Michigan dominates in-state rival in last home meet of season

Sunday, February 4, 2018 - 5:21pm

Clara Smiddy and Michigan won on Senior Night.

Clara Smiddy and Michigan won on Senior Night. Buy this photo
Katelyn Mulcahy/Daily

 

Canham Natatorium was filled with waves of talent and excitement on Friday night. The No. 3 Michigan women’s swimming and diving team finished its season with a 10-0 record, beating in-state rival Michigan State with a final score of 187-89. The Wolverines claimed their first undefeated season in 20 years.

The women took first place in 13 of the 15 events. The Wolverines dominated the meet early on with 1-2-3 touches in the first two events of the meet – the 200-yard IM and 400-yard medley relay.

The juniors helped tally up some points with first-place victories from both Becca Postoll and Taylor Garcia. Postoll touched with a time of 2:03.91 in the 200-yard IM and 1:48.92 in the 200-yard freestyle. Garcia placed first in the 50-yard backstroke (25.31) and 100-yard butterfly (54.69).

The seniors also carried their weight with top finishes in a number of individual events. Emily Kopas placed first in the 50-yard breaststroke (28.35) and Samantha Yeo won the 100-yard IM (55.96).

“We’re seeing a pretty good team,” said Michigan coach Mike Bottom. “We saw some best shaved times tonight, which is fun for coaches to see. The fight is not about beating someone. It’s about swimming fast and they did a great job at that.”

In addition to a successful competition, the team celebrated its senior night for the seven graduating student athletes. Friends and family from across the country gathered in Ann Arbor to attend the last home meet of the season.

“It’s a special night,” said senior Clara Smiddy. “We’ve been through four years of this group of seniors. It has been an incredible ride, ups and downs the whole way. And to bring it back in Canham is definitely an honor. And with a huge crowd tonight, it’s a lot of fun.”

Michigan also welcomed back several Olympian alumni, including Melinda Harrison and gold-medalist Ginny Duenkel. These individuals were recognized for their Olympic achievements during a small ceremony halfway through the meet.

“This is the first time I’ve been back in 10 years,” Duenkel said. “It feels like I’m back home again. I love this place.”

The Wolverines are preparing for the Big Ten Championships next month. Michigan is currently the reigning Big Ten Champion, hoping to reclaim the title for a third consecutive year.

With just two meets before the season closes, some swimmers are thinking about swimming beyond the collegiate level. Many swimmers have aspirations to compete in the upcoming Olympics. However, other seniors are declaring the end to their swimming career after the Big Ten Championships.

“After college I hopefully will take the summer off,” Smiddy said. “I’ll be done with college after swimming. I want to catch up with friends and family around the country.”