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Men’s Swimming

Notre Dame sweeps weekend competition at Dennis Stark Relays

| Monday, October 10, 2016

Notre Dame swept both the men’s and women’s competitions in a strong showing at the 52nd annual Dennis Stark Relays in Rolfs Aquatics Center over the weekend.

The Irish women’s team posted 154 points to receive first place and created space between them and second place Bowling Green, who tallied 98 points. The Notre Dame men’s team matched the women’s score of 154, securing them the top spot over runner-up Oakland (90 points).

The teams took first place in all of the 22 events on the day. The women’s squad set meet records in three events: the 3×100-meter butterfly, 3×100-meter breaststroke and 4×100-meter medley relay.

Irish head coach Mike Litzinger acknowledged that this team has continued to grow and improve since last season.

“We are a different team than we were a year ago, especially on the women’s side with an influx of 11 first-year student athletes,” he said. “I expect us to be much better than we were a year ago and I think that showed this weekend.”

Day Two of the Dennis Stark Relays brought more success for Notre Dame. The Irish men bested Oakland 175-107, while the women defeated Indiana State 179-81.

Representing the women’s squad, freshman Katie Smith earned first in all three of her events: 200-yard medley relay (1:41.95), 50-yard freestyle (23.00) and 100-yard freestyle (51.29). For the men, junior Robert Whitacre also won three of his events: the 200-yard medley relay (1:31.01), 100-yard backstroke (49.12) and 200-yard backstroke (1:46.48).

Litzinger said one unique feature of the weekend’s competition was the timing of the events and said the format will help prepare the team for future competition.

“We set [the meet] up for back to back competitions — Friday night and Saturday morning — on purpose because it duplicates what we’re going to face at the end of the year with the ACCs and the NCAAs,” he explains. “It causes us to have to refocus and reset pretty quickly.”

Litzinger also said he was proud of his squad for its performance in the weekend dual events.

“They stepped right into the role that we asked them to: to be aggressive and competitive and to not let a late night and early morning bother them,” Litzinger said.“They responded to the conditions that were presented and they certainly did what we asked for.”

The Irish head to Atlanta for a two-day ACC meet against Georgia Tech and Emory on Oct. 21. Litzinger said the ACC competition will introduce new hurdles and raise the stakes for his team.

“We’re going down to Georgia Tech for a two-day meet and they’ll be ready for us; they always swim well at home so it will present a different set of challenges on the road,” Litzinger said.“It’s going to be different going up against ACC competition. The stakes are certainly higher, the environment will definitely be more intense and the expectations will rise with that.”

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