Men’s Swimming: Revenge on NU’s mind at Notre Dame

John Paschall

Coach Jarod Schroeder said he always looks at the Notre Dame roster and thinks it looks pretty impressive. Sometimes, even better than his own squad.

Yet, the Wildcats found ways to beat the Fighting Irish for eight straight seasons.

Until last year.

The memory of defeat in Evanston on Senior Night still lingers with the Cats as they head to South Bend, Ind., to take on the Fighting Irish on Saturday.

“There’s definitely a bitter taste,” sophomore Dominik Cubelic said. “We’ve been dominating them over the years and whenever a team steps up and takes you down for the first time, it’s not fun. We just want to take that title back and show them that our program is heading in the right direction.”

And for Schroeder, it’s personal.

“When I swam in the Mid-American Conference, we had our conference championships at the Notre Dame pool,” Schroeder said. “It always had a bitter taste in my mouth. I didn’t get beat by a Notre Dame guy, but I got beat by one guy there and that was the only time in college that I got beat in a conference championship meet. There’s something about that pool where I always want to do well there.”

Schroeder also believes he is catching the Fighting Irish at the right time as they return from their training trip.

“Sometimes you catch them a little off or fatigued,” Schroder said. “They are just getting back from Puerto Rico so they could be a little tired.”

Schroeder said the meet may come down to how the younger, inexperienced divers fare considering how equal these swim teams are.

Schroeder said he wants to make sure his swimmers will try to keep the Cats within striking distance and not put too much pressure on the divers.

“We probably have to win seven of those 12 individual swimming events and then both relays,” Schroeder said. “That would put us at nine wins to their seven wins if we had any losses in our diving. We can’t afford to get ‘One-twoed’ or ‘One-two-threed’ on any events. If they get first, we have to get second-third or second-third-fourth in order to overcome the point disparity. We need production from our second and third tiers.”

Junior Charlie Rimkus said he feels they have an advantage over Notre Dame because of the special bond the team formed over its Hawaii training trip.

“The bonds we form over the trip and over the season are really rivaled by no one,” Rimkus said. “Our team is such a family. We really rise to the occasion of a challenge.”

Rimkus said he feels his job isn’t done when he gets out of the water. He has to keep pushing his fellow swimmers throughout the course of the meet.

“I have been on a couple National Juniors teams,” Rimkus said. “So I have experience with out-of-the-water cheering, and I know how to get people excited. It’s really important for myself and the other upperclassmen to continue to pass along the lessons we’ve learned during our time.”

One thing is for sure: Schroeder knows the Cats will bring the intensity.

“This is never a tough meet for us to get excited for.”

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