A little intrasquad rivalry is harmless.
Saturday morning, women’s swimming coach Jim Richardson orchestrated the mayhem of a team divided, enlisting his captains to draft allies for the annual Maize and Blue scrimmage.
The intrasquad scrimmage exposed the talented freshman class to the format of a collegiate dual-meet, with slight modifications. The races were conducted at accelerated intervals, and the atmosphere surrounding the pool was distinctive from standard competition. After a long week of practice, the Wolverines were ready to let loose before a well-deserved rest.
Intimate knowledge of their opponents equipped the swimmers with devastating ammunition for a war of words as the team was pitted against each other. With lines drawn and colors assigned, courtesy took a backseat to team spirit.
The competitors’ chorus of taunting cheers disrupted and disoriented the enemy swimmers – creating a buffer zone for the real battle in the pool. Insightful taunting left no competitor’s ego unbruised.
A confidence-shaking rhyme initiated by senior Elsa Larson was a favorite weapon for the Blue team.
“U-G-L-Y, you ain’t got no alibi! You’re ugly! You’re ugly! You’re ugly!”
These venomous words are only a selection from the volley of verbal sparring that characterized the dialogue across the pool.
The choice language that laced the chants was subdued for the family audience that populated the stands at Canham Natatorium. This consideration forced the players to conduct an age-appropriate verbal battle, punctuated by peels of laughter .
“The Blue team was very animated,” Richardson said. “Larson put together a squad of high energy, vocal competitors, but the Maize swimmers let their performance in the pool speak for them.”
The Maize team, led and selected by senior captain Lindsey Smith, was by no means a pacifist group. Their 99-87 victory was a reflection of an unrestrained will to win.
“Lindsey may not seem aggressive,” Richardson continued. “She’s quiet and reserved, but she swims very loud. We’ve got an interesting mix of personalities on the team. Everybody brings a different approach to the competition but they blend together well.”
That blend was disrupted for a brief and entertaining time as the Maize and Blue camps each laid claim to aquatic superiority.
Junior Kaitlyn Brady may have been the Blue team’s greatest casualty, suffering the wrath of a Maize operative in retribution for her merciless taunting. The ambush punctuated the Maize victory, an event Brady was hard-pressed to forget.
“I can’t believe they threw me in the pool with all my clothes on!” Brady said.
“The Blue team knew that there were certain lines that could not be crossed, but Maize took it way too far. I want a recount.”
Senior Maize spokeswoman Abby Seskevics dismissed Brady’s claims, underplaying the severity of the amphibious assault.
“Brady’s always trying to add fuel to the fire,” Seskevics said. “Pure propaganda. She was only wearing her swimsuit and a towel, so it’s clearly a huge exaggeration. I think the chlorine went to her head.”
Seskevics and Brady became comrades once more when the smoke had cleared. Peacefully reunited, the Wolverines feel prepared to combat the threat of the Golden Bears of California when they begin the intercollegiate season on Oct. 27th.
Positioned above the fray, Richardson was pleased by what he saw.
“I think we’re going to have great year,” Richardson said. “We got a chance to have some fun today, and gave the freshman their first taste of the dual-meet format and team cheers. I like the way the freshmen are coming along, but we’re probably going to have to wait until winter to witness our team’s true capability.”