Irish put together landmark all-around season
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, May 18, 2018
Notre Dame completed a historic season this past fall and winter, culminating in program-best 23rd-place team finish at the NCAA championship meet in March. The Irish put together strong performances all season, receiving output from veterans and young talent alike.
On October 7, the Irish opened the dual-meet season at home with a bang, defeating No. 7 Louisville by a score of 153.5-146.5. Notre Dame picked up eight event wins, including two from freshman distance swimmer Zach Yeadon.
In his collegiate debut, Yeadon set new pool records in both the 500-yard freestyle and the 1,000-yard freestyle against Louisville.
The Irish picked up wins against Michigan State, Georgia Tech and No. 23 Purdue to close out a successful October. In November, Notre Dame scored another dual-meet win against Cincinnati and picked up a third-place team finish at Ohio State’s highly-contested Fall Invitational in mid-November.
After a break from competition in December, the Irish opened the second half of the season in January with the same intensity they had exhibited in the fall. Yeadon, senior sprinter Justin Plaschka and senior backstroker Rob Whitacre continued to put forth the production necessary to have the Irish keep winning dual meets. Notre Dame would score victories against Iowa, Illinois, No. 20 Florida State, Ball State and Green Bay to finish 9-2 in regular-season competition.
At the ACC championships in February, the Irish fought their way to a fourth-place team finish. Yeadon earned silver in the 1,650-yard freestyle, breaking the team record in the process. Whitacre followed suit, finishing as the runner-up in 200-yard backstroke while also posting a new team record in the event.
Two weeks later, senior diver Joe Coumos placed fourth at the Zone C Diving championships after posting 754.15 points on the 3-meter board. Coumos’ top-10 finish earned him a spot in the NCAA championship meet.
The Irish would shine at the national meet, held from March 21-24 in Minneapolis. Led by Yeadon’s fourth-place finish in the 1,650-yard freestyle, Notre Dame picked up four top-20 finishes. Yeadon won First-Team All-American honors with his performance.
Along with his top-five finish, Yeadon earned 10th overall in the 500-yard freestyle. Meanwhile, Coumos picked up 14th place in the 1-meter diving and the 200-yard medley relay of Plaschka, Whitacre, juniors Steven Shek and Daniel Speers earned 15th place. Coumos and the relay team were both named Honorable Mention All-American.
With a strong recruiting class next year, Notre Dame men’s swimming and diving will be looking to build on its success.