Irish set pool records at Shamrock Invitational
Observer Staff Report | Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Notre Dame put on a show this past weekend at the Shamrock Invitational, setting several pool records on its way to a second-place finish on the men’s side and a first-place finish by the women.
The Irish got off to a strong start with sophomore Carly Quast earning a pool record in the 100-yard backstroke lead-off leg of the 400-yard medley relay, which also set a pool record with a time of 3:34.98. Quast’s time of 52.6 was bested by only junior Abbie Dolan, who anchored the first-place team. The men, however, fell just short of sweeping that same event, losing to Ohio State by less than half a second.
Perhaps the strongest showing from the first round of competition for the Irish came from the women’s 50-yard freestyle where they nearly swept the event, taking four of the top five spots. Junior Katie Smith touched the wall first with a time of 23.09, followed by sophomore Cailey Grunhard, junior Kelly Jacob and sophomore Rachel Wittmer, who finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
Returning to the pool later that day, the women managed to extend their lead while the men closed the gap on No. 10 Ohio State starting with the 800-yard freestyle relay, where the Irish claimed gold on both sides of the competition. While the women, featuring the quartet of Dolan, freshman Sinead Eksteen, junior Lauren Heller and senior Kyra Sarazen, bested their nearest competition, Akron, by nearly five seconds, the men delivered a dominant performance, finishing over 10 seconds ahead of Iowa. All four men finished their leg under 1:36, led by sophomore anchor Sadler McKeen who clocked in at 1:34.9. Both of these races set new pool records.
Adding on the Irish awards, freshman Marton Barta and sophomore Zach Yeadon — two staples of the men’s program — both took home individual first places. Barta won the 400-yard individual medley while Yeadon hit the wall first in three individual events — the 1,650-yard freestyle, the 500-yard freestyle and the 200-yard freestyle — reinforcing his reputation as one of the premier distance swimmers in the country.
Saturday proved to be more of the same as both teams put on impressive performances in their final round of competition. Eksteen opened the day with a first-place finish in her preliminary heat of the 1,650-yard swim. Following a service to honor the senior class, the finals took off with Eksteen taking second behind teammate sophomore Lindsay Stone, who finished in a pool-best time of 16:12.40. Those two set the pace in a field where Notre Dame dominated, as the Irish claimed the next three spots as well.
Further down the pool at the diving platform, junior Erin Isola led the team in the 1-meter competition and freshman Austin Flaute finished fifth on the 3-meter with the highest place finish for the men.
The Irish women were able to retain their lead, beating Akron 1,191.5—960.5. Meanwhile, the men were unable to pass the Buckeyes, losing 1,397—826.5.
With three weeks remaining before the ACC championships in Greensboro, North Carolina, the Irish will travel to East Lansing, Michigan, to take on the Spartans this Saturday. Two weeks later, they will close the regular season at the Ohio State Winter Invitational.