With most of the season behind the Michigan women’s swimming and diving team and the Big Ten Championships coming up in early February, one would expect the Wolverines to tone down their training to get some rest before the most important part of their schedule.

But don’t tell that to Michigan coach Jim Richardson.

Last week, the Wolverines completed their most intense week of training to prepare for the Michigan Invitational.

More important, the rigorous practices will help Michigan with the conference championship meet around the corner.

The training is unique because Richardson incorporates what he calls “dry land” work in addition to practice in the pool. It involves a lot of dumbbell work with many repetitions done at a low weight, according to seniors Kaitlyn Brady and Lindsey Smith.

“It’s unusual and different from what most people are out there doing,” Richardson said. “But I have a lot of confidence in the program.”

The team does the program every day, and coupling that with normal workouts in the pool can be exhausting. When questioned about the workout right after another long day of practice, neither Brady nor Smith appeared too excited about it. But they know it’s beneficial.

“It’s tough but in the end you know it’s going to be worth it,” Brady said.

Said Smith: “It’s easier to get in shape with the dry-land workouts.”

Richardson said he first heard about the program from a friend of his who is a conditioning coach. He liked the system so much that Michigan has used it for about four years.

The extra conditioning also helps prevent injuries in the pool by making the Wolverines stronger and more durable.

“We’ve been able to eliminate about 95 percent of our shoulder problems, and we’ve swum faster with it,” Richardson said.

If the extra work affected the team’s performance over the weekend, it was in a negative sense. Out of four teams, the Wolverines finished third. But, Richardson wasn’t fazed by the meet’s results.

“We put in our hardest week of training this week,” he said after the meet, clearly not concerned by the team’s finish. “We had some swimmers just do awesome.”

No. 10 Michigan now must travel to Evanston to try and get back on track against Northwestern this Saturday.

It will be a test for the Wolverines for two reasons.

One, Michigan is looking for momentum going into the Big Ten Championships.

Secondly, because the team’s training has been geared to help more for home meets, the trip to Northwestern will not be easy, Richardson said.

“The most important thing is that we can maintain our land-training here at home, and on the road, that would be a little more difficult.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.