Irish swim and dive boasts best season in program history with new staff
Madeline Ladd | Friday, May 19, 2023
The Notre Dame swimming and diving programs were ushered into a new era with the debut season of head coach Chris Lindauer backed by second-year head diving coach Mark Bradshaw. The team saw great success throughout the season by shattering multiple school records and finishing at the top at elite meets. The Irish culminated their season sending two women, seven men and three divers to NCAAs, where they posted their best finish in program history. The Irish also had 32 members make the ACC All-Academic Team, showing their prowess in the classroom. The high morale among the team helped contribute to the great success. And according to ACC Freshman of the Year Tommy Janton, momentum is only continuing to build.
“With the movement and the fire that the coaching staff has provided, the men’s and women’s teams are excited to be better and want to win,” Janton said.
Irish men: Senior Jack Hoagland, sophomore Chris Guiliano and freshman Tommy Janton shine in the lane
Throughout his final season, Hoagland consistently posted top finishes at meets ranging from a dual to the season championships. At ACCs, Hoagland took gold in the 400 IM in a 3:41.15, an event for which he holds the school record at 3:40.73. Hoagland posted the highest Irish finish at NCAAs, earning fifth in the 1650 freestyle (14:38.64). In addition to the 1650, Hoagland also achieved All-American status in the 500 freestyle, 800 freestyle and 400 IM.
Guiliano saw dramatic improvement from this year to last. The Douglasville, Pennsylvania, native had a stunning performance at the 2022 Toyota U.S. Open, breaking the previous 50 freestyle school record with a time of 22.46. This also qualified Guiliano for the 2024 Olympic Trials, making him the first male Notre Dame swimmer in program history to do so. The next day, Guiliano went on to break another school record in the 100 freestyle. His time of 49.17 punched him yet another ticket to Lucas Oil Stadium for the 2024 Trials.
“The best part of Chris is his desire and hunger to pursue excellence at the highest level of swimming,” Lindauer said. “He gets the big picture and is willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish his goals.”
At ACCs, Guiliano’s 200 1:32.43 200 freestyle earned him another school record and his first conference title. This achievement also made Giuliano the holder of the fastest times in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle at Notre Dame. Winding out the year at NCAAs, Guiliano contributed to the record-breaking 200 medley (Janton, junior Sean Faikish, senior Cason Wilburn, Guiliano) and 800 freestyle (Guiliano, Hoagland, Wilburn and senior Alec DeLong) relays. Guiliano also earned All-American status in the 100 and 200 freestyle.
Janton had a standout debut season, making a seamless transition into collegiate swimming that would name him ACC Freshman of the Year. Despite apprehensions with this switch, Janton was willing to try anything.
“I was open to new experiences, but was very nervous about starting weights due to the transition that that and very hard yardage would take on my body,” Janton said. “My goal was to keep an open mind about that and I did, and obviously worked out for the better.”
Janton’s performance in the 2022 U.S. Open qualified him for the Olympic Trials in both the 100 and 200 backstroke. His time of 54.96 in the 100 meter backstroke also shattered the previous school record of 56.87. Though a disappointing ACC performance plagued Janton, he was able to end the season with a satisfying NCAA performance.
“I had a bit of a downfall at ACCs,” Janton said. “The nerves got to me at finals ,and I really had to change that, and that’s what I tried to do for NCAAs. Going into NCAAs, I was not projected to final in either of the events, and I got [14th and 10th] in the 100 yard (45.43) and 200 yard backstroke and that was really exciting. I was just embracing the experience of being at that meet, arguably the fastest short course meet in the world.”
Janton has positive feelings on the coaching staff and the direction in which they’ve taken the team. He cited that the camaraderie between the men’s and women’s teams is at an all-time high. The inclusion from both sides was something Lindauer and his staff emphasized from day one.
“The staff has been here for one year, and we’ve already done the best we’ve ever done in program history,” Janton said. “It’s exciting to see the potential we have, and how exciting it is to be a part of this underdog team that, in the next couple years, can be in the top list. I’m at the edge of my seat ready to go, ready to attack whatever Coach Chris’ lead is.”
As for the male divers, freshman Daniel Knapp was the sole diving representative at the NCAA championships. Knapp finished 23rd overall for the third-highest finish for a freshman at the meet.
Irish women: Seniors Coleen Gillilan and Ellie Jew inspire underclassmen
Gillilan and Jew led the way for the Irish women, both qualifying for NCAAs in their final season. The two women have boasted top-ten times in program history. And their presence at these elite meets helped inspire female underclassmen.
“They are able to take some positive experiences from the meet, and in store, share that with our team to help shift and grow into the team that we are working toward every single day,” Lindauer said.
In terms of divers, sophomore Calie Brady and graduate student Allie Klein showed consistency throughout the season. The two women tied in the 1-meter at NCAAs with a total score of 243.45. Though Klein will be graduating, Brady’s performance will serve her well as an incoming junior.
“Calie was spot on in five of six dives on three-meter,” Bradshaw said. “She was scraping to get into the top 16, but it was a huge improvement from freshman to sophomore year for her. I think that bodes well for her moving into her junior year.”
A successful season places the Irish in a prime spot for improvement next year. With a strong incoming freshman class and impact transfers such as graduate student transfer and ACC Champion Abdelrahman Elaraby, the Irish have the capability to move up in the ranks.
“Potentially in the future we could be a top 10 school,” Janton said. “We’ve never really been a swim school before, and it could be something now where the light clicks and we are. It could be really exciting for us and bring more attention to us, too.”