Swimming and diving team competes at ACC Championships
Sean Kelley | Tuesday, March 2, 2021
The Notre Dame men’s swimming and diving team competed this weekend in the ACC Championships at Greensboro Aquatic Center. The meet was another rehearsal for the NCAA Championship amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The protocols were great, and the teams did a fine job of adhering to everything that was required for them,” head coach Mike Litzinger said.
With another successful rehearsal in the books, the NCAA Championship should go on as scheduled.
This weekend, the men’s team was dealt adversity out of the gates, finishing the first day of competition in last place. Litzinger said the team was faced with some different options after day one.
“We could battle our way back or we can keep floating along,” Litzinger said. “Our guys made some decisions amongst themselves, and I thought that that the core group of our team really fought hard.”
The team pulled itself out of 12th place to end the meet tied for seventh.
“We have to hold our team accountable for their performance on all facets, but, that was a heck of a hole we battled out of it, proud of the guys for working on that,” Litzinger said.
On the individual side, Litzinger had high praise all around, starting with the ACC Most Valuable Swimmer sophomore Jack Hoagland. Litzinger talked about his three championship swims, 4:11.26 in the 500 yard freestyle, 3:40.99 in the 400 IM and 14:31.83 in the 1650 yard freestyle.
“The way that he swam that triple, which is probably the most difficult triple that you can do in the meet, is very impressive,” Litzinger said. “He’s a national-level athlete, and he proved it. That was really, really great.”
Litzinger also highlighted improvements displayed by junior Josh Bottelberghe.
“When you see kids that come along in our program, like Josh, who mature and make two big finals, that’s exciting,” Litzinger said.
After the conclusion of the meet, one of Litzinger’s biggest takeaways was the underclassmen. He was thrilled they had the experience and learned from it.
“Now they know what to expect, and that will help determine our path, as we move forward,” he said. “They’ll train with more vigor more gusto, so they can be a bigger contributor next round.”
As Litzinger looks to the NCAA Championships, one more qualifying step remains.
“Our divers leave for the zone qualification meet out this Friday,” he said. “That’s how they enter the NCAA; they have to qualify through another meet that’s held by zone. It’s split up in zones A, B, C, D, E and F. They take the top qualifiers out of each zone to compete at the NCAA, so we’re looking forward to seeing how they perform.”
As for the swimming side, both the men’s and the women’s NCAA qualifiers are now back in training.
“We are headed back to the training pool. We’re gonna reset refocus and dial in on those championships,” Litzinger said. “We’ve got two weeks for the women and three weeks for the guys. We’re going to put a little work in, but then we’re going to sharpen up and get ready to go back to Greensboro.”
Notre Dame will compete at the NCAA Championships from March 24-27 at Greensboro Aquatic Center.