Notre Dame rallies for sixth-place finish at ACC Championships
Jimmy Ward | Wednesday, March 6, 2019
The Irish men’s swim team found success in Greensboro, North Carolina at the ACC Championships this past weekend, finishing sixth overall with a total of 687 points.
Irish head coach Mike Litzinger said he was proud of his team for their performance on the conference level, especially after having to fight back against early adversity.
“The ACC is a meat grinder of a competition … there’s great coaches and there’s great teams,” Litzinger said. “Two years ago we were third, we were kind of finding our spot. We got a little rattled the first night, we were in tenth place after all the diving was done. So to kind of crawl out of that hole, we had to nail our relays that first night. The relays were good but they weren’t great so you’re off to a slow start and then everybody else is jumping ahead of you and you are just grinding to get back into the mix. Our guys did a great job of that — we started the meet in tenth and finished in sixth, we made a pretty good stab at fifth. We knew our relay power was a little bit light this year, it wasn’t as great as it had been the past few years because our speed — we’re a little light in the speed group but we knew that coming in. For our guys to grind and climb on back and find their way to sixth was a pretty heroic effort.”
The Irish took on some of the country’s top competition at the ACC Championship meet, and many individuals stepped up and scored big to earn a sixth place finish. Freshmen played a big role in the meet, as they were accountable for a third of the teams points. Sophomore Zach Yeadon placed fourth in the 1650 free with a time of 14:44.55. Yeadon has already qualified for the 1650 free in the NCAA Championship with his time of 14:39.60 at the Ohio State Invitational earlier this season, the seventh best time in the country. Junior Jack Montesi set a new program record with his time of 46.33 in the 100m backstroke, and freshman Josh Bottelberghe capped off the strong Irish performance by earning a bronze medal in the 200m breaststroke. Litzinger was proud of how Bottelberghe has progressed and put in the work to be where he currently is.
“I mean Josh was a great athlete coming out of high school, but to have a four-second drop from where you finished last year to where you are finishing this year is pretty spectacular, especially in the [200m] breaststroke,” Litzinger said. “So he was a very highly sought after recruit, he landed at Notre Dame, he felt home here, he loves the engineering program, he does a great job in school and he is very coachable. So I knew there were some great things that would happen to Josh but [he’s] just [been] pretty spectacular, he kind of skipped over some steps and he went right to the big time, it was a lot of fun.”
The Irish will take two weeks off to prepare for the NCAA Championship in Austin, Texas which will start March 27 and conclude by March 30.