This meet wasn’t the NCAA Championships, but the times at
the Nike Cup this weekend were surprisingly comparable for a
midseason swimming competition. Four members of the Michigan
women’s swimming and diving team finished with times fast
enough to make them eligible for NCAA consideration.

Mira Levitan
Michigan senior Kelli Stein took third place in the 200-yard backstroke race. The Wolverines were the only Big Ten team at the meet. (PHOTOG/Daily)

“We are a much stronger team than we were a year
ago,” coach Jim Richardson said. “I’d have to
credit the strength program we implemented this year and the new
training format. These new programs are demanding but have had a
positive effect on the endurance, strength and athleticism of the
swimmers.”

Michigan finished in second place out of 10 teams this weekend
at the three day long meet at the Koury Natatorium in Chapel Hill,
N.C. The meet consisted mainly of teams from the ACC and the SEC,
as 16th-ranked Michigan was the sole Big Ten competitor. The
Wolverines totaled 748 points which placed them second behind the
host Tar Heels, who finished with 884 points.

“To be honest, I wasn’t concerned with our
team’s second-place finish,” Richardson said.
“The girls swam incredibly well and I was extremely pleased
with their performances. Many of them had the best meet of their
swimming careers.”

In perhaps the best race of the weekend, senior captain Anne
Weilbacher swam the 100-yard butterfly in a time of 53.56 to secure
a win. It was a North Carolina pool record, a NCAA consideration
time and a Michigan school record.

“Weilbacher had an incredible race,” Richardson
said. “She wasn’t rested or tapered and she still
managed to swim faster than she did last year at Big Ten
Championships and NCAA Championships.”

Along with having phenomenal individual races, Michigan also
managed to win four of the five relay events this weekend, counting
for the majority of the team’s points.

Sophomore Abby Seskevics swam on three of the four winning
relays and managed to win the individual 100-yard freestyle in NCAA
consideration time.

“Abby probably had one of the best meets of her
life,” Richardson said. “She not only played a crucial
role in the relays, her swim in the100-yard freestyle was faster
than I’d ever seen.”

Along with Seskevics and Weilbacher, Richardson commended
freshmen Susan Gilliam and Lindsey Smith for adding to the
team’s success this weekend.

“Gilliam had a exceptional performance in the 500-yard
freestyle,” Richardson said. “I’ve been very
happy with how she’s swam over the past few weeks in
competition.”

The Wolverines have two weeks until their next meets. Some of
the team will swim at the Eastern Michigan Invitational Dec. 5-6.
While other members of team will take part in the U.S. Open that
same weekend in Federal Way, Wash.

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