Weekly Release #11: U-M Goes After Big Ten Championship

Feb. 15, 2010

Wed-Sat., Feb. 17-20 -- at Big Ten Championships (West Lafayette, Ind.), 6:30 p.m./11 a.m.
Live Results | Championships Central

After a brief two-week layoff, the No. 16-ranked University of Michigan women's swimming and diving team (4-6, 2-3 Big Ten) heads to the 2009-10 Big Ten Women's Swimming and Diving Championships beginning on Wednesday (Feb. 17) held at the Boilermaker Aquatic Pavilion in West Lafayette, Ind. Wednesday's competition will feature two relays starting at 6:30 p.m., while the remaining three days (Thu-Sat., Feb. 18-20) have morning sessions starting at 11 a.m. and evening sessions beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The final day of the championships (Saturday, Feb. 20) will be televised by the Big Ten Network on Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. (ET). Steve Schlanger and Molly Sullivan will provide the call.

Schedule of Events
Day 1 Finals - Wednesday, Feb. 17, 6:30 p.m.
200 Medley Relay
800 Freestyle Relay

Day 2 Trials - Thursday, Feb. 18, 11 a.m.
500 Freestyle
200 Individual Medley
50 Freestyle
1-Meter Diving (Preliminaries and Consolation Final), Approx. 1 p.m.

Day 2 Finals - Thursday, Feb. 18, 6:30 p.m.
200 Freestyle Relay
500 Freestyle
200 Individual Medley
50 Freestyle
1-Meter Diving

Day 3 Trials - Friday, Feb. 19, 11:00 a.m.
400 Individual Medley
100 Butterfly
200 Freestyle
100 Breaststroke
100 Backstroke
3-Meter Diving (Preliminaries and Consolation Final), Approx. 1 p.m.

Day 3 Finals - Friday, Feb. 19, 6:30 p.m.
400 Medley Relay
400 Individual Medley
100 Butterfly
200 Freestyle
100 Breaststroke
100 Backstroke
3-Meter Diving

Day 4 Trials - Saturday, Feb. 20, 11:00 a.m..
200 Backstroke
100 Freestyle
200 Breaststroke
200 Butterfly
Platform Diving (Preliminaries and Consolation Final), Approx. 1 p.m.
1,650 Freestyle (approx. 4:15 p.m.)

Day 4 Finals - Saturday, Feb. 20, 6:30 p.m.
1,650 Freestyle (Last heat of timed finals)
200 Backstroke
100 Freestyle
200 Breaststroke
200 Butterfly
Platform Diving
400 Freestyle Relay

Big Ten Records
Michigan holds five Big Ten Championships records:
» 1,650-yard freestyle: Emily Brunemann, 15:51.29 (2008)
» 100-yard butterfly: Caroline Rodriguez, 51.85 (preliminaries) (2009)
» 200-yard individual medley: Margaret Kelly, 1:56.80 (2008)
» One-meter diving (11 dives): Mary Fischbach, 520.50 (1988)
» Platform diving (11 dives): Cinnamon Woods, 587.05 (1994)

Complete Big Ten Record Book

Michigan at Big Tens
Michigan has had 117 swimmers, 52 relay teams and five divers win Big Ten titles. As a team, the Wolverines have won 14 Big Ten team title crowns (since 1982), including 12 straight from 1987-1998. U-M's last Big Ten title crown came during in the 2003-04 season.

Last Year at Big Tens
Michigan finished fourth at last year's Big Ten Championships, held at Canham Natatorium. The Wolverines were as high as third after the second day. Indiana took first place to win the Big Ten crown.

Former Wolverine Caroline Rodriguez (2008-09) was U-M's only Big Ten champion (100-yard butterfly) and was also the only Michigan swimmer to earn all-Big Ten honors (first team). Senior Margaret Kelly (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer) re-aggravated an injury during the second day of competition and was forced to miss the remainder of the championships. Senior Emily Brunemann (Crescent Springs, Ky./Notre Dame Academy) redshirted the 2008-09 season.

U-M's Big Ten Champions
There are only two former Big Ten champions on this year's roster:

Emily Brunemann
500-yard freestyle (2008)
1,650-yard freestyle (2008)
** Brunemann also was named Big Ten Swimmer of the Year in 2008

Margaret Kelly
100-yard butterfly (2008)
200-yard individual medley (2008)
400-yard freestyle relay (2008)
200-yard freestyle relay (2007)
400-yard freestyle relay (2008)

Diving In
Keep an eye on three divers during the Big Ten Championships. Sophomore Amanda Lohman (Pittsburgh, Pa./Upper St. Clair) has emerged as the team's top performer on the springboards during her second season, reaching career highs in all three events. For most of the season, Lohman owned top team marks on both one- and three-meter boards and was named Big Ten Diver of the Week on two occasions.

