Notre Dame has jumped into the 2016 recruiting market, nabbing New York’s high school state record-holding sprinter Katie Smith.
Smith (full name “Mary Kathryn Smith,” to distinguish her from the pack of other “Katie Smiths” in USA Swimming’s membership) comes to Notre Dame from the PACK Swim Team in Pittsford, New York. She also competes locally for Pittsford High School.
“I couldn’t be more excited about attending Notre Dame, given the academic and athletic tradition of the school,” Smith told SwimSwam. “I am confident that Coach Litzinger, his staff, and the Notre Dame athletic complex will help me become the best swimmer that I can be.”
Smith will be part of the first class of recruits for new Fighting Irish head coach Mike Litzinger, who made the jump from North Carolina in April.
Litzinger takes over a women’s program that faced much coaching uncertainty last year, when former head coach Brian Barnes unexpectedly resigned late in the summer, leading former Notre Dame men’s coach Tim Welsh to come out of retirement to serve as interim head coach for a year.
But now, with Litzinger firmly at the helm, Notre Dame is looking to rebuild their program after the graduation of NCAA champion breaststroker Emma Reaney.
Nabbing a sprint freestyle stud like Smith in recruiting will go a long way in doing just that. Smith shows potential of being a strong relay piece for Notre Dame down the road, excelling in all three relay-distance freestyle races. Her top short course times with one year of high school yet to come:
Smith’s Top Times
- 50 free – 22.93
- 100 free – 51.01
- 200 free – 1:52.45
Smith broke the New York state record in the 50 free during her sophomore season, going 23.05. She says she’ll study business at Notre Dame beginning in the fall of 2016.
“There are very few schools that have the national and international academic reputation that the University of Notre Dame has, as well as an excellent athletic program,” Smith said. “I look forward to becoming part of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Family. Go Irish!”