After record-breaking weekend, Irish prepare for next home test
Mia Berry | Wednesday, October 11, 2017
The No.17 men’s team and the No. 25 women’s team will look to knock off their second ranked opponent Friday when they face off against the Michigan State Spartans and the 15th-ranked men and the fifth-ranked women of Texas A&M.
After a second-place finish in the Dennis Stark Relays and a sweeping victory over the seventh–ranked men and the ninth-ranked Louisville women last weekend — the first time the program has ever defeated a top-ten team in a dual meet — the Irish have started the season in great fashion. For head coach Mike Litzinger, Notre Dame’s hard work this offseason is proof of the success so far, but the only way is up from now on.
“Heading into the season, I think we talked a lot about potential and we projected ahead a lot about future vision, and I think we all know we’re just scratching the surface of what we’re capable together as a team,” Litzinger said. “All credit goes to our athletes for being receptive and trusting our coaches and moving forward with the groundwork we’ve laid down for them.”
The Irish made history again on Tuesday, as freshman Zach Yeadon and sophomore Abbie Dolan became the first swimmers in program history to be named national swimmers of the week by CollegeSwimming.com. Yeadon broke two Rolfs Aquatic Center records in his performances this past weekend in the 500 and 1000-yard freestyle, while Dolan won four events, including the 100 and 200-yard freestyle over Louisville’s Mallory Comerford, who won gold at FINA World Championships this past summer.
Although proud of his team’s accomplishment last week, Litzinger insisted that the focus is now shifted in preparation for both the Spartans and the Aggies.
“I think the message is pretty clear we enjoyed a weekend of great swimming together and moving on down the road quickly, that was yesterday’s news,” he said. “Now it’s time to get back to work and take a good look at Texas A&M and Michigan State, and see what we can do against both of those teams.”
For the Irish to prepare successfully, both for the upcoming meet and throughout the season, Litzinger said the key was for the team to keep every opportunity to train in perspective of the postseason.
“We’re going to continue to train and build momentum through and towards the ACC championships and NCAA championships,” he said. “What we’re going to do is take a look at our performances from last week, talk about race strategy and how did we execute each race relay and try to try fix the little spots. But at the end of the day, they’re the ones that have to execute.”
Just like last weekend, Litzinger believes fans are in for another great matchup in their dual meet Saturday against the Aggies.
“Texas A&M women finished fourth at NCAAs last year, and the men are an up-and-coming program like our guys, so I think it’s going to be another great weekend of swimming,” he said.
Moving forward into their third meet of a six-meet home stretch, Litzinger hopes the Irish can start off the season strong in their own pool.
“We know the layout, we have a routine down and we’re in our comfort zone,” he said. “I think our kids are more relaxed at home, and swim faster.”
The Irish will face both Michigan and Texas A&M on Friday at 5 p.m., and the Aggies will stick around and face the again Irish Saturday morning in a dual meet at 11 a.m. Both meets will held be at Rolf’s Aquatic Center