Notre Dame nearly sweeps season-opening relays
Ryan Klaus | Monday, October 12, 2015
Notre Dame opened its 2015-2016 season with a victory over the weekend at the Dennis Stark Relays, where the Irish defeated competitors Illinois State, Wright State, IUPUI and Olivet Nazarene.
Notre Dame won 11 of the 12 races Friday evening to finish with 240 points overall. Illinois State placed in second with 160 points and Wright State rounded out the top three with 118 points. IUPUI and Olivet Nazarene finished in fourth and fifth, respectively, with scores of 108 and 82.
Junior Catherine Mulquin contributed in Notre Dame’s first-place finishes in the 200-yard freestyle relay, 200- and 400-yard medley relays, and the 3 x 100-yard backstroke relay. Freshman Sophia Revilak also helped lead the Irish to a top finish in the 200 free and the 200 and 400 medley relays and was a part of Notre Dame’s first-place finish in the 3 x 100 butterfly relay with senior Catherine Galletti and fellow freshman Nicole Smith.
“Individually, you could look at Catherine Galletti, Catherine Mulquin, [freshman] Ella Moynihan, [junior] Danielle Margheret and [junior] Katie Miller,” Irish head coach Mike Litzinger said when asked about which swimmers impressed him the most. “But it was a relay meet, so the team stood out to me.”
Friday marked Litzinger’s first event as Notre Dame’s head coach after serving as an associate head coach at North Carolina since 2011. Litzinger has 14 combined years of head coaching experience in his career at Utah and St. Bonaventure.
“It is always great to start the year off with a win,” Litzinger said. “However, this win is meaningful as it is a Notre Dame team win. The staff, swimmers and divers all get credit for this weekend’s win. I like to believe that it is special simply because this is the first win for these women as team of the future. We have an idea of who we want to be later in the season, and this is a step toward that goal.”
The meet, which took place at Rolfs Aquatic Center, is one of four meets the Irish will host this season, and was one of four meets that Notre Dame compete in this month. The Irish will spend fall break training in Fort Myers, Florida, at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU). The break will culminate in a dual-meet against Florida Gulf Coast on Oct. 23.
“We need to work on our speed and confidence,” Litzinger said. “I knew we would see many things that we need to tighten up before FGCU, and we need to take advantage of the two weeks we have to prepare.”
Notre Dame will end its month competing against Big Ten opponents in two separate meets on the last weekend of October. The Irish will host Michigan State on Oct. 30 before traveling Purdue to participate in a triangle meet with Purdue and Ohio State on Halloween.