The thought of standing 10 meters above ground on a flimsy board would be horrific for most.
But for Michigan diving coaches Chris Bergère and Dick Campbell, it provided fuel for the intermission entertainment.
During a break in the Wolverines’ dual meet against Ohio State on Friday, the two showcased their diving skills in a short performance. Dressed in pajamas, the duo did a variety of flips. The most impressive was a backflip where Campbell leapt into Bergère’s arms and the two dove off the five-meter board at Canham Natatorium.
While the No. 22 Michigan women’s swimming and diving team enjoyed the performance, it was hardly laughing as it competed against conference foe Ohio State.
The Wolverines beat the Buckeyes 169.5–129.5 to record their first conference win of the season.
Michigan (1-3 Big Ten, 2-6 overall) had no trouble finding motivation for the dual meet. The team is still recovering from a rigorous training camp in Puerto Rico that left many swimmers drained in meets and practices.
“It’s like I told them before the meet — I don’t care if it is tiddlywinks or 47-man squamish,” Michigan coach Jim Richardson said. “Whatever it is, it’s Michigan and Ohio State, and everyone is going to pick it up a notch.”
Michigan started the meet strong with a victory in the 200-yard medley relay. Seniors Hannah Smith and Christine Nichols, freshman Caitlin Dauw and junior Margaret Kelly went stroke-for-stroke against Ohio State before Dauw pulled away in the butterfly leg. The team finished three seconds ahead of the Buckeyes (0-2, 4-3).
Both teams battled in the beginning, before the Wolverines won eight of the last nine events.
The Wolverines were led by junior Leigh Cole, who earned victories and swam season-best times in both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle.
“We were ready to do that,” Cole said. “We watched the other teams this year, and we really wanted to get out there and beat Ohio State. It’s such a rivalry, Michigan and Ohio State, so it was exciting.”
Kelly kept up her consistent level of success by touching the wall first in the 500-yard freestyle and 200-yard individual medley. She has been the workhorse for the young Wolverines all year, leading Michigan with 10 wins. She has even attempted to cover the lack of depth in the breaststroke by swimming the 100-yard breaststroke several times this season.
Smith captured event titles in the 100-yard backstroke (55.28) and 200-yard backstroke (1:58.66).
Kelly and Smith were part of the victorious 400-yard freestyle relay (3:26.56) that outpaced the Buckeyes by four seconds. The freestyle relays have been a highlight for the Wolverines all season and have earned NCAA consideration times in all three events.
Michigan also dominated the one-meter diving event, taking four of the top five spots. Junior Stephanie O’Callaghan placed first and redshirt freshmen Rachel Ropeik finished third in platform diving (265.35) as Michigan’s top performer in the event.
The meet put the Wolverines in good position with just two meets left before the Big Ten Championships from Feb. 19-21.
“When it comes down to our final meet, I think we will be ready,” Cole said. “We’re going to have some fast swimmers there. We aren’t rested yet, and we haven’t been all season.”