ND Swimming and Diving;
Brenna Moxley | Monday, February 20, 2017
Notre Dame placed seventh in the ACC women’s swimming and diving championships, which took place last Monday through Thursday in Atlanta.
The women broke school records in four relays: the 400-yard freestyle relay, the 200-yard freestyle relay, the 200-yard medley relay and the 800-yard freestyle relay. They also beat four individual schools records for the 100-yard backstroke, 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly. On top of this, the men’s diving team claimed first place in the 1-meter ACC championship after junior Joe Coumos scored a 420.00. Cuomos’ performance marked Notre Dame’s first-ever ACC championship medal for diving.
Irish head coach Mike Litzinger spoke about the contrast between last year’s team and the newly self-assured squad.
“It was a great week for our women,” Litzinger said. “A year ago we were very unsure of ourselves and not super confident about where we stood in the league and where we stood with ourselves, seeing that there was a coaching change. I can tell you without a doubt it was a great effort by our women, we had a lot of fun, and we swam really fast. I haven’t been part of a group that has swum that fast collectively in a long, long time so I am very proud of them.”
Litzinger spoke about Coumos’ performance, which helped the Irish take home their first-ever ACC championship medal, saying the Tomball, Texas, native helped make history for Notre Dame.
“We were in an odd situation with the men’s divers competing during the women’s meet because the focus is naturally on the women due to them participating in the bulk of the events,” Litzinger explained. “Last year, Joe redshirted and we were a little low on the diving end of things, but to have such a great start to the men’s meet this year with Joe winning and being the first ACC champion ever in Notre Dame’s men’s swimming program really got the momentum started for us and we are thrilled.”
Litzinger emphasized the importance of eight school records being broken by mostly freshmen and sophomores as well, saying their experience should yield positive results in the future.
“The women setting those records are freshmen and sophomores and that is really important for our program — it means we have a huge future ahead of us,” Litzinger said. “[Freshman] Abbie Dolan set two of those records and Erin Sheehan, who is a freshman as well, really came out of nowhere to get third in the 100 butterfly. I knew she was set up to do something special, but I didn’t know how special it was going to be and it turned out to be really special. Now it’s on to the NCAA championships and we’ll see where we go from there.”
Next up for the Irish women is the NCAA championship meet the week of March 15. Litzinger said the team will be able to take nine women to the competition based on qualifying times.
“They take the top 38 women in each event,” Litzinger explained. “We made all of our relay cuts so we will be swimming in four out of the five relays at the NCAAs, which is really exciting. Any way you slice it, we will be taking nine women to the NCAA meet.”
The men will compete in the ACC championships in Atlanta next week, while the women visit Indianapolis for the NCAA championships March 15-18.