Junior Rachael Ropeik (Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron) has also had a breakout campaign, setting new career highs on all three boards during the month of January. She holds team-high scores on three-meter and platform and has scored eight top-three finishes on the season.

Like Ropeik, senior Stephanie O'Callaghan (Howell, Mich./Howell) also placed in the top three on eight separate occasions. She was named Big Ten Diver of the Week back on Dec. 7 for her efforts at the EMU Invitational (Dec. 4-5).

Coming On Strong
Over the last month, sophomores Liz Johnson (Milford, Mich./Milford) and Alexa Mehesan (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley) have taken their swimming to another level. For the last three dual meets, Mehesan has taken first place in at least one race (100-yard butterfly against Northwestern and Ohio State; 100-yard backstroke against Michigan State) and scored four other top-three finishes (second place in 100-yard backstroke against Ohio State and third against Northwestern; third place in 50-yard freestyle against Indiana and Michigan State).

Primarily used as a backstroker, Johnson has used the time to showcase her versatility, taking first place in both the 200-yard freestyle against Michigan State and the 100-yard backstroke against Northwestern.

Among swimmers, Johnson is third on the team with seven event wins, while Mehesan has four. Together, they have combined for 20 top-three finishes (Johnson, 11; Mehesan, 9).

Saving The Best For Last
Michigan's freshman duo of Julia Andracki (Arlington Heights, Ill./Prospect) and Mattie Kukors (Auburn, Wash./Mountainview) are hoping their best swimming of the season is ahead of them. Andracki holds team-best times in both breaststroke races, while Kukors has the fastest team times in both backstrokes.

Haven't We Been Here Before?
The Wolverines are already pretty familiar with the Boilermaker Aquatic Center, having won the three-day Purdue Invitational back in November. Michigan set 15 season-best times at the Purdue Invitational, including on all five relays. A full list of season-best times can be found below:

Top Times
50-yard Freestyle: 22.85, Natasha Moodie (Nov. 20 at Purdue Invitational)
100-yard Freestyle: 49.34 Margaret Kelly, (Nov. 21 at Purdue Invitational)
200-yard Freestyle: 1:48.88, Margaret Kelly (Jan. 16 vs. Northwestern)
500-yard Freestyle: 4:41.84, Emily Brunemann (Nov. 20 at Purdue Invitational)p
1,000-yard Freestyle: 9:43.00, Emily Brunemann (Oct. 23 vs. Toledo/Toronto)
1,650-yard Freestyle: 16:11.67, Emily Brunemann (Nov. 6 at Florida/Stanford)
100-yard Backstroke: 55.79, Mattie Kukors (Nov. 21 at Purdue Invitational)p
200-yard Backstroke: 1:58.00, Mattie Kukors (Nov. 22 at Purdue Invitational)
100-yard Breaststroke: 1:02.58, Julia Andracki (Nov. 21 at Purdue Invitational)
200-yard Breaststroke: 2:15.15, Julia Andracki (Nov. 22 at Purdue Invitational)
100-yard Butterfly: 53.07, Margaret Kelly (Nov. 21 at Purdue Invitational)
200-yard Butterfly: 1:59.19, Margaret Kelly (Dec. 4 at EMU Invitational)
200-yard Individual Medley: 1:57.11, Margaret Kelly (Nov. 20 at Purdue Invitational)
400-yard Individual Medley: 4:15.08, Emily Brunemann (Nov. 21 at Purdue Invitational)p
One-meter diving: 307.50, Amanda Lohman (Oct. 23 vs. Toledo/Toronto)
Three-meter diving: 335.40, Rachael Ropeik (Jan. 23 at Ohio State)
Platform diving: 295.30, Rachael Ropeik (Jan. 9 vs. Indiana)
200-yard Freestyle Relay: 1:30.38, Kelly, L. Cole, Mehesan, Moodie (Nov. 20 at Purdue Invitational)
400-yard Freestyle Relay: 3:19.22, Kelly, L. Cole, Mehesan, Moodie (Nov. 22 at Purdue Invitational)
800-yard Freestyle Relay: 7:16.32, Brunemann, Kelly, Koselka, K. Cole (Nov. 21 at Purdue Invitational)
200-yard Medley Relay: 1:39.87, Kelly, Andracki, Dauw, Moodie (Nov. 22 at Purdue Invitational)
400-yard Medley Relay: 3:39.52, Johnson, Andracki, Kelly, Moodie (Nov. 20 at Purdue Invitational)

