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 email@example.com.