Squad sets records, competes at NCAA championships
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, May 18, 2018
Led by a core of talented athletes, Notre Dame put together a dominant dual-meet campaign this season and performed well in the postseason.
Ranked No. 25 nationally to begin the season, the Irish picked up a big win against No. 9 Louisville in their first meet of the year. Besting the favored Cardinals by a convincing score of 181.5-118.5, Notre Dame set the tone for a dual-meet season that would only see one loss. The Irish won 12 of 16 events on the day, including three individual wins from sophomore Abbie Dolan in the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle and 200-yard freestyle.
In addition to the women’s victory, the men also got the win over the Cardinals, marking the first time in school history that both Notre Dame teams have beaten a top-10 program in the same meet.
Dolan earned collegeswimming.com’s National Swimmer of the Week Award after her performance, and would go on to be named ACC Swimmer of the Week a month later.
The lone Irish defeat of the season came against No. 5 Texas A&M on October 14. Notre Dame knocked off its next four opponents going into the December break, including No. 9 Indiana and No. 16 Purdue. Dolan continued to succeed against the Hoosiers, swimming alongside sophomore Katie Smith and freshmen Rachel Wittmer and Carly Quast to pick up first place in the 200-yard freestyle relay.
The Irish wrapped up the first half of the season at the Ohio State Fall Open Invitational, placing third overall amidst a packed field of teams from across the country.
The Irish appeared strong coming out the break. Notre Dame was unbeaten in dual meets in the second half of the season, defeating Illinois, Iowa, No. 25 Florida State, Ball State and Green Bay. The Irish finished one-on-one competition with a nearly-unblemished record of 11-1.
At the Shamrock Invitational in January, the Irish bested four opponents to earn first place overall. Freshman distance swimmer Lindsay Stone set a new pool record in the 1,650-yard freestyle with a time of 16:12.78, while the 400-yard freestyle relay squad of Dolan, Quast, freshman Skylar Fore and junior Sofia Revilak also broke a pool record. The Irish relay team finished with a time of 3:17.05.
Notre Dame went on to finish fifth overall at the ACC championship meet, setting five new team records in the process. Stone earned the best times in school history in the 1,650 and 500-yard freestyle events, as well as setting a school record for the fastest 1,000-yard split in that 1,650-yard race. Meanwhile, junior Nikki Smith broke the school record in the 200-yard butterfly while Dolan bested her own program record in the 100-yard freestyle and combined again with Quast, Fore and Revilak to break the team record in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
At the NCAA championship meet, Notre Dame placed 41st overall as a team. Dolan, Quast, Revilak and sophomore Lauren Heller combined to place 15th in the 400 freestyle-yard relay, earning Honorable Mention All-American honors in the process.