Swimming & Diving
Irish squads fall just short of first in Dennis Stark Relays
Observer Sports Staff | Monday, October 9, 2017
The No. 17 men’s team and No. 25 women’s team opened their seasons for the Irish this past weekend, finishing second in the Dennis Stark Relays to the No. 7 men and No. 9 women’s teams of Louisville on Friday, but bouncing back to defeat the Cardinals in the first dual meet of the season on Saturday.
Coming off of one of the best seasons in program history, Notre Dame’s hope of starting the season strong with a win fell just short in its opening meet. In the 54th Dennis Stark relays, named in honor of the program’s first coach, Louisville reigned supreme for both men’s and women’s teams in the clash between the ACC rivals.
The Louisville’s men narrowly beat out the Irish 130-128 and the Cardinals women’s team beat out the women’s team 134-130. Despite the loss to Louisville, the Irish won 10 out of 22 events, and broke six meet relay records including: the men’s and women’s 300-yard breaststroke relay, the women’s 1500-yard freestyle relay, men’s 200-yard freestyle relay, and the men’s and women’s 400-yard freestyle relays. In addition to relays, sophomore Abbie Dolan etched her name into the Rolf Aquatic Center record books with her 1:46.69 leg of the Irish’s 800-yard freestyle. The Irish weren’t the only team in attendance to break meet records as Louisville sophomore and the 2016 ACC Freshman of the Year Mallory Comerford swam her leg of the 300-yard butterfly relay in 52.96 seconds.
After finishing second on Friday night, the Irish got their revenge Saturday morning when both the men’s and women’s team knocked off the Cardinals. In the dual meet, the Irish broke away winning 20 out of 32 events, beating the Cardinals 153.5-146.5 on the men’s side and 181.5- 118.5 women’s side.
Multiple event winners for the Irish included senior Justin Plaschka (50-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly), senior Rob Whitacre (100-yard and 200-yard backstroke), sophomore Abbie Dolan (50-yard free, 100-yard free, and 200-yard free), junior Meaghan O’Donnell (100-yard breast stroke) and sophomore Erin Sheehan (100-yard butterfly). The Irish also won the women’s 200-medley relay and the women’s 400-freestyle relay.
In addition to the upperclassmen, there were also freshmen that stood out and performed for the Irish in their debut meets. Standout freshman for the Irish included Zachary Yeadon and Lindsay Stone. In his collegiate debut, Yeadon broke two records and won the 500-yard and 1000-yard freestyle against Louisville’s All-American Marcelo Acosta. Stone won the 500-yard and 1000-yard freestyles with times of 4:50.07 and 9:51.48 respectively.
The Irish will next face off against Michigan State and the 15th-ranked men and fifth-ranked women of Texas A&M at home this Friday, with the Aggies sticking around on Saturday for a dual-meet.