Anyone else amused by the fact that a midwestern school is leaving the Big East to join the Atlantic Coast? On Wednesday, the ACC announced that they would welcome all of Notre Dame’s teams except for football. In the press release from the school, vice president and director of athletics Jack Swarbrick said that the switch would preserve the legacy of their football team and “provide a new and extremely competitive home for our other sports.”
That’s certainly the case for swimming: Notre Dame’s men’s team won conferences last year and their women took second. Both programs will add good depth to the ACC, which sorely needs it as the conference is very top-heavy. That being said, Notre Dame leaves a conference where the same is true–and in doing so leaves Louisville with little competition in the Big East.
As for how Notre Dame will fit in with the rest of the ACC, that’s hard to say because the bulk of head-to-head competition in the past has occurred at NCAAs, which is a very different beast than conferences. In 2012, Notre Dame men finished 28th at NCs: behind Florida State, UNC, UVA, and Virginia Tech. But also behind Louisville–who they beat at conferences. Their women are fairly similar: coming off a 22nd place finish at 2012 NCAAs, but boasting two All-Americans and relays that can challenge for top 3 at conferences next year, they too are well positioned to really impact the conference.
Whether Notre Dame will be able to challenge the best in the ACC remains to be seen, but adding them will definitely make the conference deeper and they likely will be right in the mix for a 3rd/4th place finish. The addition could perhaps put the ACC on par with some of the top conferences that don’t necessarily have faster top times, but do boast faster top-heat times.
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