Coach Litzinger recaps season highlights
Sean Kelley | Friday, May 21, 2021
For the 2020-21 swimming and diving season, nothing was promised for Coach Mike Litzinger and the Notre Dame swimming and diving team.
During this pandemic, Litzinger said that “the achievement of actually being able to compete” is one of the highest accomplishments of the seasons.
After the cancellation of NCAA’s last year, it has been a year of uncertainty, but for the team, Litzinger said, “They handled this particular challenge well,” Litzinger said, “And, we still achieved a lot of the goals that we set out for ourselves.”
When speaking to the challenges that ensued this year, Litzinger was sure to praise the University, “Notre Dame prepares you for things and moments like this,” he said.
The preparation that the school provided each student-athlete truly allowed the team to persevere. With the team rising to the occasion, the biggest thing for Litzinger was the team’s opt-in mentality.
“In speaking about what they’ve really learned about who they really are, because at the end of the day, it was easy to pack it up and to opt-out,” coach Litzinger said.
With the season being shortened because of the pandemic, each meet held a lot more meaning for the team With the shorter season in mind, Litzinger spoke to the gems that stood out to him in particular.
When speaking about the women’s team, Litzinger said, “I think beating the University of Louisville, who is a traditional rival for us, and always ranked incredibly high in the NCAA, you know, to beat them in a dual meet. Of course, also to have our highest NCAA finish since 2014.”
For the men’s team, he said, “I think we had some disappointment at the ACC championship, but we rallied at the NCAA Meet … I applaud the guys every time they stepped up, and how they had to try to do it as a team. I think the victory in the standout for our guy’s team was learning how to perform as a team.”
He also mentioned that for sophomore Jack Hoagland, “Jack getting the ACC swimmer of the year is no small feat, especially in the most competitive league in the country.”
All of this season, however, would not have been possible without the contribution of the seniors. The Class of 2021 consisted of JP Becker, William Cumberland, Sadler, McKeen, Brendan Santana, Sklar Fore, Cailey Grunhard, Kate McCahan, Carly Quast, Lindsay Stone, Kelly Straub and Rachel Wittmer. Each of the seniors contributing a positive influence on the rest of the team.
Continuing, in a nostalgic tone, Litzinger went on, “This is going to be a tough class to see go out the door. I remember where I was for every one of them when they committed.”
Litzinger said that the most important thing about his job is building a rapport with his student-athletes. Seeing them succeed in and out of the pool is one of the biggest thrills for him.
He concluded by saying, “I think the biggest memories that I’m going to have of these young men and women are watching them grow, and knowing that they’re going to leave this university and our program as successful people. That is that’s my biggest thrill and that is going to be my biggest memory. The thing I look forward to most is seeing them in the fall when they come back to visit.”