It’s championship season, a time when the best will be forced to prove that they deserve to be at the top. This weekend, nine well-prepared Michigan swimmers will matchup against the best in the country and attempt to emerge from the pool victorious.
Michigan’s women’s swimming and diving team will be competing in the NCAA Championships this weekend at Auburn University.
The nine athletes who are swimming this weekend headed down to Alabama on Tuesday and are warming up for the tough competition they will face off against.
“Hopefully, by bringing them down here two days ahead of time they’ll get used to the pool facilities and how the water feels,” head coach Jim Richardson said. “We want them to be as prepared as they can be.”
This will be the Wolverines’ 18th appearance at the NCAA Championships. Michigan has placed in the top 10 at the Championships 12 times, and has produced seven individuals that have earned NCAA Championship titles.
“I think that if we just swim faster than we did at the Big Ten meet, everything else will fall into place for us,” Richardson said. “As of right now, we are ranked 19th going into the meet, but we have the chance to work our way up to 15th place.”
Covering the board, Michigan has athletes entered in 17 of the 21 events scheduled for the Championships.
“The girls are calm, but they are definitely ready,” Richardson said. They’ve worked really hard and have had some great practices over the past three weeks; I think this weekend should be proof of their endurance and stamina.”
With seven athletes seeded within the top 20 in their events, Michigan is poised to bring home some solid races and fast times.
“All of the races are going to be very exciting,” Richardson said. “The 200-and 400-yard medley relays should be fun to watch. The relay teams have really progressed throughout the season. But the 200-yard free relay should be the most interesting, because the team isn’t seeded right now, and it has a lot of room to move up in the competition and pull off a huge upset.”
Being the first event of the championship weekend, the 200-yard free relay consisting of Anne Weilbacher, Erin Abbey, Abby Seskevics and Amy McCullough will hopefully set a solid course for the rest of the Wolverines to follow.
Overall, the other Big Ten conference teams should fare well this weekend. Wisconsin’s senior-studded team is predicted to finish in the top 10, which would make it the third Big Ten women’s swim team in history to place that high in the NCAA Championships.
Penn State is also expected to place well at the meet.