New Michigan women’s coach Mike Bottom really has his Wolverine women hitting on all cylinders, despite what has amounted to nearly a complete-reset of the program after he added these duties to his existing ones with the men. The Wolverines split the 16 events at Friday’s dual meet with their rivals from Ohio State, but 1-3 finishes in both relays (combined for a 26-8 scoring margin) helped take the maize and blue to a 163-137 victory.
Michigan started the meet off with a 1:41.25 in the medley relay, with a superior breaststroke leg from Angie Chokran (27.93) lifting them to an early lead and just enough to hold off Ohio State’s 1:41.49 for the win. The Buckeyes still have the fastest time in the Big Ten this season, though Michigan tweaked their lineup a bit for this meet by letting Deirdre Jones anchor (22.90) instead of freshman Zoe Mattingly.
The Wolverines would go on to win three of the first four individual events to open up a big lead on the Buckeyes, who are better in the freestyle races than the strokes. That included a 55.19 in the 100 back from freshman Ali DeLoof and a 1:01.6 in the 100 breast from Chokran, to open up a big lead on the Buckeyes.
Ohio State’s Alex Norris was the only early win for the team as she dominated the 200 free in 1:49.76, with teammates Phoebe Carter and Katy Luchansky falling in line for a 1-2-3 finish.
The Buckeyes then fought back by running off a string of 5-straight victories, highlighted by a sprint sweep from captain Megan Detro (23.52/50.94). Michigan’s Jones was just behind her for 2nd in both races, including just .01 back in the 50.
It was again Chokran, the swimmer of the meet for Michigan, who stopped the bleeding with a 2:14.33 to easily take the women’s 200 breaststroke. She was out hard in the race (1:03.63), and though it cost her on the last 50, that’s a good mid-season number for her.
The two teams would trade victories until a 2:02.73 win in the 200 IM from freshman Marni Oldershaw sealed the Michigan victory, when combined with a 1-2-4 finish in total for the last individual race of the meet. Michigan went on to win the closing 400 free relay in similarly-tight fashion to the first, touching in 3:24.28 to Ohio State’s 3:24.69.
This is the 5th year in a row where the Michigan and Ohio State women have alternated dual meet victories, though that has historically had little-to-no correlation to the relative finishes in the Big Ten. Ohio State’s team probably still sets up for a better year-ending meet, but it looks like Michigan is really getting a spark of leadership this year, combined with some great young talent.