Blue and Gold Illustrated

December 2022

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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42 DECEMBER 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY TODD D. BURLAGE F ighting Irish senior swim- mer Coleen Gillilan has had myriad successes and accom- plishments already at Notre Dame — and with plenty more still to accomplish — but mul- tiple wins and podium perfor- mances never came easily. A n h o n o ra b l e m e n t i o n All-American in the 100 and 200 butterfly events and the Notre Dame Women's Swimming MVP as an Irish sophomore in 2020-21, and a mainstay on the All-ACC Academic honor list, Gillilan has flour- ished during her time on campus. But a chronic shoulder injury, along with the challenges and interruptions that lingered through 2020 and 2021 from the COVID-19 pandemic, the seemingly end- less cortisone shots, a subsequent surgery and a program coaching shakeup in April haven't necessarily paved a smooth ride for the computer science major. "It's been a once in a lifetime experi- ence here at Notre Dame, but it's also been interesting dealing with all of the adversity," Gillilan explained. "I had to have the team behind me the whole time, and it's just amazing to have this wonderful group of people here sup- porting you during it all." Gillilan noted how even with all the individual and relay success she's achieved during her swimming career, the shoulder injury has remained an is- sue all the way back to her high school career as a club competitor at Fossil Ridge High School in Fort Collins, Colo. The injury is also the primary reason why Gillilan is making 2021-22 her final competitive season at Notre Dame and will not return for a fifth year in 2022-23. After years of discomfort, painkillers and cortisone, Gillilan decided surgery in March of this year was the best course before starting her senior and final sea- son this fall. Gillilan's recovery has been steady, but not without challenges for this All- America candidate. "Has it been frustrating? Absolutely," Gillilan said. "The second week of school this semester, I broke down to my coaches because I had never been that out of shape before. It was really hard trying to get back into shape af- ter surgery and not being able to do full training with the team. It was a down time." With her butterfly times finally returning to where they're supposed to be, Gil- lilan explained how she's ex- cited to keep improving and healing this winter to make another run at a finals ap- pearance at the NCAA Cham- pionships this spring, in one or both of her fly events. "Considering where I was at the beginning of the sea- son," she said, "I'm just happy to see how far I have come. "This is my last year, so I just want to leave something meaning- ful for the team. Swimming-wise, I'd like to get back to the finals in the NCAA again. Relationship-wise, just get closer to my teammates and get close to the coaches, too." ✦ Senior Swimmer Coleen Gillilan Is Ready For A Final Splash As a sophomore, Gillilan earned honorable mention All-America honors in the 100 and 200 butterfly at the NCAA Championships and was named the team's MVP. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS ND SPORTS Irish Roundup Through Nov. 22 CROSS COUNTRY The Fighting Irish women notched a seventh-place team finish — their ninth top-10 effort in program his- tory — at the NCAA Championships Nov. 19 in Stillwater, Okla. … Junior Olivia Markezich earned her second consecutive All-America honor with an eighth-place individual showing … The Irish men posted a 15th-place team finish — their third straight top-15 effort at the championship meet … Sophomore Carter Solomon earned All-America accolades by crossing the finish line 18th. HOCKEY (6-6-2 OVERALL, 3-4-1 BIG TEN) No. 19 Notre Dame split two contests at Ohio State, losing 5-2 Nov. 18 before bouncing back with a 1-0 win Nov. 19 … The Fighting Irish play at Boston University Nov. 23 and at Boston College Nov. 25. WOMEN'S SOCCER (17-2-3 OVERALL, 7-2-1 ACC) The No. 1-seeded Fighting Irish defended their home turf by defeating No. 8 seed Santa Clara 4-0 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Nov. 18 and No. 5 seed TCU 2-0 in the round of 16 Nov. 20 … Notre Dame will host ACC rival and No. 2-seeded North Carolina in a quarterfinal match at Alumni Stadium Nov. 26. MEN'S SWIMMING AND DIVING (2-1) Notre Dame finished fourth at both the Ohio State Invitational in Columbus, Ohio, and the Texas Diving Invitational in Austin, Texas, Nov. 17-19 … The Irish will next compete in the U.S. Open Nov. 30 to Dec. 3 at Greensboro, N.C. WOMEN'S SWIMMING AND DIVING (2-1) The Fighting Irish posted a pair of sixth-place finishes at the Ohio State Invitational and the Texas Diving Invitational Nov. 17-19 … Notre Dame will take part in the U.S. Open Nov. 30 to Dec. 3 at Greensboro, N.C. VOLLEYBALL (9-17 OVERALL, 4-12 ACC) Notre Dame suffered a 3-0 defeat at North Carolina State Nov. 19 … The Irish will close out the season with matches against Louisville at home Nov. 23 and at Virginia Tech Nov. 25. — Steve Downey

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