Hoagland makes a splash at NCAA Championships
Sean Kelley | Wednesday, March 31, 2021
This past week, Notre Dame men’s swimming and diving placed 24th in the nation at the NCAA Championship meet at Greensboro Aquatic Center in North Carolina. The team came in ready to swim fast, scoring 15 points and recording the second-highest finish under Coach Mike Litzinger.
This meet was was an especially fun meet Litzinger said because of how many first-time NCAA swimmers went for the Fighting Irish.
Litzinger said he always tells his first-time swimmers “everybody belongs at that meet because they qualified.”
“You can’t look at yourself as ‘qualified 31st, qualified 17th or qualified fourth’,” he will add. “You have to look at it as — everybody starts from zero, so it’s about racing at the meet. If you don’t race at the meet, you’re going to get lost.”
With this information at the back of the newcomers’ minds, there were many spectacular races from the Irish. Litzinger went on to highlight the accomplishments of sophomore Jack Hoagland during the men’s 1650 freestyle race.
“Jack’s 1650 was really fun to watch,” he said. “There were a couple of storylines going on there. He got to race the American record holder in the event, and he hung with him for a good third of the race, which was really fun.”
Hoagland placed fifth in the event, earning his first All-American status with a time of 14:33.93 and grabbing 14 points for the team in the process.
“It’s always fun to see one of your athletes placed in that top five in the country,” Litzinger said. “It was validation for his previous performances and validation for his work ethic and dedication.”
Overall, Litzinger had high praise for the team’s performance.
“I was really proud of the 800 Free Relay because it went in seeded 19th, and to be able to find a way to score was really telling of kind of power in our guys,” he said. “They relied on each other all year long.”
The relay comprised of Hoagland, sophomore Alec DeLong, sophomore Cason Wilburn and senior Sadler McKeen was able to place 16th and receive the Honorary All-American, while scoring two points for the team and finishing in 6:18.04 — a whole second faster than their seed time of 6:19.07.
Hoagland also was an Honorary All-American finishing 10th in the 500 Freestyle for 7 points and 11th in the 400 IM for 6 points. His times for those races were 4:12.13 and 3:41.99, respectively. Notre Dame finished in 25th place with a total of 29 points, 27 of which belonged only to Hoagland.
“When you come back from a meet like that, you have to share it with the rest of your team,” Hoagland said. “Share what the experience was like, how competitive it was, what your preparation was like, so you get more guys there the next year.”
As for what’s next for training, Litzinger said “The NCAA kids have a week off, and everybody else has been doing their strength and conditioning work.”
“We just started back in the pool yesterday, so we’re focused on the summer, and what that holds for us, whether it’s Olympic trials or any other competitions,” Litzinger added. “Summer is where you make the biggest gains.”
With a hardworking mentality, the Notre Dame men’s swimming and diving team will look to replicate and improve upon this year’s performance. They will return to the competition pool next winter.