June 23, 2016
By Russell Dorn
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Months and often years of training come down to an exciting eight days for 16 University of Notre Dame swimming standouts, as the large group heads to Omaha, Nebraska and the CenturyLink Center June 26 - July 3 for the 2016 United States Olympic Trials.
The end goal is Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, better known as the Rio 2016 Olympics (August 5-21).
"It's great that we are able to represent the University of Notre Dame with such a large contingent at the Olympic Trials because I think it makes a statement on the direction this program is heading," said head coach Mike Litzinger. "It's a credit to the student-athletes in our program because they have the desire to excel at a high level. The group that we are taking has been training hard for Trials. They are excited about it and have been swimming very well right now."
Eight men and eight females are set to go to Omaha for the long course meet.
Highlighting the men's side are 2016 NCAA qualifiers Matthew Grauslys and Trent Jackson and 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier Tom Anderson, who swam in the 200-meter backstroke and 400-meter IM at the event.
On the women's side, 2015 Notre Dame graduate Emma Reaney is set to compete in her third Olympic Trials (2008 & 2012). In 2012, she turned in a solid performance, claiming 13th in the 200 IM, 23rd in the 200 breast, 24th in the 100 breast and 41st in the 400 IM.
The 2014 NCAA champion in the 200-yard breaststroke, Reaney is a two-time member of the U.S. National Team and finished her Irish career in 2015 with eight All-America and five honorable mention All-America scrolls.
In addition to Reaney, senior co-captain Catherine Mulquin is a former NCAA qualifier (2014) and U.S. Olympic Trial participant (2012).
"Being back at Notre Dame (following graduation) has had its ups and downs, for sure, but I am so glad that I chose to make the move back here," said Reaney. "I know it was right for me physically, mentally and emotionally. Being the only postgraduate on the team and living alone were things that were hard to deal with and I was pretty lonely every once in a while, but knowing the team and coaches were always there for me and that the entire Notre Dame community was supporting me was all I needed to stay motivated.
"The months after I broke my finger up until now have been full of some really intense training, especially in the weight room and I can't wait to see it pay off in Omaha. I think since I had a pretty average season this year as far as in-season times go, a lot of people have counted me out for Rio. But that's just where I want to be. I love being the underdog and proving people wrong. I know what I've done up until this point has put me in prime position to make the team and I am so excited for this meet.
"Olympic Trials is the most energetic, fun, nerve wracking and emotional meet I've ever been to and those are always the ones that are the most fun and most successful for me. Notre Dame has been my home for the last five years and this University has done more for me than I could ever explain, so it means so much to me to get to represent Notre Dame one more time on a stage as big as Olympic Trials."
Here's what you need to know about the 2016 United States Olympic Trials:
IRISH COMPETITORS: Ten Irish veterans, five rookies and Reaney are making the trek to Omaha ... here's the full list:
Tom Anderson: 200 Free / 200 Fly / 200 Back / 400 IM
Matthew Grauslys: 100 Fly / 200 Fly
Trent Jackson: 100 Breast / 200 Breast
Richard Mannix: 400 Free
Nick Milikich: 200 IM
Jack Montesi: 200 Fly
Aaron Schultz: 100 Fly / 200 Fly
Rob Whitacre: 100 Back / 200 Back
NOTE: Senior diver Joseph Coumos competed at the U.S. Diving Olympic Trials this past Monday (June 20) and placed 24th in the 3-meter springboard (322.40).
Lauren Heller: 50 Free / 100 Free
Danielle Margheret: 100 Breast / 200 Breast
Catherine Mulquin: 50 Free / 100 Back
Emma Reaney ('15): 100 Breast / 200 Breast / 200 IM / 100 Fly
Kyra Sarazen: 100 Back / 200 Back
Katie Smith: 50 Free
Nicole Smith: 200 Fly
Alice Treuth: 100 Back / 200 Back
HOW TO WATCH: NBC is the exclusive home to the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials ... all morning prelims will be streamed live on the NBC Sports Extra app on smartphones ... later in the evening, key parts of the prelims will be broadcast on tape delay on NBCSN (NBC Sports Network) ... finally, each evening's finals will be broadcast live on NBC for seven of the eight nights (July 2 is the exception) ... a complete TV listing is available on page five at the following link:
For more information on the Notre Dame men's swimming & diving team, follow the Irish on Twitter (@NDMensswimdive). For Notre Dame women's swimming & diving information, check out @NDWSwimdive.
Russell Dorn, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2011 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame volleyball, rowing and baseball programs. A native of Greenwood, South Carolina, Dorn graduated from Furman University in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in history before earning his master's degree in sports communications from Georgia State University in 2011.