Michigan Sinks Spartans on Senior Night

Jan. 29, 2010

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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Canham Natatorium)
Score: No. 16 Michigan 127, Michigan State 82
Record: U-M (4-6, 2-3 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Wed-Sat, Feb. 17-20 -- at Big Ten Championships (West Lafayette, Ind.)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- On "Senior Night", the University of Michigan women's swimming and diving team toppled in-state rival Michigan State, 127-82, in the final meet at Canham Natatorium this season. Michigan athletes claimed top honors in the meet's first eight races, occupying the top three spots in four and finishing 1-2 in three others. Michigan would have extended its lead considerably after the ninth event (100 Back), but all competitors in the events following were exhibitioned.

With the win, Michigan improves to 31-2 all-time against Michigan State in dual meets. The Wolverines have won the last 21 dual meets against their in-state rivals, and have not lost to the Spartans since 1986, head coach Jim Richardson's first year in Ann Arbor.

Michigan was in complete command from the very beginning, starting with the 200-yard medley relay. The Wolverines finished 1-2 in that relay, setting the tone for the dominance that continued throughout the entire evening. The Wolverines swept all three spots during the next two races (200 Free, 50 Free), with wins coming courtesy of sophomore Liz Johnson (Milford, Mich./Milford) and junior Natasha Moodie (Miramar, Fla./Miramar), respectively. The Spartans finally scored a top-three finish in the 400-yard individual medley, a race in which there were only four swimmers. Michigan senior Lori Morton (Portage, Mich./Central) won to give the Wolverines another first-place finish and Michigan led 74-18 after six events.

Michigan once again occupied the top three spots in the 100-yard butterfly and the 100-yard freestyle, with seniors Margaret Kelly (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer) and Leigh Cole (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer) scoring wins. Sophomore Alexa Mehesan (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley) also managed to touch the wall first in the 100-yard backstroke.

Sophomore diver Amanda Lohman (Pittsburgh, Pa./Upper St. Clair) continued her strong sophomore season with a clean sweep on both diving events. She scored a new career-high score of 335.10 on the three-meter board and a 304.57 on one-meter (both first-place marks). Junior Rachael Ropeik (Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron) scored 310.58 on the three-meter, less than a point behind second-place Sarah Clay of Michigan State. Senior Stephanie O'Callaghan (Howell, Mich./Howell) also received a third-place finish on the one-meter.

With the dual-meet season concluded, Michigan returns to the pool Wednesday, Feb. 17, for the start of the Big Ten Championships, being held at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center in West Lafayette, Ind. The first day of competition begins at 6:30 p.m. and the four-day event runs through Saturday, Feb. 20. The Wolverines finished fourth at last year's Big Ten Championships.


• Three swimmers scored new career highs: Morton in the 400-yard IM (4:30.27), sophomore Megan Craig (Ann Arbor, Mich./Mercy) in the 500 Free (4:57.16) and Johnson in the 200-yard freestyle (1:51.89).


Michigan Head Coach Jim Richardson
On his team's response this week following last week's loss at Ohio State ... "We were a little better this week. We stuck to our training and I was actually surprised as to how well we actually performed. We were able to get some people more rest this week, which was good, but as a team, I really like where we are right now in our training cycle. We aren't compromising anything -- we are sticking to the plan. We're also way ahead of where we were at this point last year, so that is an encouraging sign."

On getting swimmers meet action in different events ... "You can hammer away at your main stroke and that takes a toll on your physically and mentally. We wanted to move some people around and swim other events. It was the right meet and the right time for us to do that. I think of someone like [freshman] Julia Andracki, who showed a lot of guts tonight. She had a lot of fatigue all week, but she fought through it and really did an excellent job tonight."

On his senior class ... "When you look around major college athletic teams, you'll find very few who have a 13-member senior class. There's no attrition. Our seniors all come from diverse backgrounds, but they are not diverse when it comes to Michigan. That's an important thing for us. And more important than the things they do in the pool, our seniors are ready to make a difference when they leave here, with whatever they choose. That's what being at Michigan can do."

On his team's outlook until Big Tens ... "We want to stay smart and stay healthy. Swimming is as much of a physical sport as it is a mental, something you can say about pretty much every sport. Our goal, come Big Tens, is to be faster than we've ever been. That's the story for every other team in our conference, too. We can't worry about anyone else but ourselves."

U-M Senior Margaret Kelly
On the emotional "Senior Night" ceremony ... "I was thinking about it the whole day, talking about it with the other girls in my house. It didn't hit me until we met in the team room before the meet. Jim said he would miss all of us and that's when we all lost it. To look back here, the four years we all had and to know this is the last time we'll be here for a dual meet is tough."

On the team's focus for the remainder of the season ... "We're all going to keep working hard. Some of us might taper off, but that's doesn't mean we'll slow down. There was a lot of energy on the deck tonight and I know we'll save some of that for Big Tens. The thing about swimming is, you don't always need to feel great to go real fast. We'll be ready."

U-M Senior Emily Brunemann
On the "Senior Night" ceremony ... "I had mixed emotions. It was real sad because it's our last dual meet ever, but I think everybody here swam really well, especially our rested swimmers. It was fun to be a part of this atmosphere."

On swimming the 100-yard breaststroke ... "Before the meet, Jim asked us what we wanted to swim and I wanted to do something different. I actually enjoy the breaststroke. I just don't get to swim it a whole lot."

On her goals for the remainder of the season ... "Right now, it's all about preparing for Big Tens in a few weeks. That is my focus right now. I'm saving up for that. I definitely want to go back there and improve upon what I accomplished two years ago."

Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423