Notre Dame looks to carry momentum to NCAA championships
Michael Ivey | Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Notre Dame is set to compete in the NCAA championships this weekend at the Georgia Tech Campus Recreation Center in Atlanta, Georgia. The three-day event will begin Thursday and conclude this Saturday.
The last time the Irish were in action was at last month’s ACC championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, North Carolina, where the Irish finished in seventh place in the overall standings with 678 total points. The 400-yard freestyle relay team of sophomore Justin Plaschka, junior Reed Fujan, and freshmen Daniel Speers and Tabahn Afrik qualified for the NCAA championships after finishing in second place with a time of 2:52.18, a Notre Dame school record.
Head coach Mike Litzinger acknowledged the best swimmers in the country will be at the meet and said his swimmers need to be ready for new challenges that await them.
“The NCAA championships is the pinnacle of our sport on the collegiate level,” Litzinger said. “It certainly is the fast short-course meet in the world, and our men have to be ready for that challenge.”
Litzinger said he thinks Plaschka will be a swimmer to keep an eye on because of his past experience at the NCAA championships.
“I believe that Justin is ready for his individual events,” Litzinger said. “Last season, he was just a relay qualifier. Now as an individual qualifier, I am hoping he can take his experience from 2015 and use it wisely.”
Litzinger said his team will not be focusing on one single opponent at the meet this weekend given all the talent that will be present, and he hopes his team will be able to score points in early events to put them in a strong position to succeed.
“As for our 400-yard freestyle relay, and all of our free relays [200-yard, 400 and 800-yard], I am looking forward to our team racing the field,” Litzinger said. “There isn’t one particular team that we are focused on, but an opportunity to score in relay events means double points, and that can take you a long way in the NCAA championships.”
The Irish will hit the pool in Atlanta starting Thursday with their eyes on success at the NCAAs.