When Michigan senior co-captains Margaret Kelly and Leigh Cole completed their last swim meet for Ann Arbor Pioneer, both of their fathers jumped into the pool along with their daughters to celebrate two illustrious high school career.
The duo helped Pioneer to four state championships and three national championships.
After dominating rival Michigan State 127-87 within the friendly confines of Canham Natotorium this weekend against arch rival Michigan State, the two, along with 11 other seniors jumped into the pool to celebrate the win. This time, Kelly’s and Cole’s dads decided to rejoice from the stands.
“It didn’t hit me until we met in the team room before the meet,” Kelly said. “(Michigan coach Jim Richardson) said he would miss all of us and that’s when we all lost it. To look back here, the four years we all had and to know this is the last time we’ll be here for a dual meet is tough.”
After seeing its streak of 16 straight dual meet wins against Ohio State snapped last weekend, No. 16 Michigan extended its winning streak against Michigan State. The Wolverines have not lost a dual meet to the Spartans since 1985.
The team would have won all of the meet’s events but decided to swim exhibition in the final three events. The meet served as an extension of its weekly preparation in that regard.
“We stuck to our training,” Richardson said. “I was actually surprised as to how well we actually performed. We aren’t compromising anything to win dual meets. We are sticking to the plan.”
Since Michigan took an early lead over the Spartans, it gave many swimmers an opportunity to swim events that they wouldn’t usually participate in.
One such event was the exhibition of the 100-yard breaststroke which included distance specialists seniors Emily Brunemann and Emily Hanson and sprinter sophomore Natasha Moodie in the field.
“Jim asked us before the meet what event we would like to swim,” Brunemann said. “I wanted to swim something different than what I always swim. I actually like breaststroke a lot. It’s one of my stronger parts of my 400 (individual medley).”
Kelly and Cole competed in their normal events, dominating the competition. Kelly touched the wall first in the 100-yard butterfly and was part of the winning 200-yard medley relay team. Cole earned an event victory in the 100-yard freestyle and finished runner-up in the 50-yard freestyle behind Moodie.
While the Michigan seniors had strong performances across the board, it was the younger members who impressed Richardson the most.
Freshman Julia Andracki practiced through fatigue during the week, but showed a lot of guts in the 100-yard breaststroke, taking first place. And sophomore Megan Craig earned lifetime bests in the 200 and 500-yard freestyle.
These young members of the team hope to have the impact of this year’s 13 member senior class that has shown a bond that very few teams have, as Richardson explained.
“When you look around major college athletic teams, you’ll find very few who have a 13-member senior class,” Richardson said. “There’s no attrition. Our seniors all come from diverse backgrounds, but they are not diverse when it comes to Michigan. That’s an important thing for us.”