The Michigan women’s swimming and diving is not too worried about wins and losses at this point of the season. After the Wolverines won their first four matches, they faltered in their next four with three of those losses coming to top swimming programs — Texas, Stanford and Florida.

But Michigan coach Jim Richardson isn’t worried about the .500 record.

“Swimming is a funny sport,” Richardson said. “It’s not all about wins and losses all the time. Right now, it’s all about performance and improvement. A meet in October doesn’t matter when February rolls around.”

With NCAA qualifiers selected based on individual performances, a team’s overall record takes a back seat.

“I want each swimmer to have the best opportunity to qualify (for NCAA nationals),” Richardson said.

The Wolverines have a squad featuring 11 freshmen, who are still developing their stroke techniques and strength.

“Even though we are young, I am very proud of the maturity of our swimmers,” Richardson said. “One of the things I look for when recruiting is self-discipline. I am not here to babysit. I want athletes that have an inner drive. My swimmers know what they have to do and they do it.”

This Friday, the Wolverines will get a chance to test their maturity, as they travel to West Lafayette to compete in the Purdue Invitational. Richardson said he wasn’t as concerned about the outcome of the meet as he is his team’s continued growth.

“Our primary goal is to develop our skills and have each swimmer’s performances reflect their training,” Richardson said. “Especially this early in the season, it is important to train, compete, reflect, and then make the necessary adjustments to enhance our skills.”

Even though the team is young, they are led by senior distance freestyler Emily Hanson.

“I think we are a very tight-knit squad,” Hanson said. “Everyone is committed to training hard every day.”

And Hanson knows something about dedicated training. This past summer, she represented the United States National Swim Team in Rome, swimming the five kilometer and the 25-kilometer in open water.

“It was an unbelievable experience,” Hanson said. “I learned a lot and I believe it helped me grow as a person and a swimmer.”

Despite the team’s .500 record, Hanson and her teammates believe this season will be a success. Senior Margaret Kelly, who competes in the 200-meter and 400-meter individual medley, is also very optimistic about the remainder of the season.

“This is my fourth year on the team and I can honestly say this is the hardest working team I’ve ever been a part of,” Kelly said.

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