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Guiliano, Janton post Olympic trial cuts at U.S. Open

It was a monumental weekend for the Irish in Greensboro, North Carolina, at the 2022 Toyota U.S. Open. A select group of nine Notre Dame athletes had the opportunity to compete against swimmers from across the United States and countries such as Brazil and Ireland. Sophomore Chris Guiliano and freshman Tommy Janton shined in the pool, each earning Olympic trials cuts, shattering school records and establishing new personal bests. Notre Dame Peterson Family head coach Chris Lindauer highlighted the exposure this meet brought to the swimmers. 

“Whether they swim fast or have so-so swims, at the end of the day the experience brings so much value to growth,” Lindauer said. “This was our first opportunity to get Olympic trial cuts. The qualification window just opened up, so this was the first meet of the year anyone could get the cut.”

Guiliano and Janton both wasted no time seizing that opportunity and did not succumb to the slump of midseason swimming. Guiliano’s 100 freestyle performance of 49.17 punched him an early ticket to Lucas Oil Stadium for the 2024 Olympic trials (cut time 49.99) and broke the Irish’s school record for the event. 

“The fun starts now. 49.17 — that’s elite air. You’re starting to get up there with the best of the best, so it’s about how you look for ways to continue to climb,” Lindauer said. “Chris Guiliano, he is an athlete that ‘gets it’ at the highest level. He understands the big picture, like what it really takes to be elite.”

Guiliano felt confident going in about making the team due to his past experience.  

“Coming down to this meet, I was certainly expecting to qualify for trials,” Guiliano said. “Making it two years ago in 2021, I knew it was definitely a goal that was attainable. To get it by that much and drop as much time as I did was great. To look at the board and see the team on the side going nuts was great.”

Guiliano also competed in the 50 freestyle (22.46) where he broke the school record and punched another ticket to the trials (cut time 22.79). He added a personal best in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:50.78. He described being “ecstatic” for the rest of the season.

“Going best times in all three of my events this weekend definitely sparked some confidence to close 2022,” Guiliano said. 

Janton, part of the No. 10 freshman recruiting class nationally, qualified for the Olympic trials in both backstroke events. A 54.96 100 backstroke shattered the previous school record of 56.87 and earned Janton third place on the podium. His 200 backstroke (2:01.40) placed him second, just a hair off of winning the gold. Janton broke the school record in this event as well. 

“Tommy Janton, he’s very youthful and learning what it takes to be big time,” Lindauer said. “Like Chris, he’s set himself up in a good spot to catapult himself into the future and see where he lands. Certainly, to come away from the meet with two Olympic trial cuts and two school records was impressive with his age and how much more he has left to learn.” 

Guiliano was excited for his teammate and the success he’s had so early in his college career. 

“It’s awesome,” Guiliano said. “Seeing a freshman come in and do big things like that is great and it’s great for the program. It motivates everyone else. Seeing him on the podium was just great to see.” 

Also at the Open, freshmen Samuel Sierra and Tate Bacon posted impressive 200 butterfly swims. They finished sixth and seventh in the event’s B Final with times of 2:07.38 and 2:09.25, respectively. 

Looking ahead, the Irish will continue to train intensely in preparation for championship season. With a firmer grip on team identity and a different intensity than they had in August, Lindauer believes that the team is ready for the latter half of the season.

“We have a better pulse of where the team is now and how we can coach them better,” Lindauer said. “We’ve had to adapt to them and learn what works for this team. Every team I’ve coached is different, even if it’s a lot of the same crew. A semester under our belt to make some adjustments with our training and respond to them academically in different ways helps up make a bigger impact in their day-to-day lives. We’re back to the grind, progressing accordingly.” 

After spending extra time in South Bend and then going home for the holiday season, the Irish will head down to training camp in Naples, Florida, for two weeks of their winter break. Immediately after, they will fly to Annapolis, Maryland, to take on Navy and Princeton in a tri–meet on Jan. 13. 

“We’re excited to see where we’re at coming off of our training and how we need to adjust things accordingly after training camp and the results of Navy,” Lindauer said. “We will continue to make those adjustments as we see fit and approach championship season.”

Contact Madeline Ladd at mladd2@nd.edu.

