The Boiling Point: Big Ten Championships
Samantha Pearson

Feb. 18, 2012

This is the Boiling Point, the official blog of the University of Michigan women's swimming and diving team, penned by junior swimmer Samantha Pearson. This weekend, Sam writes from Iowa City, Iowa, the site of this year's Big Ten Championships, to provide a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on at the biggest meet of the season.

DAY 4 (Feb. 18)

Day four of Big Tens is without a doubt the toughest, but we did not let that prevent us from giving it all in the pool today. We had some super tough swims this morning, and it was great to see so many Shewolves make it back for finals!!

Our parents have been the world's best cheerleaders, with chants and cheers not only in the hotel, but outside our bus and at the pool. One of the best Big Ten traditions is the initiation of the newbie parents. On the last day of the meet, they are required to enter the stands and put on some entertainment before the meet starts. It was awesome and hilarious to see the parents dressed up in Maize and Blue wigs, tutus and swim caps, singing Michigan chants and banging obnoxiously on pots!

Starting out the evening swims were our distance girls, and they put up quite the fight in their miles. Also, shoutouts to Ash Cash (Ashley Cohagen) and Little One (Caitlin Dauw) for representing Michigan in the championship final of the 200-yard backstroke and 200-yard butterfly! Before the last relay, we joined with the University of Minnesota to do the "U of M" cheer -- so much energy and so much fun! We ended the night by cheering on Pooks (Amanda Lohman) in the tower diving final, her third final of the meet! She was also Michigan's high-point winner!! Also winning awards were Nay (Linnea Johnson), who was our Sportsmanship Award honoree, and Little One, who was named second team All-Big Ten!

The night ended with our annual banquet with the parents. It was great to see the banquet hall transformed into an explosion of Michigan decorations. We also got to all sing happy birthday to T (Kristyne Cole) and Ang Pang (Angela Chokran)!!

Even though it was not the meet that we had hoped for, Big Tens showed us how tough and persistent the Shewolves are. Nobody stopped fighting in any race. While our final place did not reflect the work and preparation that went into this season, we left the meet PROUD to be a MICHIGAN WOLVERINE.

The Shewolves are back in the pool next week for the Columbus Last Chance meet, and then the preparations for NCAAs begin!!!!



DAY 3 (Feb. 17)

Day three was redemption day. The Shewolves were on a mission to fight our way back up in the standings, and everyone's swims proved how much we were willing to push ourselves for Michigan. We started off finals with one of my all-time favorite cheers -- the rollercoaster cheer. Led by Lizzy (Liz Koselka), all of us in the stands went up and down, side to side at the directions of her command (an added bonus: it is a great way to get your heart rate up!).

With our heart rates up and everyone excited about the session, we were ready to make our statement. All of the swims in finals were gutsy and full of heart. A huge shoutout to Court (Courtney Beidler) for winning the 'B' final of the 400-yard IM and going a lifetime best! Her teary-eyed reaction was a memorable one, and all of us soon joined in on the water works. Another shoutout goes to Minaj (Nikki Hubbard) and Little One (Caitlin Dauw) for fighting to the finish in the 100-yard butterfly. Caitlin's gutsy swim outshined any first-place medal.

Our captain, T (Kristyne Cole), had a great race as well, and it was so much fun invading Hoosier territory on deck to cheer for her in lane eight. The night ended with a solid effort from the backstrokers, and we left the session on a high note with Ash Cash (Ashley Cohagen) being the outside smoker of the 'B' final from lane one. Pooks (Amanda Lohman) also represented the Wolverines with pride with her sixth-place finish on the three-meter springboard.

Tomorrow is the last day of Big Tens, and the teams that are the toughest are the ones that will thrive the most. We have proven ourselves to be tough all meet long, and these last two sessions will be no different. The last day is going to be a test of how badly we want it and how willing we will be to fight through the pain. Expect nothing less of the Shewolves, as we plan on ending the meet with a bang!


DAYS 1 & 2 (Feb. 15-16)

Hello from Iowa City!

Most people look forward to Feb. 14 because they can share it with the ones they love. The Shewolves, on the other hand, count down the hours, minutes and seconds until this day arrives so that we can do what we LOVE! The Big Ten Championships is our time to showcase all of our hard work and to show all of the other schools how GREAT it is to be a MICHIGAN WOLVERINE!!

Tradition is something that is highly valued on this team, and there are so many great Big Ten Championships traditions that this team does that make the meet so special. Everyone on the team is assigned a secret psycher, and throughout the meet, posters, cards and gifts are left in front of the hotel room door for that person. It's so much fun watching teammates try and sneak around the hallway and to see everyone's spirited gifts (although the dart gun has been abused on the bus).

Another great tradition is our parent sendoffs. After our team meeting, all of the parents wait in the lobby chanting our Michigan cheers as we walk to the bus. It's a great feeling to know that Wolverine pride has taken over the hotel.

The last two days of the meet have flown by!! While we did get off to a rough start with our first relay, everyone has kept great team spirit and stayed tough in every race. We had a handful of people go season and lifetime bests on Thursday, and six Shewolves represented the Maize and Blue in the finals! Shoutouts to T (Kristyne Cole), Mighty Mouse (Adrienne Bicek), Court (Courtney Beidler), Tenacious V (Valerie Bartholemy), Schmookie (Alexa Mehesan) and Pooks (Amanda Lohman) for all competing their hearts out in their individual events.

While there have been some ups and downs so far this meet, each day is a new opportunity to show what we are made of, and I know that there is some SUPER FAST swimming in store for the Shewolves the next few days. Check back for updates!



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