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Monday, March 4, 2024
The Observer

Irish sweep opening ACC competition in Atlanta

The Notre Dame swimming and diving teams swam past the competition in Atlanta, defeating Atlantic Coast Conference foes Miami and Georgia Tech to continue a hot start to the season.

The Irish posted a combined 3-0 record in their first meetings against ACC competitors. On the women’s side, Notre Dame rushed past Miami and Georgia Tech without much resistance. The Irish downed the Hurricanes and the Yellow Jackets by scores of 200-59 and 200-60, respectively. The men faced more stringent competition from Georgia Tech but managed to escape Atlanta with a 132-130 victory.

Notre Dame sophomore Zach Yeadon stole the show for the second meet in a row. The San Antonio native clinched three first-place finishes in the freestyle, notching victories in the 1,650, 500, and 200-yard free.

“That is one of the most difficult doubles to pull off in a dual meet,” said Irish head coach Mike Litzinger when asked about Yeadon’s performance. “Zach has the mental toughness and certainly the physical ability to handle that double.”

Another notable performance on the men’s side came from freshman Zachary Smith. The Tuscaloosa, Alabama native posted a first-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly. Notre Dame ultimately had four swimmers finish in the top five, as senior Matt Grauslys, junior Aaron Schultz and senior Jack Russell finished the event third, fourth, and fifth, respectively.

Three Notre Dame men placed atop the podium in their respective events. Freshman Austin Flaute claimed first in 3-meter diving, junior Jack Montesi turned in the top performance in the 100-yard backstroke and senior Tabahn Afrik earned first place in the 100-yard freestyle.

The women’s side dominated the conference competition, claiming first place in all but three events. The depth of the women’s team was on full display in the 50-yard freestyle, an event in which the Irish took all of the top five spots. Junior Katie Smith led Notre Dame in the 50-yard freestyle, followed by junior Abbie Dolan, sophomore Cailey Grunhard, sophomore Carly Quast and senior Sofia Revilak.

The Irish women earned first-place finishes in 10 other events. Freshman Sinead Eksteen claimed a first-place finish in the 500-yard freestyle while also taking home second-place finishes in the 200-yard freestyle and the 400-yard freestyle relay.

Litzinger was impressed with Eksteen’s performance and presence on the team, saying that she was a highly recruited talent who has really adjusted well to the competitive atmosphere of college athletics.

Lindsay Stone, a sophomore from Pittsford, New York, earned first place in the 1650-yard freestyle, her second victory in a long-distance race. Stone also took first place in the 1000-yard freestyle at the season-opening meet in Bloomington.

“I think Lindsay, she’s a returning NCAA qualifier and a school record-holder in that distance,” said Litzinger. “As opposed to her freshman year, she has really taken charge in that event.”

This weekend, the Irish will look to build on their strong start when they host the Purdue Boilermakers for a meet in the Rolfs Aquatic Center. Purdue will travel to Notre Dame for the showdown against the Irish on Friday at 5 p.m.