Talk about a transition.
Just one week ago, the Michigan women’s swimming and diving team was training in Honolulu in sunny, 75-degree weather. But then, last Saturday, the team returned to three inches of snow and below-freezing temperatures in Ann Arbor.
The Wolverines also return to the second half of their dual meet season this weekend after going more than a month without competing.
Michigan coach Jim Richardson wasn’t too worried about how his team handled the break.
“I think we took care of the transition into final exams and winter break and then back to school well,” he said. “We look good physically right now.”
Richardson attributes much of the team’s fitness to the dry-land training it did while in Hawaii, along with getting up early to surf and spending plenty of time in the pool.
After the long hiatus from serious competition, Michigan is ready to jump back into its dual meet schedule. Up next is Toledo, which visits Canham Natatorium Friday.
Although Richardson said he has been informed that some of Toledo’s swimmers are injured, he still isn’t too concerned about whether the Wolverines will come away with a win. For most college swimmers, dual meets aren’t so much a competition between teams as a chance to hone one’s individual skills and qualify for the NCAA Championships.
“I don’t ever look at a meet as ‘We gotta’ win this.’ We’re about trying to swim faster,” Richardson said, describing his team as “process and performance oriented.”
Michigan definitely showed its speed during the first half of the season. Senior Erin Abbey and junior Anne Weilbacher – the team’s two captains – have both “destroyed” their previous lifetime best times in the 200-yard backstroke and 200-yard butterfly, respectively, according to Richardson. Both swimmers picked up NCAA consideration times at the Nike Cup in Chapel Hill, N.C. earlier this year. Their long distance-swimming teammates Amy McCullough and Emily-Clare Fenn also turned in consideration times at that meet in the 1,650-meter event.
“We’re focused right now,” Richardson said. “I’m really excited to watch this team through the rest of the season.”