Youth lead Irish in collecting records
Brenna Moxley | Friday, May 19, 2017
The No. 24 Irish started their season on a strong note, taking fourth at their first invitational of the year in Greensboro, North Carolina, where the 200-meter freestyle relay team broke the oldest school relay record.
That team was made of freshman Katie Smith, freshman Abbie Dolan, sophomore Sofia Revilak and senior Catherine Mulquin.
The squad had a strong fall, going into the Invitational with a perfect record. It traveled to Naples, Florida, over winter break to help shake off the rust before the upcoming meets, since it had been nearly two months since the team’s last competition. Towards the end of the break, the Irish returned home and swiftly topped both Illinois and Iowa.
The meet against Northwestern occurred less than 24 hours after the meets against Iowa and Illinois concluded. However, the squad proved victorious when it beat the Wildcats. Notre Dame fell the following Friday when the it lost to Louisville in its first ACC matchup of the season, but it soon bounced back with a victory over IUPUI.
The women’s squad was edged out by No. 12 Wisconsin in a highly competitive matchup at the Shamrock Invitational — the final home meet for the seniors. Then, the women defeated Ball State on the road. Up next for the Irish was the Ohio State Invitational, in which senior Molly Barry picked up a major win for the Irish in the 500-meter freestyle.
Irish head coach Mike Litzinger brought 17 swimmers and two divers with him to Atlanta for the ACC championships. He named standouts Dolan, Mulquin and sophomore Alice Treuth as swimmers vital for the team’s success in the meet. The women took seventh place and surpassed school records in four relays: the 400-meter freestyle, 200-meter freestyle, 200-meter medley and 800-meter freestyle.
Four individual schools records were set: the 100-meter backstroke, 100-meter freestyle, 200-meter freestyle and 100-meter butterfly. Litzinger was proud of the growth the team showed this season.
“It was a tremendous improvement,” he said. “We went 11-2 in dual meets and qualified 10 individuals for the NCAAs, which is a huge turnaround from one last year. We are making great strides and the women are doing what it takes to get to the highest level. I am really excited about our future.”
The team competed at the NCAA championships and brought nine women to compete in four relays. Litzinger named said Mulquin was the star of the championships for the Irish.
“The standout performer at NCAAs was Catherine Mulquin, who was All-American in the 100-[meter] backstroke — a huge honor for her,” he noted. “All in all, the women set 11 Irish records this year and it was an exciting year all around.”
Freshmen and sophomores set eight of those school records, but Litzinger said he was also impressed by the roles the senior women took on.
“Our senior women have been through two coaching changes and stuck through it,” Litzinger said. “They did a tremendous job making adjustments and helping guide our program.”