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Sunday, April 14, 2024
The Observer

Guiliano, Hoagland bring home gold for Irish at ACCs

The Irish swimming and diving team had a monumental meet last week at the ACC Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina. After five days of competition, the No. 20 Notre Dame men’s Swimming and Diving team took fifth place, while the women finished eighth. Sophomore Chris Guiliano had a standout meet, breaking school records in all five of his events. He saw the podium in all three of his individual events, even capturing a win in the 200 freestyle. Senior Jack Hoagland also saw an individual win in the 400 IM and brought home some hardware for the Irish. 

Day 1

The first day of events started off with a bang, with the quartet of Guiliano, graduate student Colton Paulson, Hoagland and senior Alec DeLong breaking the men’s 800 freestyle relay record in a 6:16.29. Their performance in what Guiliano calls “such a gritty race” set the tone for the rest of the meet. Having had a disqualification in this event at last’s year meet, the performance exceeded all expectations.

“Last year I actually DQ’d that very same relay,” Guiliano said. “I was kinda joking with my teammates like, ‘It’ll be better this year no matter how it goes.’ Once I got that first swim under my belt, I think the confidence just grew from there. Just having those guys by my side, knowing they’d be able to give it their all too.”

Day 2

Day two brought a bronze medal and another school record for Guiliano in the 50 freestyle (18.93). For the women, sophomore Mary Cate Pruitt saw a personal best and a B-final finish in the 500 freestyle with a 4:44.79. 

Day 3

Day three was huge for the Irish, with Guiliano and Hoagland capturing a pair of wins in the 200 freestyle and 400 IM, respectively. Guiliano’s freestyle time of 1:32.43 broke the 2014 school record, and Hoagland was just off the mark in 3:41.15. 

“If I’m being honest, the 200 kind of came out of nowhere, and that’s the one I won,” Guiliano said. “I had no thoughts going through my head after that win. I couldn’t really collect my thoughts. I just knew I had to go celebrate with the team.” 

For the women, the Gillilan sisters — senior Colleen (52.34) and freshman Renee (52.55) — got the Irish on the board in the 100 butterfly. 

Day 4

Day four saw the Gillilan sisters back in action, this time in the 200 butterfly where they both saw NCAA B cuts. For the men, freshman Tommy Janton earned his first individual record with a 45.61 in the 100 backstroke. A time trial 200 freestyle relay of Guiliano, junior Stephan Lukashev, senior Cason Wilburn and Paulson broke another school record in a 1:16.89. Guiliano’s leadoff time of 18.88 broke his own school record from two days prior.

Day 5

The final day of competition saw Irish dominance in the mile. Sophomore Maggie Graves placed sixth in the women’s 1650 with a 16:14.95, with Hoagland in fourth for the men with a 14:48.82. Guiliano was back at it again, this time shattering his own record in the 100 freestyle with a final time of 41.85. The 400 freestyle relay saw Guiliano, Wilburn, DeLong and senior Thacher Scannell break the previous school record with a time of 2:50.14.

The Irish saw some personal best times and record-breaking swims across the board, boosting confidence as they continue on into the postseason. 

“I think the team as a whole definitely performed a lot better. We have the connection,” Guiliano said. “It was all there for everybody. Everyone contributed and everyone did their job. It was a great meet for us and we definitely shocked a couple people across the country.”

For Guiliano personally, he was thrilled with his performance. His sights are now set on the NCAAs, where he has lofty goals for all three of his events. 

“Coming off of last year, I wasn’t really sure where my expectations should be for this meet,” Guiliano said. “I came in seeded pretty well. I had a great year all season so that definitely helped the confidence. To podium in all three events is just mind blowing to me.” 

As for now, it is nose to the grindstone until mid-March rolls around and the Irish get their chance to replicate the week they had at the ACCs.

“The coaches and I, and the training group we got going, have to buckle down for the last month and really grind,” Guiliano said.