Women’s Swimming prepares for NCAA Championships
Sean Kelley | Tuesday, March 16, 2021
The Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team will travel this week to compete at the NCAA Championship. After a fifth-place finish at the ACC Championships, coach Mike Litzinger’s team will be looking to build on its success.
Only swimmers who qualified for the NCAA Championship remain on the team, a much smaller group than when the season started. When asked about the smaller size of his team, Litzinger highlighted the benefits.
“We’re just dialing in on our specialty right now, so it actually makes the workouts a little less cumbersome but more intensive,” Litzinger said.
He also noted that his athletes are able to focus solely on their respective strokes, saying that “the swimmers who qualified in the breaststroke get to work on that specialty only.”
The smaller team has allowed for more focus overall, raising the intensity to a championship level.
As the team is getting closer to the competition itself, Litzinger pointed out that “we’re just all lucky that we’re being able to compete. I think the attitude is: Let’s take advantage of our opportunity because we’re more fortunate than some other teams out there.”
The team is also ready to drop some incredible times and take full advantage of each race and dive. Litzinger emphasized his excitement.
“There are not many other teams out there that have two swimmers qualified in the 1650 Free in [junior] Sammie Eyolfson and [junior] Madeline LaPorte, but even more outstanding is we have three 200 Butterfly swimmers,” Litzinger said. “I don’t think there is another team out there that has three women that have straight-up qualified in that event is their primary event, so that’s really pretty special.”
Looking ahead to this weekend, Litzinger discussed how the climate is going to be different on the pool deck. During a normal year, athletes are allowed to attend all of the sessions to cheer on their teammates, but with the pandemic, only the athletes participating in the session can be on the deck. This plays into Litzinger’s theme for this weekend.
“I think the theme for us is going to be take care of your own business, and stay within your lane so to speak,” he said. “Control the things that you have control over, and take your shot when you have it.”
Litzinger made clear that “we’re just going to have a lot of fun together, enjoy the opportunity that we have and hopefully come back with a few all-Americans.”
For Litzinger’s team, being able to compete at this meet is exciting, as it was canceled last year. Litzinger spoke to the current scene in swimming.
“I think there’s a couple of different camps,” he said. “Some kids are super excited to go. Some kids and coaches are wondering what’s it really going to be like, and then, I think there’s a third group out there who are just happy we got this far.”
The Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team will be competing at the NCAA Championship Wednesday through Saturday at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, North Carolina.