The Michigan women’s swimming and diving team just wasn’t ready for this tough a start to the season.
At least that’s what Michigan coach Jim Richardson said after the Wolverines dropped both matches of their tri-meet on Friday.
The No. 14 Wolverines (0-3 overall) lost to both No. 3 Stanford (4-0) and No. 4 Florida (1-1) by more than 100 points.
“This year, we have got some developmental things where we are not ready to step up at the beginning of the year like we were last year, or the year before,” Richardson said. “This is a good group of young women and they’re training well and I think they are going to do very well at the end.”
Despite Richardson’s optimism, the ugly scores were painful for the Michigan fans in attendance to watch. The Wolverines didn’t win a single swimming event against Stanford, and beat Florida in just three events: the 100-yard backstroke, the 200-yard backstroke and the 100-yard butterfly.
Michigan’s only first-place finish came on the diving board. Freshman Amanda Lohman won the one-meter springboard event, despite losing the lead after her fourth dive to sophomore teammate Stephanie O’Callaghan. But with two chances remaining, Lohman pulled out the narrow victory by nine-tenths of a point.
“One meter is pretty much my thing,” Lohman said. “But I didn’t expect to win (right away), I just try to go out there and dive consistently every dive.”
The three-meter dive played out far worse for the two divers. Lohman finished a disappointing sixth, while O’Callaghan was unable to finish the event due to injury.
O’Callaghan hit her head on the diving board during her fourth dive, and was put on a stretcher and taken to the hospital as a precaution. Michigan diving coach Chris Bergère said O’Callaghan would be fine.
“It’s really hard, especially when it’s your teammate,” Lohman said. “You just try not to think about it, get it out of your head. It’s scary but you have to move on.”
After the scare, Michigan’s struggles continued.
The Wolverines’ top finisher placed fifth or better in just seven of 16 events.
The only swimming event Michigan appeared close to winning was the 100-yard backstroke. Senior Hannah Smith, who beat the Gators in both the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke, stayed even with Stanford’s Julia Smit for the first 50 yards. It was still close at the second turn, but Smit out-powered Smith in the backstretch and defeated her by more than half a second.
The winless Wolverines won’t have much of a letup in the schedule anytime soon. After their first road meet against Toledo on Friday, they return home the following weekend to take on No. 8 Texas and No. 23 Indiana in a two day tri-meet.
“We want to swim the programs we have respect for,” Richardson said. “Anytime we can swim teams in the top 10 we want to do it. We are going to gain a lot of experience from it.”