The No. 14 Michigan women’s swim and dive team had a strong showing against Northwestern Saturday morning, taking home first place in eight events and never trailing at any point. While the Wolverines were never able to push the lead into a true blowout, Michigan was also never in position to lose its lead due to its team first mentality.
The Wolverines (4-0) beat the 18th ranked Wildcats (2-1) in their dual meet, 162.5-137.5.
“In dual meets it’s like trying to get your hand on the wall first,” junior backstroke swimmer Casey Chung said. “As much as it hurts, you have to do it for the team.”
Getting their hand on the wall first is something they did often, winning the 200 yard medley relay to start and never faltering from their initial lead. They took this good start and kept pushing, as they raced hard for each other the rest of the day.
The team first mentality is what drove Michigan to continue building its lead throughout the meet and prevent the Wildcats from building momentum. Coming off of a long meet the night before, defeating Eastern Michigan and Ohio in a tri meet, the Wolverines had to dig deep at times to ensure personal and team success, but they didn’t seem to have any trouble doing so.
“I’m really proud of the team today because we had a really long meet yesterday,” senior diver Lucy Hogan said. “Everybody coming back and giving it their all today.”
Sophomore breaststroke and butterfly swimmer Letitia Sim is a prime example of looking past the pain of back-to-back meets to come out on top. She competed in the 200 yard medley relay, 200 yard breaststroke and 100 yard breaststroke on Saturday, walking away with two first place finishes and one second place, respectively. Her victory in the 200 yard breaststroke was especially vital to Michigan’s success. She finished that race in 2:15.34, just 28 milliseconds in front of her Wildcat competition. This victory expanded a close lead in the match at the time from 13 to 20 points which helped the Wolverines pull away.
“I knew going in that it was going to have to be a bit of a push,” Sim said. “So really having to hammer that last twenty five (yards) really took a lot out of me.”
Any soreness or pain Michigan may have felt from back-to-back meets wasn’t apparent as the Wolverines fought through it. Each teammate displayed a team-first mentality and it helped facilitate the outcome they wanted. Beating another ranked rival soundly on the second day of back to back meets shows resilience and resolve that the Wolverines can build on as the season progresses.