Before the start of the 200-yard butterfly, the Michigan women’s swimming and diving team trailed 72-59 against Indiana in its first home Big Ten dual meet of the season on Saturday.

It needed someone to step up.

To the surprise of no one, the Wolverines’ all-star senior swimmer Margaret Kelly answered the call.

Kelly went stroke-for-stroke with Hoosier Kate Zubcova during the first 150 yards. In the final 50 yards, Kelly edged out the five-time All-American— who dominated in the Wolverines’ Oct. 31 loss to Indiana— by 18 hundredths of a second.

“Anytime you can have a best time when you’re not rested is great,” Kelly said. “I think I had some extra motivation because swimming against Indiana, they’re a very strong team and they won Big Tens last year.”

Too strong for the Wolverines, perhaps. Despite Kelly’s strong performances, No. 16 Michigan couldn’t complete the comeback, falling to No. 12 Indiana, 130-113.

The Wolverines recently endured the most difficult practices of the season and started a new phase of dry-land training. They were visibly fatigued.

“We’re in a demanding part of our training cycle right now,” Michigan coach Jim Richardson said. “Some of our people are handling it well and others you can see were fatigued.”

In the team’s previous meeting, Zubcova edged out Kelly in the 200-yard individual medley. This time around, Kelly took the lead and never looked back, finishing first by nearly four seconds.

Fifth-year senior Emily Brunemann cruised to an easy victory in the 1,650-yard freestyle. Senior Emily Hanson was a distant second to touch the wall.

In a rare outing, Brunemann also came in second in the 500-yard freestyle..

With the meet still in contention, Michigan’s fatigue and lack of depth in the breakstroke reared its ugly head. Indiana claimed the top two spots in the 200-yard breaststroke to cement the victory.

“For the most part, I think we’re better than we were last year at this time,” Richardson said. “Our 400-medley relay was four seconds faster than it was this time last year and we’re swimming with essentially the same people.”

Richardson emphasized that his sights are set on the postseason.

“A month from now, nobody will remember if we won or lost a dual meet,” Richardson said. “All that matters is what you do at Big Tens in February and NCAAs in March. I sometimes think of dual meets as ‘leftovers.’ After a week of training, sometimes leftovers are really good and other times they are not.”

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