YPSILANTI — Winning more than half of the 20 events, the Michigan women’s swimming and diving team easily left Ypsilanti this weekend with its seventh straight EMU invitational title.
The 19th-ranked Wolverines scored 1123 points, 307 points more than the second-place team, in a meet where the competition was not as strong as in past contests.
“I don’t worry so much as whether it’s a big meet or not a big meet,” Michigan coach Jim Richardson said. “It’s 25 yards, and there is water. You’ve got a chance to work on something and try to improve something, and that’s what we’re always trying to do.”
Leading the way for the Wolverines was senior Margaret Kelly, who, over the two-day period, won the 200-yard butterfly, 200-yard individual medley and 50-yard freestyle. She was also a member of all of the Wolverines’ winning freestyle relays.
Senior Emily Brunemann, the 2008 NCAA champion in the 1,650-yard freestyle, did not swim the event. But senior Emily Hanson stepped up and won the event for Michigan, capturing a NCAA consideration time of 16:38.28.
“It feels really good,” Hanson said through the Michigan Athletic Department. “Bruno (Emily Brunemann) wasn’t there, and she always pushes me. Friday gave me an opportunity to see where I was at. I’ve been training real well all season and gotten pretty consistent results.”
About eight Wolverines were half tapered for this meet, meaning they were somewhat rested. The rest of the team is continuing a strenuous training regimen.
“It’s not a full taper,” Richardson said. “We don’t believe that we need to rest a whole lot at this point in the season because of the nature of the training that we’re doing. It’s enough to get a good glimpse of where people are right now and what their potential can be at the end of the season.”
At the beginning of the year, Richardson and his staff decided to increase the Wolverines’ weightlifting load, hoping that it would make the team stronger and ultimately faster.
“It was a conscious decision we made this year to try and make improvements, and that was one area we felt we could improve,” Richardson said. “We felt like we could be stronger, and if we do a good job of transferring that strength into power, then we have a better than average chance of swimming faster by the end of the year.”
The strength that they have built and are still building was evident, considering how easily the Wolverines dominated their opponents.
Michigan’s chemistry and camaraderie was also apparent during the meet. The swimmers were constantly slapping hands, laughing and just generally having a good time on the deck.
“I am having an absolute blast,” Hanson said. “Our team is such a tight-knit group. There’s still a lot left to the season, but I am having a lot of fun.”