Irish finish season at NCAA championships
Michael Ivey | Monday, March 21, 2016
Notre Dame finished its season this past weekend with four of its members competing at the NCAA championships at the Georgia Tech Campus Recreation Center in Atlanta.
Freshman Ella Moynihan, sophomore Annie Crea and seniors Emma Gaboury and Lindsey Streepey represented the Irish and competed against the top swimmers and divers in the country during the first two days of the championships. In the morning preliminary round for the 1-meter dive, Gaboury placed 38th and Streepey finished in 41st. Then, in the 3-meter dive Friday, Gaboury finished in 29th place while Crea placed 43rd. In the preliminary round of the 200-meter freestyle, Moynihan finished in 5oth place in the event and rounded out the weekend for the Irish.
Irish head coach Mike Litzinger said he knew some of his competitors would have to adjust mentally to compete against the top swimmers and divers in the country.
“The NCAA swimming & diving championships is one of the toughest meets in the world … period,” Litzinger said. “To get there takes a maximum effort, and once you are there, you have to adjust your mentality to realize you are among the elite in the country. To experience that, and come to terms with that, is exciting and a bit nerve wracking at the same time.”
Litzinger said he was pleased with the performance of his swimmers and divers in the NCAA championships, especially given their lack of experience.
“I was impressed by all of our women as it was everyone’s first NCAA’s,” Litzinger said. “For the seniors, it is their last competition, and I thought that they dove well. Annie is only a sophomore, so her experience is one that will lend itself to future performances. As for Ella, I really think she swam well as she qualified for two of the toughest events. … She too is a first year qualifier. … Experience is everything.”
Litzinger said he told his team after the meet how proud he was of them and how he hoped to keep building the program.
“I told them and [diving] coach Caiming Xie that I was proud of them,” Litzinger said. “It was truly a new season for everyone, and to finish with four qualifiers [for the NCAA championships] was a great achievement. Our task is now to look forward and continue to build the team into one where we will have relays and more individuals at the meet.”
Litzinger said his team’s overall performance on the year was strong in some ways but could be improved in others.
“Again, it was a new season for everyone,” Litzinger said. “A first year coaching staff, losing the most prolific swimmer in the school’s history [in Emma Reaney] and adding the men’s team halfway through the year. I would give us an A for coming together as a group, but a C in performance … and that is a tough grade, but I expect the best from everyone, including the coaching staff.”
When asked about the future, Litzinger said there are some key questions that need to be answered, and that he hopes his swimmers will use their experience this year to build on the future.
“The key is where do we go from here. … Do we stay combined or do we split?” Litzinger said. “That will determine how we truly move forward. Both groups have excellent recruiting classes coming in for the fall. Our women have one of the best [classes] in the country, and that will certainly help.
“However, the measure of our expectations lie in how we train this spring, how we develop our current freshman, sophomores and juniors. There is some tremendous talent there, and can they take what they have experienced this year and apply it?”
Notre Dame’s men’s squad finishes its season next weekend when it sends a few members to the men’s championships in Atlanta.