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Monday, May 20, 2024
The Observer

Irish swim and dive place second behind Ohio State in Tim Welsh Classic

Notre Dame swim and dive welcomed Ohio State, Akron and Indiana State to Rolfs Aquatic Center this weekend for the program’s final home meet of the 2022-23 season, the Tim Welsh Classic.

Both the Irish men and women placed second in the two-day contest behind fifth-ranked Buckeye men’s and women’s teams.

Outside the water, former diving coach Caiming Xie was recognized Friday night for his 25 years at the helm of Notre Dame diving. Saturday morning 19 Irish seniors were honored alongside their parents.

The meet comes just weeks before the ACC championships in mid-February, followed by the NCAA championships in March. Head coach Chris Lindauer said the weekend was all about swimmers cleaning up the tools they’ve been developing all season.

“The grind, the hard work, that’s already been put in...,” Lindauer said. “We really like to focus on component swimming. For me that involves a couple of things, but the biggest thing is athleticism.”

In addition to sharpening up the water sport’s athletically driven components such as starts, turns, breakouts and underwaters, Lindauer added that keeping his student-athletes well-rested is crucial.

“Giving these guys some time to recover, rest, prepare mentally, physically, get ahead on school as they go into championship season, that really helps reduce stress,” Lindauer said. “You want to be able to go to the meet and swim freely… coming out and just go have some fun and race.”

The Notre Dame men performed strongly as a team in freestyle, taking home the gold in the men’s 200-yard and 800-yard freestyle relays. Senior Jack Hoagland, a member of the men’s 800-yard freestyle relay squad, struck gold individually as well, triumphing in the men’s 400-yard individual medley (IM) and men’s 500-yard freestyle.

Backstroke was another high point for the Irish men. Senior Jack Fitzpatrick placed first in the men’s 100-yard backstroke and freshman Tommy Janton punched in a first-place finish of his own in the 200-yard race.

A pair of Irish seniors from the women’s program, Ellie Jew and Coleen Gillilan, took the top spot on the podium as well. Jew secured the quickest time in the women’s 200-yard, and Gillilan did likewise in the women’s 200-yard butterfly.

On the diving end of the pool, head coach Mark Bradshaw said sophomore Callie Brady and freshman Daniel Knapp dove their best of the season.

Brady’s performance was good enough for first place in the women’s 1-meter diving event, and graduate student Allie Klein followed with a silver. In both the men’s 1-meter and 3-meter diving events, Knapp recorded second-place finishes.

Bradshaw said the enthusiasm of the large hometown crowd over the weekend was appreciated, especially for the seniors not headed to the ACC or NCAA championships. But energy also reminded Bradshaw of the competition to come.

“They’re rounding into championship form,” Bradshaw said. “We still have a couple months left in our season, but competition-wise, we’re coming down to the end.”

Bradshaw and Lindauer did not downplay what a privilege it is to perform at home facilities. Lindauer added that the program had an excellent opportunity to put its character on display at the meet.

“How are we bonding together? How are we communicating together? What is the energy like on deck?” are questions Lindauer has prompted the team with all season.

“I know [little things like team cheers] seem simple, but energy in the team area is contagious,” Lindauer said. “When that is positive, you can expect great things to come out of it.”

Contact Peter Breen at pbreen2@nd.edu.