Irish set for Dennis Stark Relays, nonconference meets
Alex Bender | Wednesday, October 5, 2016
This weekend will be a busy one for Notre Dame, as it prepares to host a pair of meets this weekend at home in Rolfs Aquatic Center.
Both the men’s and women’s squads, which are combined as one unit for the first time since 1995, come into this upcoming weekend having defeated both Michigan State and Iowa last Friday in East Lansing, Michigan. The meet last week proved to be unique as the events were swum outdoors and in a 50-meter Olympic pool.
Following the meet, Irish head coach Mike Litzinger said he was pleased with both the men’s and women’s teams performances.
“Both teams took the opportunity to race,” said Litzinger. “While this seems elementary, it is critical that we control and match up whenever possible. The groups worked hard at that skill and will continue to practice it this weekend.”
This weekend, the team kicks off competition with yet another unusual event Friday in the 52nd annual Dennis Stark Relays, an event named in honor of the first head coach of both teams. The event, started in 1964, is made up entirely of swimming relays with a few diving events as well. The team will be competing against a number of teams in the event, such as Oakland, IUPUI, Indiana State, Bowling Green and Wright State.
Coming into this event, Litzinger said he recognizes the team has to be in the right mindset if they are to succeed, and he believes the team is up to the challenge.
“We love racing at home, and I think it will be exciting,” Litzinger said. “Our mindset is simply to win, to race and to execute our race strategy.”
In addition to the event Friday, the men’s squad will take on Oakland while the women’s team will race against Indiana State on Saturday. These events are independent of the Dennis Stark Relay and will be run as standard meets. At this early stage in the year, building confidence from strong performances can be crucial in getting a team off to the right start and put them on track for a successful season, according to Litzinger. He said he sees this weekend as a great opportunity for the swimmers to continue to get more races under their belt and grow more accustomed to the competition they will be facing throughout the remainder of this season.
“Again, this a great way to get into racing form, especially with back-to-back meets like this,” Litzinger said. “The relay format allows us to get multiple swims in and puts more of our athletes in competitive situations.”
Looking beyond this weekend, Notre Dame will see a break in its schedule of events due to fall break before heading off to Atlanta in two weekends to take on Georgia Tech. For this weekend, however, action kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday with the 52nd annual Dennis Stark Relays. Both the men’s and women’s meets scheduled for Saturday start at 11 a.m. Both days’ events will take place at Rolfs Aquatic Center.