For the Daily

The Michigan women’s swimming team was swamped by Florida last night at Canham Natatorium.

Florida swimmers took first place in 10 of 14 individual events en route to outscoring Michigan 173-127 in both teams’ first meet of the season.

Michigan coach Jim Richardson was especially impressed by the Gators’ performance.

“Florida was awesome,” he said. “Sara McLarty and several others swam really strongly.”

Richardson said the Wolverines would benefit greatly from the experience of competing against the Gators’ powerful swimmers.

“We set a high bar for ourselves, but we expect it to pay dividends later,” Richardson said. “We wanted to start against a top team, and Florida is probably among the top five teams in the nation. Our freshmen were really nervous, and this should help them gain confidence in the future.”

Richardson cited several strong showings by Michigan swimmers as positives to build on in evaluating the loss. He was particularly impressed with the performance of seniors Laura Kaznecki and Erin Abbey, junior Anne Weilbacher and sophomore Amy McCullough, who combined to win the 400-yard freestyle relay in a time of 3:30.13.

“They swam a faster time in an opening meet than any other Michigan team that I can remember, and I have been here for some time,” said Richardson, who is in his 18th season at Michigan. Richardson was also impressed with Weilbacher’s individual performance in the 200-yard butterfly because she had not competed in the race since her freshman year. Weilbacher won the event with a time of 2:04.83.

Other Wolverines placing first in individual events included Kaznecki, who won the 50-yard freestyle in 24.15 seconds and senior Julie Kern, who took first place in the 400-yard individual medley with a time of 4:34.97. Junior Tealin Kelemen also won the three-meter diving competition with a score of 325.85.

Richardson felt that the team’s overall performance was average, but added that the team would spend the next two weeks working to improve its swimming techniques. The Wolverines hope that this work will lead to a better performance in next month’s meet in Chapel Hill, N.C. against North Carolina and Harvard.

“I saw a lot of good things tonight,” he said. “I like the team’s spirit, attitude and focus. I hope we see better results next time.”

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