Teams can be made up in many different ways. Some are led by stars; others are driven by their depth, getting contributions from many.
The Michigan women’s swimming and diving team (4-0 overall, 2-0 Big Ten) demonstrated it has elements of both, as it defeated the 15th-ranked Hoosiers (3-4, 0-1), 186-114, in a dual meet on Saturday.
Sophomore Olivia Carter led the way for the Wolverines, making her second competitive appearance for Michigan after recently becoming eligible. Carter won all three individual events she took part in, and was a member of the medley relay team that took first.
The stands were packed, and the energy in Canham Natatorium was overwhelming. The environment and support helped several Wolverines compete at maximum intensity, something that is sometimes missing from a midseason meet.
“The energy was amazing,” Carter said. “It was loud, and I was so happy to be there. … The stands were packed, which I’ve never really experienced that before, and it was awesome. I felt really supported, everyone was so happy and encouraging, and it helped me be the best swimmer I could be for the team.”
Michigan coach Mike Bottom noticed the impact Carter had made after the meet as well, emphasizing what a boost the All-American and former SEC Freshman of the Year will add for the Wolverines throughout the rest of the season.
“Olivia was awesome today,” Bottom said. “We’re lucky to have her, and you can see she’s embraced the Michigan way.”
Sophomore backstroker Maggie MacNeil had a strong performance, winning the 100-yard backstroke by over three seconds and the 100-yard freestyle by over a second. MacNeil was a member of the medley relay with Carter, along with senior Miranda Tucker and junior Daria Pyshnenko.
Michigan also got contributions from freshman Kaitlynn Sims, who won the two distance events, and junior Sierra Schmidt, who finished second behind her in both events, and several seconds ahead of the chasing Indiana swimmers.
The Wolverines swept both the 100-yard and 200-yard butterfly, with sophomore Victoria Kwan and senior Vanessa Krause finishing a few seconds behind Carter in the 200-yard race. Carter also was joined by Krause and freshman Megan Glass in sweeping the 100-yard butterfly.
“We had some people that were down,” Bottom said, “and they fought. Whether they swim really great, or not so much, they still step into the team and help it keep moving forward.”
The diving team helped Michigan as well, with freshman Lucy Hogan, sophomore Camryn McPherson, junior Nikki Canale and freshman Lauren Cheetham claiming first, second, third and fourth, respectively, in 3-meter springboard. Hogan scored 311.93 points in the win. Canale won the 1-meter as well, scoring 279.97 points.
“I’m really confident now,” MacNeil said. “I’m really excited to have (Carter) because she’s such a great asset to the team, and just the extra confidence there will help the team.”