Squad prepares for final meet before post-season action
Jimmy Ward | Thursday, February 13, 2020
This weekend the No. 12/16 ranked Notre Dame swimming and diving team will travel to Columbus, Ohio, for the second time this season to compete at the Ohio State Winter Invitational.
Earlier this season, Notre Dame found success in Columbus, finishing second place with a full roster. However, this weekend the Irish will not be sending their full team, but the meet will instead serve as a litmus test for the younger members of the squad. Notre Dame will be facing off against top competition in the country, including host No. 7/14 Ohio State as well as No. 13/25 Kentucky.
But with postseason competition just a week away for the women and two weeks out for the men, these teams find themselves in much of the same position as the Irish. Of the eight teams attending, over 130 athletes will be competing. The other teams present will be Akron, Johns Hopkins, Illinois, Purdue, Pittsburgh and Eastern Michigan.
Irish head coach Mike Litzinger spoke ti the unique style of the end-of-the-year meet.
“It gives everyone an opportunity to have their athletes have an end-of-the-year, championship-style meet,” Litzinger said. “So you can actually see what the year gave you in terms of work, and it actually helps plan for your future because we’ve had athletes come out of this meet and the following year advance to the ACC meet, so it is kind of a seed meet — a feeder meet.”
With postseason competition just around the corner, Litzinger said his squad has been taking an individualized approach to preparing for their first round of competition at the ACC Championships.
“We set the ACC squad about two-and-a-half, three weeks ago, and we are in this training period, and everybody is kind of on a different path,” Litzinger said. “The Ohio State group is on a path, so they are speed work and pace work and race strategy-type work [and] started a couple weeks ago. The ACC women have followed that up, so they are kind of a week behind the Ohio State kids, and then the ACC men are kind of two weeks behind everybody. … This is the time of year where you really dial in on your speed work, and you’re trying to get some rest and let yourself recover from a full season of training.”
As far as his goals for his team heading into this weekend’s meet at Ohio State, Litzinger said it is best to keep things simple.
“We just want to swim as fast as we can and put up some times that are meaningful to us and our program,” he said. “Most of the people going to this meet are freshmen, so we want to be able to see them kind of use this opportunity to step forward and take advantage of a really great pool and a good facility and a championship-level meet to show us what they can do, so we can hopefully plug them in in the future.”
The meet will take place in Columbus, Ohio inside the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion and will run Friday through Sunday, aired on BTN Plus.