Men’s youth develops as Irish swimmers receive accolades
Inigo Yturralde | Friday, May 17, 2019
This year, the Notre Dame men’s swimming and diving teams really began to hit their stride. The team competed in nine meets over the course of the season, in addition to the ACC and NCAA competitions. The squad was very young, comprised of 10 freshman and six sophomores. With that, the team managed to secure a sixth-place finish at the ACC Championships and send four swimmers to the NCAA Championships.
Head coach Mike Litzinger praised his swimmers’ development as the season progressed.
“I almost think that we hit a really great spot coming off last year’s ACCs and we had some success at the NCAA level,” said Litzinger. “[This year,] we almost had to take a step back to reform for our future. Since we were so young this year and inexperienced, we kind of dropped back a spot at the ACC meet, but we did that in order so that we can get some experience to move forward. Our growth is ahead of us on the men’s side. … We’re going to do some great things as a team in the future.”
Many of the underclassmen swimmers on the team saw success this year. Sophomore Zach Yeadon received All-American Honorable Mention honors for his finishes in the 500-meter free and in the mile at the NCAA Championship. This is the second year in a row that Yeadon has received an All-American honor. Additionally, freshman Josh Bottelberghe represented Notre Dame at the NCAA competition in the 200-meter breaststroke, finishing his race with a time of 1:56.25.
Litzinger said there was a change in the team’s culture this season.
“It’s growth. It’s a matter of us learning how to be elite in the pool and living an elite lifestyle away from the pool,” said Litzinger. “We’re certainly heading in that direction. … I think that [the team sees] how great they can be and that adds excitement and that kind of excitement is contagious. … With a big freshman class coming in next year … the attitudes are changing and therefore the goals truly change as well.”