Irish set to begin 2018-19 campaign
Ryan Kolakowski | Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Notre Dame will know right away where they fit on the national landscape when they travel to Bloomington, Indiana, on Wednesday morning.
The Irish will meet Indiana University, the University of Missouri and the University of Kentucky for their first dual meet of the year. The men’s and women’s teams for all three opponents finished ranked in the top 25 or received votes in the final CSCAA Coaches Rankings a season ago.
The meet in Bloomington consists of three different meets in which the Irish will take on Kentucky, Missouri and Indiana.
Irish head coach Mike Litzinger said his team is prepared for such tough competition out of the gates this season.
“This is our first meet, and we have a very young team on the men’s side, and a pretty seasoned team on the women’s side,” Litzinger said. “I’m looking for us to step up and compete.”
The men’s and women’s teams both finished last season with a No. 19 ranking. The men’s team, led by a senior class of only five student-athletes, features talented young swimmers Marton Barta and Zach Yeadon.
Yeadon, a sophomore from San Antonio, Texas, is coming off a breakout season that saw him claim Notre Dame men’s swimming’s Most Valuable Swimmer. Yeadon set program records in the 500, 1,000 and 1,650-yard freestyle events a season ago.
“He’ll be one of the favorites to win [the 1,650] this year,” Litzinger said of Yeadon. “Zach always will have the ability to dominate.”
Barta, a freshman from Szombathely, Hungary, has had international success at the European Youth Olympic Games and the European Junior Championships. He leads a group of 10 freshmen for the men’s side.
“We do have some very talented freshmen,” Litzinger said. “It’s going to be interesting to see how they react in their first college dual meet.”
The five seniors on the men’s side have been with Litzinger since his first season at Notre Dame in 2015, and the Irish head coach said they have been pivotal to bringing the program to its current level of success.
“I think what they’ve done is they’ve seen a great transition of our team since I took over three years ago,” he said. “We’ve changed the culture, the attitude and certainly the competitiveness, and that’s been a lot of fun. They’ve been at the forefront of that change.”
On the women’s side, a veteran core and a balanced team will challenge top-flight competition Wednesday. The Irish retained eight seniors on the women’s team from last year, and Litzinger expects that experience to be of benefit in their first meet.
“We did beat Indiana last year in the dual meet, so I expect them to be ready for us and give us a great opportunity to race,” Litzinger said.
Litzinger pointed to senior Alice Treuth as a swimmer to watch for in the first meet of the year.
Treuth, a native of Salisbury, Maryland, has competed in the ACC Championships in each of the last two seasons. She took sixth in the 200 backstroke at the 2018 ACC Championships and competed in the NCAA Division I Women’s championships a season ago. She was recently named one of three team captains on the women’s side, in addition to classmates Meaghan O’Donnell and Kyra Sarazen.
The 16-event meet will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday. The solid lineup of competitors will quickly show the Irish where they fit in the national swimming and diving picture.