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Notre Dame women place fifth in ACC championship

| Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The first half of the ACC championship — featuring women’s swimming and men’s and women’s diving — wrapped up in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Saturday after four days of competition.

The No. 19 Notre Dame women finished fifth, 11.5 points behind fourth place North Carolina, with five team records being set by swimmers. Meanwhile, the men’s swimming team, who will begin competition Wednesday, will be looking to build on their diving teammates accomplishments this past weekend — most notably senior Joe Cuomos’ second and fourth place finish in the 1-meter and 3-meter dives.

Emma Farnan | The Observer

Sophomore Carolyn Kammeyer swims in the Rolfs Aquatic center in a meet on Oct. 14, 2017.

Despite falling short of their goal to finish in the top four, head coach Mike Litzinger said he’s proud of the women’s team’s performance.

“The pundits picked us to finish eigth but we knew we were better than that,” he said.

The fifth place finish is also the highest ever for the women at the ACC championship since joining the conference prior to the 2013-2014 season.

Freshman Lindsay Stone’s fifth place 1,650-yard freestyle and her seventh place 500-yard freestyle, sophomore Abbie Dolan’s time of 48.36 seconds in the 100-yard freestyle, and junior Nicole Smith’s performance in the preliminary round of the 200-yard butterfly were all program records in addition to the 400-yard freestyle relay team, who took home fourth place.

The highest relay finish for the team was the 200-yard freestyle who took home third place.

Litzinger spoke highly of the freshmen showing in arguably one of the highest profile competitions of their careers.

“Having Carly Quast make the ‘A’ Final in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke, Lindsay Stone in the ‘A’ final of the 1,650-yard freestyle and Kelly Straub make the finals of the tower diving event was big for our program,” he said.

Staub’s qualification in tower diving was particularly notable considering Rolf’s Aquatic Center, the Notre Dame diving facility, doesn’t have a platform tower. This inconvenience makes it so the team to schedule occasional training trips to nearby universities.

Shifting his focus to the upcoming men’s swim meet, Litzinger said this past week provided his athletes with plenty of rest before dialing them into their pace work and getting them excited to race.

“We have some team goals as well as individual goals,” he said. “It’s important that we focus on racing for each other and performing like we have all season.”       

Once the men’s swimming competition concludes this Saturday the Irish will turn their eyes on the NCAA championship.

Litzinger said qualifying is a complex, two step process between the two specialties but he is confident that both teams will be well-represented.

“To qualify as a swimmer you have to be within the top 38 swimmers in the country,” he said. “For the women you have to consider the fact that there are still more conference meets and time trials to come this weekend.”

Litzinger said the team can expect the invitations to the championship should be released sometime next week.

The diving team will travel to Columbus, Ohio, to compete in the Zone Championship meet on March 8. They will advance to the NCAA championship based on those results.

Following zone qualification and formal invitations to divers and swimmers, qualifying members of the women’s team will return to Columbus for the third time this season for the NCAA championship, beginning March 14. The men’s national championship will be held the next weekend in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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