Women’s team competes at NCAA Championships
Jimmy Ward | Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Concluding its season Saturday, the Notre Dame women’s swim team completed the NCAA Championships at the Texas Swimming Center in Austin. The Irish sent 12 swimmers and three divers to the meet.
“We sent the biggest group of women we’ve ever had at Notre Dame to the NCAA Championships,” head coach Mike Litzinger said. “We set several school records and had three All-Americans, so we did better than we have since I’ve been here at Notre Dame, but I also think there’s a lot more left in the tank for our team.”
The team was led by senior Alice Treuth, who set a new school record in the 200-meter backstroke preliminaries and earned All-American Honorable Mention honors with a time of 1:53.56. Junior Abbie Dolan added the finishing touches to the Irish performance in the pool, earning an All-American Honorable Mention for qualifying for the 200-meter free B finals, touching the wall in 1:44.38 and setting a new school record in the process.
As this is his fourth year serving as head coach, the class of 2019 will be the first class Litzinger will see through to graduation.
“When they came in — our women’s team — I was the third coach in three years,” he said. “So they were a little disorganized, and it was those women that we had to really wrap our arms around and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got to look down the road, see what this team is going to look like your junior and senior years because we are going to continue to get better here, and we need to trust the process we’re going through.’ And they did exactly that. They all stayed every summer to train and get better, and that’s why four of them were here at the NCAA Championships.”
On the other end of the pool, sophomore Kelly Straub recorded the best finish among the divers, taking 20th place on the one-meter board. Teammates junior Erin Isola and freshman Annie Wiese claimed 35th and 27th place in the one-meter and three-meter dives, respectively. Although Litzinger spoke highly of the trio’s accomplishments this past weekend, he stressed that with their youth comes high expectations to improve for the future.
“To be in the top 24 is a real accomplishment,” he said. “We’ll reach those goals.”
As the women’s season comes to a close, the men’s team is preparing for their final meet, having qualified four individuals for the NCAA ’s national championships, which will start Wednesday and also take place at the Texas Swimming Center. Freshmen Marci Barta and Josh Bottelberghe qualified for the 400-meter individual medley and 200-meter breast, respectively, while sophomore Zach Yeadon will be competing in the 500 and 1,650-meter frees. The final member of the Irish squad is junior Aaron Schultz, who qualified for the 200-meter fly.
“This week will be more about individual swimming than anything,” Litzinger said. “While the focus will be more on an individual performance, I think our key is knowing that the four guys that we have here are really, really strong and they can do some really great things. So trying to wrap your arms around the team aspect of it knowing that the four people you have here are impact athletes. So I think that helps them feel a little more comfortable going into this competition.”
Reflecting on this three-day gap between the men’s and women’s competition, Litzinger said this experience has reinforced his belief in mental toughness and strong starts.
“At this meet you take each session as they come. There’s no guarantee,” Litzinger said. “This is the fastest meet in the world other than the Olympic Games. … You have to be on your best in the morning, and if you don’t get it done in the morning, there’s no swim at night.”
Having set the expectations out for his team, the men will look to capitalize on their final opportunity of the season in the pool beginning Wednesday.