Feb. 19, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – With just under one week remaining before the swimming portion of the 2014 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships commence, the University of Notre Dame men’s swimming team is continuing its preparation this week for the league meet. The Irish will begin racing next Wednesday at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, N.C.
“It’s nothing new, and it’s everything new, as we have not been to this meet before,” Notre Dame head coach Tim Welsh said. “We have not raced some of these teams before and we have not raced at the facility before, so the expectation will be that it will be a surprise. We have never gone to the meet without our divers before, or even men only before, it’s a whole new set of arrangements.”
In spite of the changes to the overall meet schedule, Notre Dame is not changing much in its general event preparation. As Welsh explained, for all that is different, the conference championship experience will look very familiar.
“At the end, and the beginning and all the way through, it’s a swim meet and we know what swim meets are like,” Welsh said. “We know what the order of events are, having raced them at the Iowa Invitational and at the Shamrock meet, so we have that experience. The BIG EAST was great for us, but it was shrinking.
“The ACC is large and fast, and we welcome the challenge,” he added. “The guys can’t wait to get there and see what they can do.”
Notre Dame, being able to replicate the ACC meet schedule on those two separate occasions during the year, will have a handle on how the competition will progress once the team arrives in North Carolina. The knowledge gained means less of an emphasis on obsessing over specific details moving toward next week.
“We don’t want to go crazy about this, so we’re just trying to prepare to race our own races the best way that we can,” Welsh said. “If we’re focused on our own races, are prepared and race the best that we can, we’ll be happy with the scoreboard and the scoreboard will take care of itself. It’s all about being focused and prepared enough to do our race well.”
In a departure from the traditional format of the BIG EAST Conference Championships, the Notre Dame men’s divers are already in Greensboro for the diving portion of the meet. The Irish diving squad begins conference championship competition on Thursday afternoon.
“We will miss being with our divers,” Welsh said. “They are a big part of the team, and as you might know they usually do very well and hold up their end of the team scoring. We will miss being with them.
“We also will know the score going down to Greensboro, and that’s often exciting to see during our former championship format,” he added. “How is diving going to turn out, how is our team going to do? We will know the diving results before we leave town.”
The advantage of knowing the meet score will not change much, if any, of the swimmers’ preparation during the next week of practice. Spirited and energetic swims last week have the Irish primed to begin the ACC Championships, and Welsh said the focus will be to keep the competitive intensity flowing.
“We’re not coasting, so each day we have been coming in and focusing on what the emphasis is for the day,” Welsh said. “It might be speed, it might be pace, it might be technique, and it might even be on rest. Whatever it is, each practice will have a focus and we will try to do as well as we can on today’s focus.
“Practices have been exciting, and they’ve been fast,” he said. “We have good representation from all four classes, and we will take the extra week, but if we had to get on the bus today we would. We’re ready.”
ACC Men’s Diving Championships
February 20-22, 2014
Greensboro Aquatic Center
Schedule of Events
Thursday, Feb. 20
Men’s 3-Meter Dive – 1 p.m. (ET)
Friday, Feb. 21
Men’s 1-Meter Dive – 3:55 p.m. (ET)
Saturday, Feb. 22
Men’s Platform Dive – 1 p.m. (ET)
-- Tony Jones, Media Relations Assistant