BY EMILY O'DONNELL
Daily Sports Writer
Published March 20, 2011
The No. 16 Michigan women’s swimming and diving team competed in Austin, Texas for its final competition of the season — the NCAA Championships.
“It’s the fastest women’s swimming meet in the world for short course,” junior Caitlin Dauw said. “We all didn’t really know what it is like to compete here until we did it.”
Six swimmers and a diver represented Michigan in the 40-team event.
Dauw picked up her third honorable mention at the championships. She went 1:58.42 in the 200-fly finals and 52.77 seconds in the 100-yard butterfly. Dauw also earned the honor of competing in the 200-yard freestyle and 400 yard individual medley relay teams, racing the butterfly in the medley relay.
Dauw competed in the 200-medley relay with sophomore Mattie Kukors, freshman Angela Chokran and senior Natasha Moodie. The quartet set a new school record last month at the Big Ten Championships.
They were four seconds behind the top-finishing team — Cal Berkeley.
Moodie competed well in the 50-yard freestyle, racing in a swim-off against two competitors. She placed 17th in the event with a time of 22.37. She also was able to break the 50-second barrier of the 100-yard freestyle, finishing with a time of 49.46.
Coming out of a long-tapered period — cooling down hard practices in order to rest up for a big race — the team struggled to maintain its momentum.
“It was important to taper for Big Tens in order to qualify for NCAA's,” Dauw said. “That was our main goal at the meet. It was just very hard to work off of that taper at this meet, because a lot of people weren’t able to hold their times.”
“It’s hard to build back up a month after a conference meet. There’s always something we could have done better. But, overall, we performed well," Moodie added.
Each of the six swimmers who competed this weekend received an honorable mention, although none of them were able to qualify in the finals Saturday night.
The Wolverines tied with Iowa at the conclusion of the meet in 30th place, after dropping four places from the first day.
But the Wolverines weren't necessarily looking for any broken records or gold medals.
“Coming here, our main goal is to have fun,” Moodie said. “This team is the best we have had, and our chemistry makes us a family.”