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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
The Observer

Irish defeat Spartans in first dual meet

In its first dual meet of the season, Notre Dame defeated Michigan State 174-69 Friday night at Rolfs Aquatic Center.

The Irish got off to a strong start from the beginning, with Notre Dame taking each of the top five spots in the 400-yard medley relay, the first men’s event of the evening. The winning relay team of senior Bogac Ayhan, freshman Zachary Stump, sophomore Justin Plaschka and freshman Tabahn Afrik finished with a time of 3:19.74.

In the 1,000-yard freestyle, freshman Connor Brown won with a time of 9:33.38, while sophomore Richard Mannix (9:34.12) and freshman Steven Shek (9:34.44) completed an all-Irish podium in the second event of the night.

Junior Reed Fujan finished with a final time of 1:41.17 to win the 200-yard freestyle in the next event and once more, Notre Dame swept the podium as senior Michael Hudspith finished in second (1:41.55) and junior Trent Jackson finished to place third (1:43.37).

Junior Reed Fujan swims the 200-yard individual medley during Notre Dame’s 226-66 victory over Cleveland State on Feb. 7.
Junior Reed Fujan swims the 200-yard individual medley during Notre Dame’s 226-66 victory over Cleveland State on Feb. 7.
Junior Reed Fujan swims the 200-yard individual medley during Notre Dame’s 226-66 victory over Cleveland State on Feb. 7.

“We had some good energy,” Notre Dame head coach Matt Tallman said. “It’s good to get our first dual meet under our belt and help set the tone for the rest of the season. I think some guys were excited about putting up some good times but we know we got some work to do still.”

In the 50-yard freestyle, Plaschka finished with a final time of 20.51 to win, freshman Daniel Speers finished second with a final time of 20.94 — though Michigan State sophomore Nick Leshok snapped Notre Dame’s sweep streak by taking third.

As the meet progressed, the Irish continued to dominate — junior Tom Anderson won the 400-yard individual medley, clocking in 4:02.31, freshman Matthew Grauslys won the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 1:49.97, Afrik took home top spot in 100-yard freestyle in 45.38, and sophomore Robert Whitacre won the 200-yard backstroke in 1:51.38 to keep Notre Dame’s win streak in the pool alive.

On a big day for Notre Dame, Tallman said he was most impressed with the distance swimmers.

“Our distance guys as a whole had some times that were better than they have had in previous seasons in those events across the board,” Tallman said. “I would say the distance crew as a whole were probably the best guys today. The [1,000-yard free] was really good to have our guys finish one, two, three in an event that traditionally we haven’t been great in was really good, and I thought that put us in a good place.”

Michigan State won the next two events to halt Notre Dame’s win streak in the pool, but the Irish 200-yard freestyle relay team restored order in the final swimming event: Plaschka, Afrik, Speers and junior Kevin Bradley swam a 1:21.92 to put Notre Dame back in the win column to close the meet.

In diving, junior James Lichtenstein won the 1-meter with a score of 318.82, while sophomore Peter Myers won the 3-meter with a 363.08 score.

Tallman said despite the dominant win, his team still has areas to improve in.

“We keep messing up on a lot of the little things that, at the end of the year when it matters most, are going to play a huge role either positively or negatively whether we execute correctly,” Tallman said. “I told them not to be satisfied, work on the little things. It was a good way to get the season started but next week is a new competition, and they’re going to be ready for us.”

The Irish are back in action this Friday and Saturday on their first road meet, against Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech, at Christiansburg Aquatic Center in Christiansburg, Virginia.