Feb. 24, 2018
by Tony Jones
GREENSBORO, N.C. – An additional two silver medals and team records for the University of Notre Dame men’s swimming and diving team added to the final Irish score line on Saturday at the 2018 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Swimming and Diving Championships. The No. 19 Irish scored 941 points over four days to place fourth at the conference championship meet inside the Greensboro Aquatic Pavilion.
Zach Yeadon re-established the Notre Dame program record in both the 1000 and 1650 freestyle on his way to his second runner-up finish of the meet, while Rob Whitacre placed second in the 200 backstroke by also lowering his own Irish team mark. The Notre Dame 400 freestyle relay of Tabahn Afrik, Justin Plaschka, Aaron Schultz and Daniel Speers added an NCAA A-cut to punch an Irish ticket to the 2018 NCAA Championships.
Coach Litzinger Said“An unbelievable day of racing for us. Zach Yeadon posted the number three time in the NCAA and broke his own Notre Dame record by 13 seconds in the mile. He is truly the NCAA’s fastest rising distance swimmer.”
“Rob Whitacre also took silver with a well-deserved time of 1:40.31 in the 200 back and earned an NCAA berth. I am very proud of the work Rob has done and the leadership he exhibits in our program. Sophomore Jack Montesi swam a stellar 1:41.95, and we are looking for him to take the reins of this event next season.”
“Daniel Speers was terrific. He exhibited great speed tonight in the 100 free and as the anchor of the 400 free relay.”
“I really enjoyed Aaron Schultz’s performance this weekend. He flew under the radar a lot this weekend, but made some significant improvements. Aaron will be a huge factor in our future success.”
“Overall, our men raced hard and they raced for Notre Dame. We were consistent in improving our performances each evening, and have more to come as the NCAA approaches. I am proud of our coaching staff and the efforts the men gave, it was a great weekend.”
Top Irish PerformancesMen’s 1650 Freestyle – Zach Yeadon claimed his second silver medal of the championship meet, swimming a Notre Dame record time of 14:34.60 for an NCAA A-cut. Yeadon shaved more than 12 seconds off his own Irish record in the event, and his 1000 freestyle split of 8:51.16 was also the fastest in Notre Dame history. Richard Mannix finished 11th by swimming a 2017 NCAA invitation time of 15:04.96, with Sadler McKeen adding a 2017 invitation time of 15:06.26 for 12th place. Benjamin Jany chipped in points in 23rd place with an NCAA B-cut of 15:19.79.
Men’s 200 Backstroke – Rob Whitacre broke his own Notre Dame record with a prelim effort of 1:40.17, ultimately finishing second in the ‘A’ final with a 2017 NCAA invitational time of 1:40.31. Jack Montesi placed sixth in the top final with an NCAA B-cut time of 1:41.95. William Cumberland (19th, 1:44.78), Nick Milikich (21st, 1:4504) and Joseph Turk (22nd, 1:45.33) also added NCAA B-cuts in finals racing.
Men’s 100 Freestyle – Daniel Speers finished seventh with a finals time of 43.20 (NCAA B-cut time of 42.88 in prelims). Tabahn Afrik placed ninth with an NCAA B-cut of 43.12 in the ‘B’ final, with Justin Plaschka finishing 17th overall with a ‘C’ final time of 43.02 for an NCAA B-cut.
Men’s 200 Breaststroke – Garrett Clarke finished 10th with an NCAA B-cut time of 1:56.79. Benjamin Gorski placed 19th with an NCAA B-cut time of 1:57.61, while Steven Shek was 20th in 1:58.43 (NCAA B-cut time of 1:57.55 in prelims).
Men’s 200 Butterfly – Aaron Schultz nearly closed in on the Notre Dame program record in the event, finishing seventh with an NCAA B-cut time of 1:43.46. Matt Grauslys finished 12th with an NCAA B-cut time of 1:44.24, while Brendan Santana was 18th with an NCAA B-cut of 1:45.65.
Men’s 400 Freestyle Relay – The Notre Dame entry of Tabahn Afrik, Justin Plaschka, Aaron Schultz and Daniel Speers swam an NCAA A-cut of 2:51.62 to finish in fifth place.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball, men's soccer and swimming and diving programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League's Buffalo Bills.