Irish pick up key wins in season opener
Mike Everett | Thursday, October 11, 2018
Setting the tone for the level of competition the expect to face this season, No. 19 Notre Dame had a strong showing against three top-25 teams in their first meet of the season in Bloomington, Indiana, on Wednesday. Taking on hosting Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri, the Irish participated in a series of three separate dual meets against each school.
The women’s team could not have asked for a better turnout, going undefeated on all fronts, winning or tying all of its meets. It beat No. 12 Kentucky 172.5 – 127.5, beat No. 20 Missouri 211.5 – 88.5 and tied No. 9 Indiana 150 – 150. Head coach Mike Litzinger commented on the women’s performance.
“Us tying Indiana, which is a nationally-ranked team, is certainly an accomplishment,” head coach Mike Litzinger said. “We feel real good about our performances and our ability to compete … for our first meet out the gate, not too bad.”
Highlighting this strong showing, five members of the Irish team recorded first place finishes in seven events. Junior Abbie Dolan’s first place finish in the 100 and 200-yard freestyle races. Joining her as an individual champion, sophomore Lindsay Stone was first to touch the wall in the 1,000-yard freestyle with a time of 9:54.82, followed closely by freshman Sinead Eksteen who finished fifth. Another strong collegiate debut came from freshman Luciana Thomas who clocked in a 1:59.31 to take first in the 200-yard butterfly. In the 200-yard backstroke, the Irish earned three top-five times, led by freshman Bailey Stewart. One of the tightest races for the Irish came in the 200-yard breaststroke where freshmen Sammie Eyolfson and Sarah Nicholls and senior Meaghan O’Donnell finished 1.1 seconds apart to take seventh, eighth and 12-place, respectively. Rounding out the individual accomplishments, sophomore diver Kelly Straub won the one-meter dive with a point total of 145.5.
The men’s team wasn’t so lucky, dropping all three duals. After losing a close fight to the Wildcats 154.5 – 143.5, the Irish were unable to regain their footing, loosing to both Missouri 189 – 111 and Indiana 213 – 87.
“On the men’s side we dropped all three of our contests,” Litzinger said. “ … It wasn’t we wanted to happen, but we have a very young group of guys that are still learning how to swim at a college level and we have a lot of potential … and we had couple of really good performances, we had a couple of freshman step forward and do a good job in their events.”
Zach Yeadon won the 500 and 1,000-yard freestyle events. The sophomore’s performance was an extension of his breakout season last year where he posted the best finish for the men’s program at the NCAA championships.
“Zach Yeadon did a fantastic job, he is an elite swimmer and he proved that today winning both of his events,” Litzinger said.
Yeadon finished the 1,000-yard freestyle with a time of 9:00.25, besting the nearest competitor by 13 seconds. Yeadon also won the 500-yard in 4:23.82, with sophomore Sadler McKeen and freshman Max Miranda coming in fifth and seventh, respectively.
With the season officially kicked off, the Irish will have their next meet on Oct. 20, as they travel to Georgia Tech to participate in a duel meet against the Yellow Jackets.