begins Wednesday and runs through Saturday. The Irish will be right in the middle of the ACC competition, looking to finish strong in the tournament and send individuals to the NCAA championship later this year.
Irish coach Matt Tallman said he is looking forward to the tournament after a busy regular season.
“I think that everyone’s excited,” Tallman said. “We haven’t rested yet this year and they’re excited to be at the most important meet of the season and swim fast when it matters most.”
In addition to wanting to finish strong in the ACCs, the Irish will look to send several racers to the NCAA championships. Tallman said several of his swimmers could hit the mark.
“We have quite a few guys that are capable of making NCAAs,” Tallman said. “We’d love to see [senior] Zach Stephens enhance his qualifying times. [Senior] John Williamson, [sophomore] Tommy Anderson [and senior] Cameron Miller are all more than capable of making the meet. John and Cameron have been there before; they’ve all been there for relay purposes.”
In addition to the experienced group, Tallman also has high opinions of some of his freshman swimmers, he said.
“Justin Plaschka [and] Rob Whitacre for sure [can qualify],” Tallman said. “[With them] being new to the league, we’re just anxious to see them step up when the spotlight’s on and see how well they can do.”
Tallman said he was hopeful that the veteran swimmers who have qualified for the NCAAs in the past will provide crucial experience to the team.
“Last year was an eye-opening experience to us,” Tallman said. “[The ACC is] the fastest league in the country, and coming from the Big East it was eye-opening, like I said. Hopefully that experience can help them pass some info down to the freshmen on what to expect, and that’ll help the preliminary sessions for us to be a little bit better than they were a year ago.”
In the end, Tallman said he is optimistic that the Irish can make an impact as a team as well as individually despite the challenge of ACC opponents.
“I think it’s the deepest conference in the country, and I think we have as good a shot as anybody to put up some big numbers and get a lot of guys to the NCAAs,” Tallman said. “As far as the team race goes, it’s kind of out of our hands at this point. I’m not sure where we’ll finish, I just know that it’ll be that good of a meet.”
Notre Dame returns to action Wednesday at the ACC championships in Atlanta. The tournament concludes Saturday.