Canham Natatorium was buzzing with anticipation Friday as the Michigan women’s swimming and diving team prepared to kick off its season against Oakland.
In the first of many meets before Big Ten play later this season, the Wolverines put together a dominant performance as they topped the Golden Grizzlies, 203-90.
Michigan is coming off back-to-back Big Ten titles and is looking to win three consecutive titles for the first time since 1998. And with six returning swimmers who broke school records last season, those hopes are looking strong.
For the Wolverines, it is all about the overall improvement of the team leading up to Big Ten and NCAA play. The development of the new swimmers and continued improvement of returning swimmers cannot be overstated if the Wolverines hope to win their third consecutive Big Ten Championship, and members of the team understand that they are part of a special group with the potential to make history.
“You saw their spirit and support for one another,” said Michigan coach Mike Bottom. “The way we are going to get better is by supporting each other, not just centering on ourselves, but get better each person and help everybody around you.”
Many swimmers looked strong in the first meet, including junior Siobhan Haughey. Haughey is coming off of an All-Big Ten first team season and is looking to improve even further.
“This season I am definitely working a lot on my underwater kicks,” Haughey said. “That has always been my focus, but this season I really want to step it up and really improve it.”
The 2016 Rio Olympian led the charge as she took first place in the 200-meter freestyle, 100-meter freestyle and 200-meter free relay.
The talent on the team was on full display as 11 different swimmers won races Friday. This result is a testament to the depth of Bottom’s program. With so much returning talent on the team and a recent tradition of winning, it is important to avoid complacency. Bottom, however, is not worried about his team's level of motivation.
“All we gotta do is keep looking over at Bloomington, or over in Columbus, or look at Georgia," Bottom said, "…They are a very motivated bunch. Several of them came off a great international summer and they just want to get better.”