p Preliminaries

Last Time Out
Michigan's last dual meet of the season came back on Jan. 29 against in-state rival Michigan State (Senior Night), which the Wolverines won 127-82, stretching the win streak against the Spartans to 21. U-M is now 31-2 all-time against Michigan State and has not lost to the Spartans in a dual meet since 1986.

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. [ Full Story ]

A Seat At The Winners' Table
Scoring points in swimming is all about depth, which Michigan has. The table below illustrates Michigan swimmers' top three finishers on the season (through Jan. 29):

Emily Brunemann165223
Margaret Kelly174122
Natasha Moodie55414
Mattie Kukors53513
Liz Johnson72211
Leigh Cole37111
Julia Andracki07310
Emily Hanson1539
Alexa Mehesan4239
Caitlin Dauw3418
Melissa Lang0156
Liz Koselka0055
Claire Tyler0123
Courtney Beyer1203
Lori Morton1012
Deirdre Jones0022
Ashley Cohagen0112
Emily Christy1001
Keenan Koss0011
Kally Fayhee0101
Katherine Carl0101
Katrin Vetter0011

Amanda Lohman87217
Stephanie O'Callaghan2158
Rachael Ropeik0448

Making The Mark
The following Michigan swimmers below have met NCAA 'B' qualifying standards:

Emily Brunemann
500-yard freestyle: 4:41.84p
1,650-yard freestyle: 16:11.67
400-yard individual medley: 4:15.08

Margaret Kelly
100-yard freestyle: 49.34
200-yard freestyle: 1:48.88
100-yard butterfly: 53.07p
200-yard butterfly: 1:59.19
200-yard individual medley: 1:57.11
400-yard individual medley: 4:19.30

Natasha Moodie
50-yard freestyle: 22.85
100-yard freestyle: 49.66

Mattie Kukors
200-yard backstroke: 1:58.00
400-yard individual medley: 4:16.55

Julia Andracki
100-yard breaststroke: 1:02.58
200-yard breaststroke: 2:15.15

Emily Hanson
500-yard freestyle: 4:51.65p

Kristyne Cole
500-yard freestyle: 4:51.12p

Alexa Mehesan
100-yard butterfly: 54.00

Caitlin Dauw
100-yard butterfly: 54.24
200-yard butterfly: 1:59.89

200-yard freestyle relay: 1:30.38 (Kelly, Leigh Cole, Mehesan, Moodie)
400-yard freestyle relay: 3:19.22 (Kelly, L. Cole, Mehesan, Moodie)
800-yard freestyle relay: 7:16.32 (Brunemann, Kelly, Liz Koselka, Kristyne Cole)
200-yard medley relay: 1:39.87 (Kelly, Andracki, Dauw, Moodie)
400-yard medley relay: 3:39.52 (Liz Johnson, Andracki, Kelly, Moodie)

p Preliminaries

First-Half Recap
Michigan started out 3-0 after scoring victories over Notre Dame (165-133), Toledo (170-120) and Toronto (198-81) in October, making it the best start since the 1997-98 season. Over the next three weekends, the Wolverines went on the road and face four teams that ranked in the CSCAA top 10 nationally: Indiana (174-215) & Texas (149-235) on Oct. 30-31 and Florida (137-292) and Stanford (122-307) on Nov. 6-7. Despite the four losses, Michigan closed out the 2009 calendar year with back-to-back invitational wins, taking first at both the Purdue Invitational (Nov. 20-22) and the Eastern Michigan Invitational (Dec. 4-5). The Wolverines made it three in a row with their win at Copa Coqui (Jan. 2).

Second-Half Recap
After the turn of the New Year, the Wolverines spent the month of January facing conference foes in dual-meet action. Three of Michigan's four dual meets came at home, with the Wolverines winning two of them: Jan. 16 against Northwestern and Jan. 29 against Michigan State. Michigan also lost to Indiana for the second time this season (the other meeting came Oct. 30-31 in double dual meet at the University of Texas) and lost to Ohio State on Jan. 23 for the first time in nearly 25 years. U-M finished with a 4-6 record in dual meets and a 2-3 mark against Big Ten opponents.

