Wolverines Sweep Diving Events, Overtaken by No. 25 PSU on Final Race

Jan. 29, 2011

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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Canham Natatorium)
Score: #25 Penn State 123, #15 Michigan 120
Records: Michigan (6-6, 4-3 Big Ten), Penn State (7-2, 1-1 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Wed-Sat., Feb. 16-19 -- at Big Ten Championships (Bloomington, Ind.), 11 a.m./6:30 p.m.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 15-ranked University of Michigan women's swimming and diving team lost its lead on the final race of the day, falling, 123-120, to No. 25 Penn State on Senior Day (Saturday, Jan. 29) at Canham Natatorium. The meet came down to the the 400-yard freestyle relay, with Penn State edging Michigan out over the final 100 yards to claim the victory.

Sophomore Adrienne Bicek (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove North) gave Michigan its first victory of the day in the 1,000-yard freestyle (10.03.90). Senior Natasha Moodie (Miramar, Fla./Miramar) followed with a victory in the 50-yard freestyle by one-hundredth of a second over teammate Alexa Mehesan (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley). Mehesan added a first-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle, touching the wall with a career-best time of 50.61. Michigan picked up points in the 500-yard freestyle, as Bicek and junior Kristyne Cole (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer) finished 1-2 (Bicek, 4:53.84; Cole, 4:59.07).

Over in the diving well, senior Rachael Ropeik (Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron) and junior Amanda Lohman (Pittsburgh, Pa./Upper St. Clair) finished 1-2 off the three-meter board. Ropeik, fresh off her career-high performance on the same board one night earlier against Michigan State (Friday, Jan. 28), scored 324.23, while Lohman was given a 312.45. They swapped places on the one-meter springboard, with Lohman taking first (304.70) and Ropeik finishing in second (275.20). Freshman Erin Bridgewater (Kawkawlin, Mich./Bay City Western) was in third (270.55).

With the dual-meet portion of the schedule concluded, Michigan now turns its sights to the Big Ten Championships, which begin Wednesday, Feb. 16, and run through Saturday, Feb. 19, at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center in Bloomington, Ind.


• Michigan closes the dual-meet portion of the schedule at 6-6 overall, and 4-3 in the Big Ten.

• The Wolverines fell to 9-3 all-time in dual meets against Penn State. It was the two teams' first dual meet since 2001-02 season (also a Penn State win).

• Michigan led, 110-97, with two events to go, but Penn State went 1-2 in the 200-yard breaststroke and then won the 400-yard freestyle relay to steal the win.

• The top four places in the 200-yard butterfly finished within four tenths of a second of each other. Chelsea Weedman (Penn State) won at 2:00.28, with Bicek in second (2:00.42), Alex Young (Penn State) in third (2:00.59) and Caitlin Dauw in fourth (2:00.67).


Michigan Head Coach Jim Richardson
On the team's performance ... "This team's performance today showed how much heart they truly have. They were going out there to swim until they had nothing left in the tank. Penn State is a very good team, and we knew that coming in. Their times in just about every race were better than ours, so we knew it was going to be a challenge to beat them. Give credit to our divers; they kept it close and gave us an opportunity to win. We've also got to tip our hats to their last relay team. We can't fault our four since they swam a very good race, too, but they were just a little bit better than us there. It was an exciting swim meet to watch, and that's what swimming should be about."

On if the result of the meet will carry over ... "It won't affect us. We have bigger fish to fry at the Big Ten Championships, and it starts Monday. We've got 2 1/2 weeks to prepare to swim our best races of the season. It starts with proper rest and proper recovery."

On the fatigue of back-to-back meets ... "It was important for us to do that. I thought we competed well today, in a lot of ways better than last night. I'm not at all disappointed with the way we swam. We left it all out there."

Michigan Head Diving Coach KZ Li
On the diving performances ... "I thought they did really well. Rachael was really good on three-meter today. It was really a great to see a senior do that on Senior Day. Amanda was pretty normal, but she knows she was a little bit off. Overall, it was great to see our divers score some points for us in this meet."

U-M Senior Diver Rachael Ropeik
On Senior Day emotions ... "It was overwhelming, but happy. When Natasha and I came in, there were seven of us. We're leaving with just two. To come out here and perform the way we did, in front of our fans, it was meaningful. It's been a long journey for us, but I'm very proud of what we've done and how we've overcome the adversity."

U-M Sophomore Adrienne Bicek
On the meet against Penn State ... "We wanted to go out and represent Michigan. We've been training hard, and this just gave us another opportunity to race against a very good team in Penn State. The atmosphere was fantastic. There was so much more energy on the deck today, with the guys swimming and all the fans here. It was fun to be a part of."

Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423