Many things can change in the span of three months. Winter turns into spring. A school’s Greek life can come, go, and return again. A team that seems destined for success at the beginning of a season can spiral into failure.

The No. 4 Michigan women’s swim team has spent three months on the road, finding success during its travels. Saturday, the Wolverines brought home that winning spirit to Canham Natatorium, beating No. 10 Indiana.

Right from the start of the first race, it was easy to see why many players on the team felt energized to be swimming in Ann Arbor for the first time since September. Canham Natatorium was packed almost to capacity, and every Michigan win was accompanied by a chorus of Hail to the Victors.

“It’s great energy, and we feed off of it,” said Michigan coach Mike Bottom. “We had some great swimming today… Having our band and our supporters here made a huge difference.”

Although the Wolverines were missing junior Siobhán Haughey, a former Olympian, Michigan was able to win relatively easily, 180-120.

“I was so impressed with the whole team,” Bottom said. “We had one of our best swimmers, Siobhán, injured and not able to swim. That came up at the last minute. We had to make some changes due to Siobhán not swimming today, but our captains led us and the whole team really responded to that. They filled in where we needed to. Our fight was outstanding.”

Without Haughey, Michigan faced the tough task of facing Indiana’s Lilly King, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in her own right. While King won multiple events, performances from swimmers like senior Clara Smiddy helped offset that. Smiddy won two events, including a three-second win over King in the 200-yard IM.

The Wolverines specifically dominated the freestyle events, taking the top three spots in the 50, 100, 500 and the 1000-yard freestyle. Junior Rose Bi, who won the 500-yard freestyle, was confident in the team’s chances to win.

“We’re definitely a really strong team, but I know that we’re one of the best teams in the nation,” Bi said. “So I was pretty confident that we could beat them, even though they gave us a lot of challenges. I also saw a lot of opportunities to improve myself. They have some people who are better than us, so in the future, I can do better in these rounds.”

Just like Bi, Bottom saw the match as a golden opportunity for improvement, looking ahead to the Big Ten Championships and NCAAs. Against good teams, better ones rise to the occasion.

“We rose, they rose,” Bottom said. “They swam very fast against us, that was their fastest dual meet by far, and that was on both sides. We rose, and that was one of our fastest dual meets by far… When you face good competition you rise to it, and we learned.”

Many lessons can be learned from spending so much time on the road. The Wolverines found that out for themselves over the last three months, and Saturday’s domination of the Hoosiers was a glimpse of that.

Now, only time will tell if those lessons will pay off for Michigan in the postseason.

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