Notre Dame to end hiatus with busy January weekend
Brenna Moxley | Tuesday, December 6, 2016
During winter break, the Irish will host Iowa and Illinois at Rolfs Aquatic Center on Jan. 12 and 13. The following afternoon, the squad will travel to Evanston, Illinois, to take on Northwestern.
Notre Dame is coming off the mid-November Greensboro Invitational, in which the team raced North Carolina State, North Carolina and Duke. The season has been going well for both the men (6-1) and the women (9-0), but when the team swims against Iowa and Illinois, it will be almost two months since their last competition. The Irish will be traveling to Naples, Florida, for two weeks to ensure that they are prepared after the long break, said sophomore swimmer David Stewart.
“We are going on a ‘training trip,’ meaning we will be training twice a day, every day, totaling about five hours per day while also building team camaraderie by spending time together and escaping the cold winter of South Bend,” Stewart said.
Irish head coach Mike Litzinger said the squad’s conditioning will be a major focus to prepare for the jam-packed weekend in January.
“What we’ve been doing right now is just revisiting some good hard base training and trying to make sure — as we head into the break — that we’ve got our great conditioning base back underneath us,” Litzinger said. “When we regroup again on the 27th, we want to see that people stay in shape and continue to progress forward.”
Litzinger said that his team will be fully ready going into the meet against Northwestern, even though it begins less than 24 hours after the competition against Iowa and Illinois concludes.
“This setup follows suit with everything else we have been doing this fall,” he said. “We want back-to-back competition — it helps us get ready for the ACC and the NCAA championships where you have to swim for a couple days hard in a row. I think it’s a really good test for the team: a meet at home, and then jump on the bus the next morning to go against Northwestern. It’ll be a lot of fun.”
Litzinger expects the opponents in the two meets will offer different challenges.
“We already saw Iowa once this year, which was unique and a different format but Iowa is a really strong program traditionally and Illinois is a women’s only program,” he said. “It will be a different schedule of events against them so we are looking forward to that competition. The big test will be the next day against Northwestern. Our program has a new coach, she’s in her second year on the women’s side, and our men are very, very strong – we’ll give it our best shot.”