Erin Abbey will never compete in Canham Natatorium again.

For the senior captain and the rest of the Wolverines, last Friday’s meet victory against Toledo was only the second home meet of the season – it was also the last.

The women’s swimming and diving team’s schedule contains one of the least amounts of home competitions out of any Michigan varsity team. The NCAA does not create schedules for women’s swimming teams. The coaches must construct the schedules themselves. Last year, most of Michigan’s meets were at home. In order to compensate for that, Michigan offered to be the visiting team in most of its meets.

But the Wolverines’ No. 22 ranking proves that this traveling team has no problem with dealing with the pressures of the road. In fact, they thrive on it.

“We do better when we travel,” junior captain Anne Weilbacher admitted. “It’s something different. We come into Canham every day and see the same things and we’re used to being here. I’d rather go away, it makes it different, and you know you’re at a meet.”

There are also valuable intangibles that can only be incurred by being on the road. Hotels and bus rides become important centers for developing togetherness and teamwork for the Wolverines.

“It’s fun to travel, and it’s not that big of a deal,” Abbey said. “It’s fun because it brings us closer together because we’re together all of the time. We stay in the hotel together, eat together, and we get away from the stresses of school.”

Coach Jim Richardson agrees with his swimmers, as he believes that the meets on the road provide an extra incentive to swim faster.

“I think it’s a good challenge to go into somebody’s house and take that meet away from them,” Richardson said.

That is what the Wolverines hope to do this weekend, when they travel to Champaign for a three-day meet against No. 17 Notre Dame and Illinois. Being on the road just adds to the excitement.

“I wish this meet was tomorrow,” Richardson said. “This meet is going to show us if we have that extra something, and if we’re ready for the challenge. The question is: Can we get on a bus at 7:00 in the morning, take a six-and-a-half-hour bus ride, stretch out, listen up, go over and race that night and then Saturday and then Sunday?”

Constantly being on the road has prepared Michigan for these rough scheduling constraints. For the team, this is just another away meet.

“This is just another assessment of our training we do during the weeks, and another test if we can perform well, regardless of the environment,” Richardson said.

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