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Irish swimming and diving sweep Navy, split with Princeton

Sparked by 15 individual wins, the Notre Dame swimming and diving program recorded three wins versus Navy and Princeton this past weekend. The men’s team went 2-0, improving to 4-1, overall. Meanwhile, the women’s team split with a 1-1 record, moving their record to 3-2.

Men’s team sweeps Midshipmen, Tigers

The men’s team started off strong, garnering a victory in their first event, the 200 Freestyle Relay. Sophomore Chris Guiliano blazed through the opening leg in 19.8 seconds, earning a half-second edge on the field. That proved critical, as the Irish ended up winning by just .08 seconds over Princeton and 0.4 seconds over the Midshipmen. Guiliano added an individual win in the 50 freestyle.

In individual events, senior Jack Hoagland produced the first Notre Dame victory, dominating the 400 individual medley by over three seconds. Trailing after the butterfly leg to open the event, Hoagland dominated the backstroke section to open up an advantage that he maintained throughout the event. Hoagland went on to win the 1650 freestyle as well.

Later in the day, the Irish posted a strong 1-2 finish in the 100 backstroke. Freshman Tommy Janton won by over a second (46.5 seconds), and junior Kaden Smesko took second place. To end the first day of competition, the Irish men’s team dominated the diving event, a weakness for the program in past years. Two freshmen, Daniel Knapp and Ben Nguyen, finished first and second, respectively. Knapp won the event by almost 50 points.

On Saturday, the Irish started off with a victory in the 200-medley relay. Senior Cason Wilburn provided the spark in the third leg. He flew through the butterfly in 20.69 seconds to help the Irish surge into the lead. Guiliano anchored the relay to secure the victory. Wilburn and Guiliano both went on to win individual events. Wilburn edged Navy’s Jonah Harm in the 100 butterfly, while Guiliano cruised to a win in the 100 freestyle.

Again, the Irish dominated the backstroke on Saturday. They claimed four of the top five spots in the 200 backstroke, led by Janton’s first-place effort. Freshman Marcus Gentry took second, senior Jack Fitzpatrick finished fourth and Smesko added a fifth-place performance.

Hoagland claimed his third individual victory of the weekend in the 500 freestyle, taking the win by over eight seconds. He later featured in the second leg of the 400 freestyle relay. He and Guiliano swam the first two legs, giving Notre Dame a solid advantage after 200 yards. The Irish ultimately edged Princeton by 0.14 seconds.

Again, Knapp and Nguyen dominated the diving performance, claiming the top two finishes. Knapp won by 37.55 points. That put the wraps on a dominating overall effort from the Irish. They beat Princeton, 234-145, and Navy, 208-119. It was a strong win for Notre Dame who is ranked 23rd in the polls, while Princeton is second in the receiving votes section. The Irish’s only loss this season is to No. 18 Louisville.

Women’s team goes 1-1

The Irish women’s team took home three individual wins plus a relay victory to start their weekend off. Prior to obtaining their first individual win, the Irish swarmed the podium in the 100 backstrokes, claiming the second, third and fourth place finishes. Sophomore Madelyn Christman finished in 54.19 seconds, just .04 seconds off the winning pace.

In the next event, senior Coleen Gillilan edged out classmate Ellie Jew in the 100 breaststroke, as the Irish claimed the top two finishes in the event. Coleen’s younger sister, freshman Renee Gillilan contributed to another top-two sweep for the Irish in the 200 butterfly. Junior Megan Deuel dominated the event, winning by 1.2 seconds. Junior Emma Gleason and sophomore Madeline Menkhaus added top-five finishes in the race.

A few events later, the Irish showcased their prowess in distance swimming, claiming the top three times in the 1650 freestyle. Sophomore Maggie Graves won the event with ease, clearing the next-best time by 21 seconds. Sophomores Mary Cate Pruitt and Sophia Karras rounded out the top three.

In the relays, Jew and Gillilan combined to provide a dominant middle two legs of the 400 medley. Jew gave the Irish the lead over Princeton with a 1:00.01 leg in the breaststroke, well over a second faster than any other participant. Gillilan extended the advantage to over two seconds with a blazing 51.57-second butterfly leg.

To round out the day, the Irish claimed second, third and fourth place in the one-meter diving, led by graduate student Allie Klein.

Jew and Gillilan again sparked the middle legs of a relay to open Saturday’s racing, as the Irish won the 200 individual medley. Gillilan gave Notre Dame a lead over Princeton, and freshman Grace Brenneman anchored the squad to bring home the win.

Pruitt produced Notre Dame’s first individual win of the day in the 500 freestyle. Graves and junior Allison Kopac added third and fourth-place finishes, respectively. That event sparked a run of four individual events to end the day in which Notre Dame placed a swimmer in the top two. Colleen Gillilan added a win in the 100 butterfly, and Renee Gillilan earned a second-place finish in the 200 individual medley.

In diving, freshman Grace Courtney finished second in the three-meter competition, putting the wraps on a strong weekend for the women. Notre Dame thrashed Navy, 279-74, but they fell in a tight battle with Princeton, 188-165. The Tigers earned victories in the final three events to secure the win.

The Irish take this upcoming weekend off, and then they will host the Tim Welsh Classic on Jan. 27 to 28. Both teams will look to improve on their times with the postseason looming in just a month.

Contact Aidan Thomas at athoma28@nd.edu.