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Swimming and Diving

Notre Dame looks to remain unbeaten against Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech

| Friday, November 4, 2016

This weekend in Pittsburgh, Notre Dame will look to stay undefeated when it takes on a pair off ACC foes, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech.

The Irish are coming off big wins last weekend at Rolfs Aquatic Center, as the men defeated Purdue in a head-to-head matchup and the women took down Miami and Rutgers in addition to the Boilermakers. The combined program has seen success on both sides, as the men and women are currently ranked Nos. 16 and 24, respectively. Head coach Mike Litzinger credits his team and their readiness for the early success.

“I’m certainly very proud of what the team has done so far,” Litzinger said. “While it is relatively early in the season, they are proving to be focused, coachable and they’re happy every day, and that means a lot when they come to practice ready for everything the coaching staff throws at them. It’s been a joy.”

The team has a significantly different look this season than in years’ past, as it is a combined program for the first time since 1995. Last year, the team was combined during the middle of season, an adjustment that was certainly difficult to make on the fly for Litzinger and his staff, he said.

“I think the biggest key is that we have the right coaches coaching the right training groups with speed, middle distance and distance, allowing us to focus on specialty, and it’s easier than when we started off as a combined program last year mid-season,” Litzinger said. “The team is buying in, and it’s a big thing that they believe in us and we believe in them. It builds confidence and excitement for the program.”

Looking forward to this weekend, Notre Dame will be facing its toughest competition yet, as Litzinger said the schedule this year is more grueling than in recent seasons and is set to get tougher as the year goes on. Ahead of the new challenge, Litzinger is looking forward to another opportunity for his team to show what they’re made of, he added.

“The whole point of the schedule we have is to ramp up competition every week, and this is by far our toughest competition so far as we continually prep for ACCs and NCAAs,” said Litzinger. “I expect Virginia Tech and Pitt, who are both good teams, to give us their best. I think we’re walking into a highly competitive situation, and it’s exciting.”

While all of these meets do help the team prepare for ACCs and NCAAs with the ultimate goal of being successful at those events, the team does have a fairly big competition coming up next week in North Carolina at the Greensboro Invitational. With a large number of schools participating in the event, the Irish will have a chance to put their talent on display, and Litzinger said is excited for the opportunity. As such, this weekend’s meet is being viewed by the team as a good opportunity to prepare for the invitational, he added.

“It’s familiarity with ACC opponents and, more so, another opportunity to race in the evening and turn around and improve in the morning,” Litzinger said. “In swimming and diving, you’re asked to perform highly, so it’s important that we practice and go through our mechanics as we get prepare for our next performance, and it serves as a great rehearsal.”

The meet this weekend will take place over Friday and Saturday, with competition getting under way at 5 p.m. Friday.

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