As a talented high school swimmer from Connecticut, Emily-Clare Fenn received lots of recruiting letters glorifying each interested university. But the letter sent by Michigan women’s swimming coach Jim Richardson was unorthodox.
“He sent out a list of all the bad things about Michigan,” Fenn said.
Chilling temperatures, expensive tuition and difficult classes aside, Fenn couldn’t be more impressed with her coach, school and teammates.
“Knowing that he was honest and doing things the right way,” Fenn said of her coach, helped in her decision to become a Wolverine. “He’s just really awesome and very flexible with classes.”
But not quite as flexible of a swimmer as Fenn, a junior, who has competed in up to 10 out of 18 events in a single meet this season.
Last weekend, Fenn won the 1,650-yard freestyle with an NCAA consideration time of 16:42.94, as well as the 500-yard freestyle (4:57.07) – times which were paramount to her team’s success as the Wolverines narrowly defeated Northwestern 155-142.
“She’s had one great finish after another,” assistant coach Stefanie Kerska said. “She helps out the team, works real well with the other girls and pulls her weight in practice.”
Rehabilitation has been the cornerstone for Fenn’s breakout season. The summer before her sophomore year, she suffered from tendonitis in both shoulders and overworked herself. But last summer, Richardson found a high-tech solution for Fenn’s problematic injuries. Using the “Robot,” a complicated mechanical-arm instrument during rehabilitation and practice, Fenn has been able to bounce back.
After losing the first two dual meets against No. 2 Florida and No. 11 North Carolina, Michigan may have saved its season by winning its last three matches. The 19th-ranked Wolverines are hoping to make it four consecutive victories this weekend when they face a familiar foe in No. 18 Notre Dame.
Over the last two seasons, Notre Dame has posted convincing victories against Michigan, highlighted by last year’s 175-124 win in Ann Arbor.