Wolverines Cruise to Dual-Meet Triumph over No. 18 Ohio State

Jan. 21, 2011

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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Canham Natatorium)
Score: #15 Michigan 160, #18 Ohio State 135
Records: Michigan (5-5, 3-2 Big Ten), Ohio State (6-1, 0-1 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Friday, Jan. 28 -- at Michigan State (East Lansing, Mich.), 6 p.m.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 15-ranked University of Michigan women's swimming and diving team posted the top mark in 11 out of 16 events, dismantling archrival No. 18 Ohio State, 160-135, on Friday (Jan. 21) inside Canham Natatorium. The Wolverines avenged last season's loss to the Buckeyes with the win and improve to 20-2 all-time against OSU in dual meets.

The Wolverines began the meet off on the right foot, taking first in the 200-yard medley relay. The quartet of sophomore Mattie Kukors (Auburn, Wash./Mountainview), freshman Angela Chokran (South Elgin, Ill./St. Charles North) and juniors Caitlin Dauw (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) and Alexa Mehesan (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley) took first with a time of 1:42.90, the fastest of the season to date.

After an Ohio State win in the 1,000-yard freestyle, Michigan won the next four events, including scoring 1-2 finishes in the first three. Among the winners were Kukors (100-yard backstroke, 56.01), Chokran (100-yard breaststroke, 1:04.53), Mehesan (50-yard freestyle, 23.17) and sophomore Adrienne Bicek (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove North) in the 200-yard butterfly (2:01.07). Michigan led, 93-57, after eight events.

The Buckeyes grabbed the 100-yard freestyle after the break, but Michigan responded by going 1-2-3 in the 200-yard backstroke, with another win from Kukors (2:00.10). Sophomores Ashley Cohagen (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer) and Sam Pearson (Las Vegas, Nev./Faith Lutheran) finished second (2:01.56) and third (2:03.10), respectively. Chokran then got her second win of the night -- in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:17.07) -- pushing Michigan's lead to 128-79 after 11 events.

To close the meet, Bicek won the 500-yard freestyle (4:54.86) and Dauw won the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 54.14, surpassing the NCAA consideration standard for the event. With more than 150 points and the win secured, the Wolverines exhibitioned the final two events.

In the diving well, senior Rachael Ropeik (Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron) and junior Amanda Lohman (Pittsburgh, Pa./Upper St. Clair) finished second and third, respectively, on the three-meter board. The places were reversed for the one-meter springboard, with Lohman taking second (300.07) and Ropeik placing in third (273.29).

Michigan is slated for another battle with a bitter rival next Friday (Jan. 28), as it travels to East Lansing, Mich., to swim at Michigan State. The meet will start at 6 p.m.


• Michigan handed Ohio State its first dual meet loss of the season. Coming into the meet, Ohio State was undefeated in dual meets (6-0) and had only ventured outside the state of Ohio once all season for a meet.

• It was only Michigan's second home meet of the season, and first since the season opener on October 8 against Minnesota. The final home meet is next Saturday (Jan. 29) against Penn State.

• Ohio State led 28-27 after winning two of the first three events. Michigan won eight of the next 11 events, with Ohio State winning the one- and three-meter diving and the 100-yard freestyle.

• Michigan beat a ranked opponent for the second time this season. The Wolverines' losses in dual meets have come to No. 1 Stanford, No. 3 Texas, No. 4 Florida, No. 6 California, and No. 13 Minnesota and No. 14 Indiana.

• In the 200-yard freestyle, junior Kristyne Cole (1:51.25) and sophomore Deirdre Jones (1:52.17) swam season-best times, finishing second and fourth, respectively. Junior Liz Koselka (1:51.59) was third. Together, the three top-four finishers scored nine points for the Wolverines in the event.

• Kukors' time in the 100-yard backstroke (56.01) was one-hundredth of a second faster than her season-best time. She swam 56.02 against Northwestern/Notre Dame last Saturday (Jan. 8).

• Dauw swam a season-best time in the 200-yard butterfly (2:07.21).

• Chokran and fellow freshman Nikki Hubbard finished 1-2 in the 100-yard breaststroke, finishing less than a tenth-of-a-second apart (Chokran at 1:04.53, Hubbard at 1:04.62).

• Ropeik and freshman Erin Bridgewater scored season-high times on the three-meter board: Ropeik (310.43), Bridgewater (254.63).

• Mehesan had season-best times in the 50-yard freestyle (23.17) and the 100-yard freestyle (51.08).

• Michigan would have won the final two events had they not been exhibitioned. Kukors had the fastest time in the 200-yard individual medley (2:02.26) and the 400-yard freestyle relay outpaced Ohio State (3:25.31).


Michigan Head Coach Jim Richardson
On the meet against Ohio State ... "I thought we were good in many spots. We weren't rested, but we didn't want to be. We don't want anything to be easy. I really like the way we've trained this week. We went really hard on Wednesday, and from here on out we'll start to taper down. This is certainly a deserving win. I think everyone on the team had good swims today."

On how Friday's meet differed from last season's meeting with Ohio State ... "I think Ohio State experienced what we went through last year. It's tougher to travel than people think. You drive for three hours, warm up for another hour or two and then swim a meet... it's tough. I think having the home-pool advantage is big, especially in this rivalry."

On Mattie Kukors ... "I think Mattie is really starting to come into her own. She's becoming the swimmer we all know she is. Obviously she swam a very solid meet and I think the best is yet to come for her.

Michigan Head Diving Coach KZ Li
On the divers' performance against Ohio State ... "We are doing pretty well right now. We're young, and it shows at times, but we are competing very hard. Rachael [Ropeik] in particular, has been down, but had a very good meet today. That's good for her."

On how the divers will prepare for the upcoming meet ... "Well, Penn State has some very good divers. I guess it depends on timing, and who performs better the day of the meet. I know they are diving much better than other teams. But our goal now is to continue to prepare for Big Tens and get good, quality dives in every meet."

U-M Sophomore Mattie Kukors
On preparation for the week ... "It's Ohio State week. That really explains it all. We were all pretty pumped up. It was a hard week of training, increasing our output in both yards and intensity. We just wanted to go out there and swim fast. Pretty soon, we'll start to tone it down as we get closer to Big Tens, but it certainly feels good to win this one."

On the emotions of the team during the meet ... "I think we all had a great attitude. We vibe off each other. You see one of your teammates have a great swim and you just feed off it. It keeps our spirits high. Energy is everything in swimming and we had a lot of it today."

U-M Junior Alexa Mehesan
On the meet against Ohio State ... "It was nice to get out there and swim fast. It feels good knowing that it was against Ohio State. We worked really hard this week and trained really hard, so to come out and swim the way we did was fun."

On her preparations for the week ... "Like I said, it was hard. We went full-blow on Wednesday, nothing special. It was just hard. With Natasha out for this meet, I knew I had to step it up and be a leader."

Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423