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Lindauer talks Ohio State Invite, season goals

Notre Dame swim and dive was back in action this week. The swimmers traveled to the Ohio State Invitational and divers went down south for the Texas Diving Invitational. The team’s performance this weekend pleased head coach Chris Lindauer, as several swimmers posted top times and podium finishes. The four-day ordeal was a fitting preview for the schedule of ACCs and NCAAs that will take place later this season.

“It was really a full week affair with travel on Wednesday and competition Thursday, Friday, Saturday. We just got home this [Sunday] morning,” Lindauer said. “It takes a lot out of everybody but overall we performed very well. We were super successful both on the men’s and women’s side.” 

The Irish competed against teams such as Ohio State University, Indiana University, Virginia Tech, University of Kentucky, University of Cincinnati, Yale University, and Lindenwood University. The men placed third overall, falling to Ohio State and Indiana who were both top 10 teams last year. Senior Jack Hoagland dominated for the Irish, capturing wins in both the 400 IM (3:43.52) and the 500 freestyle (4:14.24).

“I think Jack Hoagland getting two wins against this field of competition is really impressive,” Lindauer said “They’re wins against super competitive opponents but the times he posted are among the top in the country. He’s at an elite level.”

Sophomore Chris Guiliano also had a strong showing, claiming runner-up status in the 50 freestyle (19.30) as well as third in the 100 freestyle (42.50). Guiliano put up performances against “top, top-notch competition” as Lindauer phrased it. Giuliano’s times, like Hoagland’s, are able to compete with almost anyone in the country.

On the women’s side, senior Coleen Gillilan was runner-up in both the 100 (52.24) and 200 butterfly (1:55.54). These early-season times are just off of Gillilan’s lifetime bests.

“She is really coming off of some adversity as she had shoulder surgery in the spring,” Lindauer said. “To see her bounce back and be so competitive on a good track for ACCs and NCAAs is really exciting.” 

Collectively, the relays performed highly this weekend for both men and women. The outcome pleased Lindauer, especially so early in the season.

“I think just collectively, when we look at all of our relays the majority – if not all of our relays – are faster than what they were last year at this time in the year,” Lindauer said. “Even some of them were faster than what they went at ACC Championships in February, which is really rare; you don’t usually get that.” 

This invitational was the Irish freshmen’s first glimpse of competing at a high-level college invite. Several freshmen had lifetime bests this past weekend. A few were even able to make the A-finals — something promising for young talent on the team. Lindauer commented on the quick adjustment they had to make, as competition picked up so early in the season.

“If you think about when we started in late August, we are about 2.5-3 months of training in which isn’t that much in the swimming world,” Lindauer said. “So being in this position where our freshmen are prepared to compete at this level so soon — not only our freshmen but our whole team –I think is unique. For our freshmen to learn NCAA swimming, you know this is not high school swimming, this is not club swimming. This is men and women competing at the highest level. There’s Olympians at our meet this weekend. Just for them to understand the big picture and get a sneak peek of what ACCs and NCAAs are going to be like.”

Viewing NCAAs as the finish line is a priority for Lindauer and the rest of the team. Being a top 25 program is also a priority for Lindauer. And it is something he feels the Irish can accomplish this year. The men are currently ranked No. 22 out of 25 following the meet.

“For us it’s all about NCAAs and how we can put up some points and be a top 25 program, Lindauer said. “It shocked me that Notre Dame has never had a team finish in the top 25 at NCAAs, so that’s a massive goal and I think we’ll be knocking on the door there on both sides. We are extremely competitive and aware of that goal and that’s the target we are aiming for.”

Adjusting to the culture and new environment has been a change for Lindauer and the team. Lindauer describes the experience as positive, but with “a lot of learning.” Lindauer also commends the senior class for their leadership and setting an example of excellence. 

“I am also very proud of the seniors,” Lindauer said. “Teams tend to go how seniors go so they are really the frontline of echoing our mission. They are sharing those goals. They are doing a phenomenal job of senior leadership to share that mission. Our seniors and our captains but it takes much more of the senior captains to lead the way.

Next up for the Irish is the U.S. Open, taking place from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Being a long-course meter and international meet, the Open will bring top talent from around the world. It should allow teams an opportunity to see where they are at from a long-course perspective. With Olympic Trials on the horizon in June of 2024 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, a select group of Irish swimmers with have the opportunity to gun for trials cut times.