Tested Against the Best
Michigan is ranked No. 16 in the most recent CSCAA/CollegeSwimming.com poll. The Wolverines have faced some of the top teams this season in dual meets, including Texas (No. 3), Stanford (No. 4), Florida (No. 7), Indiana (No. 14) and Northwestern (No. 23). A complete poll can be found below:

No., Team             Points
 1. Georgia (24)      1,034
 2. Arizona (9)       1,007
 3. Texas (10)          981
 4. Stanford (8)        960
 5. California (1)      908
 6. Texas A&M           856
 7. Florida             804
 8. Auburn              727
 9. Southern Cal        667
10. Minnesota           645
11. Virginia            619
12. Tennessee           468
13. Louisville          429
14. Indiana             427
15. North Carolina      415
16. MICHIGAN            386
17. Wisconsin           308
18. SMU                 202
19. Arkansas            201
20. Virginia Tech       187
21. Missouri            151
22. Purdue              139
23. Northwestern        132
24. LSU                 125
25. Florida State        88

Receiving Votes: UCLA 77, Brigham Young 65, Ohio State 55, Maryland 46, Notre Dame 34, Alabama 30, Arizona State 28, Penn State 26, Kentucky 19, Princeton 19, Georgia Tech 15, North Carolina State 14, West Virginia 11, Toledo 10, Iowa 9, San Diego State 8, Houston 6, UC-Santa Barbara 6, Washington State 6, Oregon State 4, Kansas 3, Hawaii 2, South Carolina 2, Duke 1, Harvard 1, Miami (Ohio) 1

Wolverines Ink Six For 2010-11
Head coach Jim Richardson announced the signings of six high school standouts to National Letters of Intent during the November early signing period. Swimmers Courtney Beidler (Richboro, Pa./Council Rock South), Erin Cameron (Rockwood, Mich./Oscar A. Carlson), Angela Chokran (South Elgin, Ill./St. Charles North), Nikki Hubbard (Granger, Ind./Penn), Molly Osterhage (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) and diver Erin Bridgewater (Kawkawlin, Mich./Western) will join Michigan for the 2010-11 season.

Local Connections
Michigan has not needed to go very far to bring swimmers into the program. Nineteen members of the 2009-10 squad hail from the state of Michigan, including 10 from the Ann Arbor area. Of those ten, eight are Ann Arbor Pioneer (H.S.) products: Val Barthelemy, Ashley Cohagen, Kristyne Cole, Leigh Cole, Kristina Jaeger, Kelly, Liz Koselka, and Carleigh Schwartz. The other two from Ann Arbor are Megan Craig (Mercy) and Rachael Ropeik (Huron).

Stay Connected
Michigan swimming is now on Twitter. Sign up for Twitter and follow the Wolverines (michigan_swim) with up-to-the-minute news and information throughout the season and beyond.

Leading the Wolverines
Michigan head swimming coach Jim Richardson is in his 25th season at the helm for the Wolverines. Over that time, his teams have dominated the Big Ten, winning 12 consecutive league titles from 1987-98 to add to the program's 13th in 2001 and 14th in 2004. Since taking over in 1985-86, Michigan has finished in the NCAA top 10 on 14 occasions. In 1995, U-M finished in second place as a team, following that in 1996 by hosting the NCAA Championships and finishing third.

Richardson holds a career record of 163-65 in dual-meet competition, including an impressive 107-19 mark in Big Ten action. Richardson has coached nine individual national champions, 156 NCAA All-Americans and 184 honorable mention All-Americans. On the conference level, he has guided 159 individual and relay conference champions and has been named the Big Ten Coach of the Year six times. A two-time NCAA Coach of the Year (1993, '95), Richardson's athletes have excelled in the classroom as well as the pool with 30 CSCAA Academic All-Americans and 236 Academic All-Big Ten nominations.

Chris Bergére is in his eighth season as the head diving coach, and Stefanie Kerska is in her 12th season as an assistant to Richardson.

Up Next
The Wolverines will get very comfortable with the Boilermaker Aquatic Pavilion over the next month. The divers head back to West Lafayette, Ind., for the NCAA Zone-C Diving Regionals from March 12-14. The swimmers that qualify for NCAAs will return from March 18-20 for the NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships.