Notre Dame swim and dive was back in action this week. The swimmers traveled to the Ohio State Invitational and divers went down south for the Texas Diving Invitational. The team’s performance this weekend pleased head coach Chris Lindauer, as several swimmers posted top times and podium finishes. The four-day ordeal was a fitting preview for the schedule of ACCs and NCAAs that will take place later this season.
“It was really a full week affair with travel on Wednesday and competition Thursday, Friday, Saturday. We just got home this [Sunday] morning,” Lindauer said. “It takes a lot out of everybody but overall we performed very well. We were super successful both on the men’s and women’s side.”
The Irish competed against teams such as Ohio State University, Indiana University, Virginia Tech, University of Kentucky, University of Cincinnati, Yale University, and Lindenwood University. The men placed third overall, falling to Ohio State and Indiana who were both top 10 teams last year. Senior Jack Hoagland dominated for the Irish, capturing wins in both the 400 IM (3:43.52) and the 500 freestyle (4:14.24).
“I think Jack Hoagland getting two wins against this field of competition is really impressive,” Lindauer said “They’re wins against super competitive opponents but the times he posted are among the top in the country. He’s at an elite level.”
Sophomore Chris Guiliano also had a strong showing, claiming runner-up status in the 50 freestyle (19.30) as well as third in the 100 freestyle (42.50). Guiliano put up performances against “top, top-notch competition” as Lindauer phrased it. Giuliano's times, like Hoagland’s, are able to compete with almost anyone in the country.
On the women’s side, senior Coleen Gillilan was runner-up in both the 100 (52.24) and 200 butterfly (1:55.54). These early-season times are just off of Gillilan’s lifetime bests.
“She is really coming off of some adversity as she had shoulder surgery in the spring,” Lindauer said. “To see her bounce back and be so competitive on a good track for ACCs and NCAAs is really exciting.”
Collectively, the relays performed highly this weekend for both men and women. The outcome pleased Lindauer, especially so early in the season.
“I think just collectively, when we look at all of our relays the majority – if not all of our relays – are faster than what they were last year at this time in the year,” Lindauer said. “Even some of them were faster than what they went at ACC Championships in February, which is really rare; you don’t usually get that.”
This invitational was the Irish freshmen’s first glimpse of competing at a high-level college invite. Several freshmen had lifetime bests this past weekend. A few were even able to make the A-finals — something promising for young talent on the team. Lindauer commented on the quick adjustment they had to make, as competition picked up so early in the season.
“If you think about when we started in late August, we are about 2.5-3 months of training in which isn’t that much in the swimming world,” Lindauer said. “So being in this position where our freshmen are prepared to compete at this level so soon — not only our freshmen but our whole team –I think is unique. For our freshmen to learn NCAA swimming, you know this is not high school swimming, this is not club swimming. This is men and women competing at the highest level. There’s Olympians at our meet this weekend. Just for them to understand the big picture and get a sneak peek of what ACCs and NCAAs are going to be like.”
Viewing NCAAs as the finish line is a priority for Lindauer and the rest of the team. Being a top 25 program is also a priority for Lindauer. And it is something he feels the Irish can accomplish this year. The men are currently ranked No. 22 out of 25 following the meet.
“For us it's all about NCAAs and how we can put up some points and be a top 25 program, Lindauer said. “It shocked me that Notre Dame has never had a team finish in the top 25 at NCAAs, so that’s a massive goal and I think we’ll be knocking on the door there on both sides. We are extremely competitive and aware of that goal and that’s the target we are aiming for.”
Adjusting to the culture and new environment has been a change for Lindauer and the team. Lindauer describes the experience as positive, but with “a lot of learning.” Lindauer also commends the senior class for their leadership and setting an example of excellence.
“I am also very proud of the seniors,” Lindauer said. “Teams tend to go how seniors go so they are really the frontline of echoing our mission. They are sharing those goals. They are doing a phenomenal job of senior leadership to share that mission. Our seniors and our captains but it takes much more of the senior captains to lead the way.
Next up for the Irish is the U.S. Open, taking place from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Being a long-course meter and international meet, the Open will bring top talent from around the world. It should allow teams an opportunity to see where they are at from a long-course perspective. With Olympic Trials on the horizon in June of 2024 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, a select group of Irish swimmers with have the opportunity to gun for trials cut times.
“This will be our first long-course opportunity with our team,” Lindauer said. “We are only bringing a select few. We have about 10 going, with various reasons why we picked that party. It’s really a first opportunity to see where we are at from a long course perspective, which is a different course, different competition than college swimming.”
Lindauer enjoys being a college swim coach for the diversity it brings, especially as an Olympic year approaches.
“Being a college swim coach is unique because you have college swimming, but you also have this international level,” Lindauer said. “We want to play at our level — at the highest level. So meets like the U.S. Open are great opportunities for our team and also to put up times and some opportunities to get some Olympic Trial cuts. It’s an extremely lofty goal right now, but a dream’s a dream.
Contact Madeline Ladd at firstname.lastname@example.org