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Sports

Irish nab first in final dual meet of the regular season

| Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Notre Dame swim and dive saw success across the board Saturday at Michigan State, emerging victorious on both the men’s and women’s sides in the last dual meet of the season. The Irish ended the two-team battle with 27 first-place finishes and 60 finishes in the top three. With the end of the regular season rapidly approaching, the weekend’s results show the Irish as a force to be reckoned with in the ACC.

Head swim coach Mike Litzinger expressed how instrumental the meet against the Spartans was in fine tuning some of the team’s strategies and lineups before the championship round of the season.

“We were able to move our top athletes around in the lineup,” he said. “The Michigan State meet was a great way to not only end the year, but a great way to begin that phase of our training. We were able to exercise race strategies that we’re trying to work on and [come] away with a victory. So, good stuff at both ends of the pool— the diving end and the swimming end.”

Ellen Geyer | The Observer

Irish swimmers Erin Sheehan (left) and Rachel Wittmer (middle) prepare for the start of the 100-meter fly in Rolfs Aquatic Pavilion. 

The Irish men entered the weekend at No. 23 and the women at No. 19.

The women’s success in East Lansing extended their no-loss record, with the final score of 196-101. They now sit 10-0-1 on the season.

The men’s team used their 188-108 victory at the meet to even their season record to 4-4.

Litzinger noted that both the women’s and men’s teams are poised for greatness heading into the postseason.

“[Sophomore] Lindsay Stone has been a tremendous performer for us all year long, as well as [junior] Abbie Dolan,” Litzinger said. “[Sophomore] Zach Yeadon and [senior] Matt Grauslys stood out to me at that meet.”

Stone, Dolan, Yeadon and Grauslys were among the many Notre Dame athletes who nabbed first place finishes in East Lansing. Grauslys in particular had noteworthy performance, competing with great success in various butterfly events. He came in first in both the men’s 100- and 200-yard fly, posting times of 48.76 and 1:47.99 respectively. Dolan performed similarly well, swimming the women’s 500-yard free in 4:49.18 to secure a first-place finish.

Notre Dame’s diving teams were just as impressive, with the women’s team sweeping the 3-meter competition. Sophomore Kelly Straub led the Fighting Irish, claiming first with a score of 314.33. Following Straub Irish freshman Annie Wiese and junior Erin Isola tied for second at 299.48. Closing up the sweep for Notre Dame was junior Claire Andrews, who came in at fourth with a score of 296.32.

Litzinger was happy with the weekend’s results, but he and his staff are keeping expectations high for their student athletes going into the ACC championships at the end of February.

“I think we had nine or ten different individual winners, so we spread the wealth around … I’d give it an A- for team effort,” Litzinger said.

On Feb. 16 and 17, the Notre Dame student-athletes who are not competing in the ACC Championships will travel to east to compete against top level competition at Ohio State’s Winter Invitational. The Buckeyes sit at No. 13 on the men’s side and No. 15 on the women’s, and the meet in Columbus meet will mark the end of the regular season.

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