“This will be our first long-course opportunity with our team,” Lindauer said. “We are only bringing a select few. We have about 10 going, with various reasons why we picked that party. It’s really a first opportunity to see where we are at from a long course perspective, which is a different course, different competition than college swimming.”

Lindauer enjoys being a college swim coach for the diversity it brings, especially as an Olympic year approaches. 

“Being a college swim coach is unique because you have college swimming, but you also have this international level,” Lindauer said. “We want to play at our level — at the highest level. So meets like the U.S. Open are great opportunities for our team and also to put up times and some opportunities to get some Olympic Trial cuts. It’s an extremely lofty goal right now, but a dream’s a dream. 

Contact Madeline Ladd at mladd2@nd.edu

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Notre Dame swim and dive prepares for season with redefined outlook

Fall semester has come and (almost) gone, and that means it’s time for the Notre Dame swim and dive team to get back into action. With new leadership under head swimming coach Chris Lindauer and consistency from head diving coach Mark Bradshaw, the Irish have a redefined outlook for their program. Standout returners mixed with new talent puts the team in a promising spot heading into regular season competition. Though the women did not make the NCAA Power Rankings Preseason Top 25, the men clock in at No. 23

The Irish already took to the pool two weeks ago and claimed a double victory against Pittsburgh and Penn State. Both the men’s and women’s teams’ ability to top the Panthers and the Nittany Lions is promising for their seasons’ outlooks.

There are several star returners to both the men’s and women’s swim and dive squads that will help propel the Irish this season. For the men, school record holder Chris Guiliano enters his sophomore season with sights on his own 50 and 100 freestyle records. Junior Tyler Christianson returns for another season after some strong finishes and NCAA times last year. He also gained experience at the FINA World Championships. Junior NCAA qualifiers Kaden Smesko and Stephan Lukashev will certainly add depth to the team. So will seniors Jack Hoagland and NCAA-qualifier Cason Wilburn. As the only diving senior, William Rains will help transition the new diving talent.

For the women, sophomore Madelyn Christman was dubbed “one to watch” by Lindauer himself. Senior Coleen Gillilan is likely to gain points for the Irish in her final season. The women have their sights on NCAA qualifiers this year, as they only sent one (graduated) female swimmer last year. Sophomore diver Calie Brady was also at NCAA’s and continued to impress at this year’s Pitt versus Penn State dual after coming off a standout freshman season. 

New, top-ranked talent also abounds with 10 new freshmen for the men’s swim team and two for the dive team. These newcomers accounted for several top-three finishes at the Pitt versus Penn State tri-meet. As for the women’s side, they welcome six new swimmers — one of them being Coleen Gillilan’s sister, Renee — and one new diver.

With the Irish opening their home slate on Nov. 11 against No. 10 Louisville, it will be all hands on deck. The meet is even more important than meets the eye, though. Lindauer is an alum and the former associate head coach of the Cardinals. Graduate student Colton Paulson is also a former Cardinal. The Cardinals will visit South Bend with three meets under their belt. Thus, they should give the Irish a true test of their depth and performance thus far.

Notre Dame swim and dive has a busy schedule. This differs quite a bit from last year, when several meets were canceled or abridged due to COVID-19 and other issues. After their dual against Louisville, the Irish take to Texas for a weekend with UT-Austin followed by the annual Ohio State Invitational. The U.S. Open rounds things off for 2022.

The Irish resume competition in January 2023 with a Navy-Princeton tri-meet on the docket. The Tim Welsh Classic rounds out the Irish’s regular season as they move on to the ACC Championships in mid-February. Here, the season will end for most. But select men and women will qualify for the NCAA Championships, which are held throughout March. 

With the conglomeration of talent existing on the swim and dive squad, the future is bright for Lindauer and Bradshaw. The performance against Louisville will set the tone for the season, and Irish swimmers and divers new and old are looking for a victory. Friday’s matchup against Louisville, its alumni meeting for the year, begins at 3 p.m. ET at the Rolfs Aquatic Center.

Contact Madeline Ladd at mladd2@nd.edu.