Expectations for the upcoming swimming and diving season started off high. Last season both the men’s and women’s teams placed in the top-45 at the NCAA Championships. After three meets this season, the Fighting Irish have had mixed results.
The team started strong with a dominant victory in the first meet of the season against ACC rival Florida State. The following week the Fighting Irish had a change of fate, suffering two defeats to Kentucky and Indiana in a combined meet hosted by Kentucky. Despite multiple defeats on the road and only one home victory, both teams find themselves ranked in the current polls.
The men’s team lived up to their No. 18 ranking in a recent road meet against in-state rival Purdue. The team was led by strong performances from junior Zach Yeadon, who collected three wins in the 200 and 100 freestyles as well as the 400 free relay, and Aaron Shultz, who added two wins.
Mirroring the performance of the men’s team, the women’s team put on a dominant performance at Purdue’s Morgan J. Burke Aquatic Center, where they won 168-132. The Fighting Irish defended their No. 23 national ranking with strong finishes by freshman Coleen Gillilan and senior Abbie Dolan. Gillilan led both teams with four total wins, including three solo victories, while Dolan tacked on two more solo victories in addition to the 200 medley victory that she captured with Gillilan.
Perhaps the most impressive accomplishment of the night belongs to David Petrison, Notre Dame’s top diver, who earned a score of 325.50 in the platform event. This score was good enough to break a school record while also qualifying as an NCAA zone score.
After the meet, head coach Mike Litzinger complimented his team on their bounce-back performances but stressed the importance of continued training in preparation for upcoming meets against ranked ACC opponents. The Irish dropped their first meet to No. 9 Louisville, but Dolan won the 200 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 200 breast to earn ACC swimmer of the week. Now ranked No. 12, the team will next take on Ohio State on Nov. 21 at the Ohio State Invitational.
While current Fighting Irish swimmers are finding great success at the collegiate level, many of them have also maintained Olympic aspirations and have represented Notre Dame well on the national level. Swimmers Abbie Dolan and Zach Yeadon were invited to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, while diver Austin Flaute placed at the USA Diving Senior National Championships.
As Notre Dame swimming and diving continues to represent itself well on the collegiate and national stage, both teams look to accomplish their preseason goals of finding continued success at the NCAA Championships in the spring.