ND swimming and diving remains undefeated
Brenna Moxley | Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Notre Dame remained undefeated on the season after the men’s victory over Purdue and the women’s wins against Miami, Rutgers and Purdue on Friday night at Rolfs Aquatic Center.
The men had not topped Purdue since the 2012-13 season, while the women had not bested the Boilermakers since 2008-09. Irish head coach Mike Litzinger said he was pleased with the outcome, particularly given how the Irish have improved since last season when the result was quite different.
“Last year, in my first year as head coach, we lost pretty badly to Purdue,” Litzinger said. “It was great to see both teams come out on top against Purdue, as well as the women dominating both ACC and Big Ten competition in Miami and Rutgers. It was nice to be back at home — we had a lot of alumni and family at the meet celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Monogram Club, so it was a fun night. It’s exciting to see the improvement so far this season.”
After finishing in 1:47.14, freshman Abbie Dolan took first place in the 200-meter freestyle and also secured a new Rolfs Aquatic Center pool record. Litzinger said he wasn’t surprised by Dolan’s success Friday.
“We knew Abbie could break this record. She had come close before in our first meet, so she was striving for it,” he said. “That moment was exciting for the whole team, but especially for Abbie. She had been working extremely hard, and it is great to see an athlete be successful so early on in their college career.”
Irish freshman Lauren Heller, sophomore Kyra Sarazen and freshman Reilly Lanigan followed Dolan by placing third, fourth and fifth in the event, respectively. Heller’s time of 1:49.41 also marked a top-10 performance in the 200-meter freestyle in Notre Dame’s history.
Notre Dame had strong performances in many other events as well, including the women’s 50-meter freestyle, in which freshman Katie Smith posted a 22.69, giving her an NCAA ‘B’ time and the third-best time ever posted in the event by a Notre Dame swimmer.
On the men’s side, sophomore Matthew Grauslys came in first in the 200-meter butterfly with a time of 1:50.59. Senior Kevin Bradley was not far behind his teammate, finishing in second in the event. Bradley also helped the men sweep the 200-meter individual medley along with freshman Aaron Schultz and junior Rob Whitacre.
Five women earned NCAA ‘B’ qualifying times, with freshman Abbie Dolan doing so in two events, the 100- and 200-meter freestyle events. Two men also posted ‘B’ qualifying times: junior Justin Plaschka in the 50-meter freestyle and sophomore Tabahn Afrik in the 100-meter freestyle.
In diving, freshman Erin Isola led the Irish women with 261.90 points. Rutgers junior Addison Walkowiak won the event on that side, however, with 293.45 points. The Irish men were guided by senior Joe Coumos with 312.10 points, which was good for fourth place. Olympian silver medalist Steele Johnson of Purdue won this event after posting 408.55 points.
“Training was very difficult the week prior to this meet, and the team has been working hard both in the pool and in staying on track as students,” Litzinger said. “Our team responded very well to the challenge that this meet brought, and we are hoping to carry this success into the remainder of the season as well as the ACC championships in February. We still have that much more time to continue working and improving as a team.”
Notre Dame next faces Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech on Friday and Saturday at Trees Pool in Pittsburgh.