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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
The Observer

Notre Dame beats Forida State for win in first meet of season

Both the men’s and women’s swimming and diving squads were able to get the better of Florida State on Friday in their first meet of the season. The Irish hosted the Seminoles at home at in the Rolfs Aquatic Center.

With the event only being a small dual meet, most of the 25 Irish freshmen were able to compete in one way or another, which can be beneficial to the squad’s experience before they head to Kentucky for a meet that will include some of the top competition in the country.

Florida State won the first two events of the evening — the men’s and women’s 200-yard medley relay — but junior Lindsay Stone and sophomore Zach Yeadon got the Irish back into it with big wins in the 1,000 freestyle, with times of 10:05.99 and 8:57.69, respectively. Yeadon’s time was the fastest ever recorded in the 1,000 free at Rolfs, and it is the best time on the season throughout the NCAA.

Next, senior Abbie Dolan and sophomore Sadler McKeen notched wins in the men’s and women’s 200 free, recording times of 1:46.97 and 1:38.21, respectively. That was followed by sophomore Bayley Stewart winning both the women’s 100 and 200 back with times of 55.07 and 1:57.72, respectively.

The Irish swimmers were not the only ones getting things done, however, as the Notre Dame divers were able to take care of things in the pit. Junior Kelly Straub won the women’s 1-meter diving competition, while sophomore Austin Flaute took care of the men’s 3-meter event. Straub would also go on to finish second in the women’s 3-meter competition, and Flaute also took third in the men’s 1-meter dive.

The meet was capped off with two big wins in the men’s and women’s 400-yard freestyle relays. The men’s race was back and forth between the Seminoles and the Irish the entire way, but McKeen was able to edge out FSU’s swimmer at the last moment, touching the wall in 2:58.15, 0.02 seconds before his opponent.

Heading into his fifth season as head coach, Mike Litzinger detailed the current status of both the men’s and women’s sides of the program,

“Our women are coming off a really senior-heavy class that graduated. Four of those women were at the NCAA [Championships] and were scoring. It is kind of a refueling of our women’s program a little bit — real heavy on the freshmen, but we have some strong senior leadership,” he said. “I wasn’t quite sure what we were going to get. Florida State is really rapidly improving, and you could see some of that in their racing today. They have a very strong diving program. I wasn’t quite sure what we were going to get, but I think we kind of found our identity a little bit, and we have some great things happening with our younger swimmers on our women’s side.”

Litzinger went on to describe the men, which he said has a mix of veterans and young swimmers.

“On our guys side, I know we have a lot of talent,” he said “We have 14 freshmen men that came in as a highly ranked recruiting class. They certainly showed their depth and lived up to their billing. However, when you go right to it you look at Zach Yeadon, who set a pool record tonight [and had the] fastest time in the NCAA this year; you look at [senior] Jack Montesi winning the 200 back, Sadler McKeen pulling it off in the end and [senior] Aaron Schultz had a monster freestyle split on that free relay to get us the win. I’m really excited about the future of our men.”

Next up for the Irish is an away tri-meet at Kentucky University on Wednesday, where the Wildcats will play host to the Irish and Indiana University, the No. 3 team in the country.