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Men’s Swimming

Yeadon pushes himself to greater heights after smashing records at Notre Dame

| Friday, April 5, 2019

For Zach Yeadon, swimming is not so much an individual sport as it is about the people and teammates around him. The sophomore Sorin College resident is a rising star on Notre Dame’s swimming team. A native of San Antonio, Yeadon already boasts an impressive resume. He has competed at the collegiate and national levels and will soon represent the United States at an international meet.

Yeadon said swimming has been a passion of his from a young age, having started when he was six years old.

“I was watching the local YMCA swim,” he said. “I decided that it looked like fun, and I just started swimming after that.”

Yeadon’s swimming career has come a long way since his days at the YMCA. While a student at Reagan High School, the San Antonio-based swimmer won the 500-meter freestyle at his district championship and at the 2017 Texas 6A state championship, setting a district record in the process.

The 6-foot-5, 170-pound swimmer committed to the Irish after his junior year of high school after particularly connecting with associate head coach Aaron Bell.

“I really liked the team when I took my official visit here,” Yeadon said on why he chose Notre Dame. “I could really see myself being a part of the team. I loved the coaches. I really liked Aaron Bell, who recruited me the whole way and is currently my distance coach. … I think one of the best things about coming here is that I was able to refresh my training. I was able to train under Aaron, who brought in a different type of training than I trained under in high school.”

In addition to expressing strong admiration for his coaches, Yeadon said he attributes much of his growth to the guidance of upperclass members of the team.

“I was able to train with other guys such as Richard Mannix and Benjamin Jany [both of the class of 2018 who] would help me train faster in the water,” he said. “They would push me more than I was in high school.”

As a freshman, Yeadon set program records for the 500-meter (4:12.74), 1,000-meter (8:51.16) and 1,650-meter (14:34.60) freestyle events. He bested the record of his teammate Mannix for the 1,000-meter freestyle at the first dual meet of the season. In regards to how he accomplishes these records, Yeadon said simply, “It takes a lot of hard work.”

“It becomes a journey after that to see what you truly can accomplish over the course of the season,” he said about how he pushes himself after his record-breaking performances. “Once the records fall, then you are looking towards more nationally. Let’s get into the conversation for top eight at the NCAA competition. Then you keep going, let’s try to get top four at the NCAA competition. You just see what you can do.”

From March 27 through 30 at this year’s NCAA championships, Yeadon placed 13th with a time of 14:42.90 in the 1,650-meter freestyle and 14th with a time of 4:14.84 in the 500-meter freestyle event. This was a step back from his fourth-place finish last year with a time of 14:35.98 in the 1,650-meter freestyle — earning himself First-Team All-America honors in the process — and 10th-place finish with a time of 14:13.95 in the 500-meter freestyle, but the performance was still good for All-American Honorable Mention honors for Yeadon.

In the wake of this year’s season, Yeadon said he believes these results “enable [the team] to take a step back right now, and in the coming weeks, to talk about what happened and to develop a plan moving forward.”

“We have come a long way since the start of my freshman year,” Yeadon continued. “I think it’s always been for the better. We’re continuing towards a team that’s going to be able to compete at the national level.”

Yeadon is shaping up as a force to be reckoned with across all levels of swimming. This summer, he will represent the United States at the World University Games in Naples, Italy.

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