Michigan Swimming & Diving Teams Return to Training After Corona-Driven “Pause”

The University of Michigan swimming & diving programs returned to the water to resume training on Monday after the conclusion of a 14-day “athletics pause.” The pause was driven by a rise in the number of coronavirus cases both within Michigan’s athletics department, and on the campus in general, including the new more-viral B.1.1.7 strain. The pause included a moratorium on all in-person training and competition.

That gives the women’s swimming & diving teams and and the men’s diving team 15 days in the pool to finish preparations for the Big Ten Championships, and the men’s swimming team 22 days.

Michigan head coach Mike Bottom says that his team is focused on one day at a time.

“Our focus is on every single day and putting one foot in front of the other,” Bottom told SwimSwam. “We will get to Big Tens, and we will have a team. But we’re here today, training for today and being together today. I think that’s really our most important focus.”

Bottom talked about the challenges that his team has faced this season, including three different periods of pausing and challenges finding water.

Besides the challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which have faced many teams throughout the country, Bottom also pointed to the death of Michigan swimmer Ian Miskelley in September as another challenge that the team has had to overcome.

“What I’ve talked to the team about is that by being here, we’ve accomplished our goals of being a champion because of the number of difficult things we’ve had to go through this year. We had three different pauses. We were out of our own pool. We grieved over the loss of a teammate. To make it to the end of the season and to be able to perform at any level is a win. It’s really a testament to the values that this team has instituted together: team, integrity, gratitude, perseverance.”

The Michigan men enter the meet as the defending Big Ten Champions, though they graduated 559 of their 1,264 individual points from that meet. That’s more-than-double the number of graduating points by the next-closest team – Ohio State’s 235.

The Michigan women were 2nd at last year’s Big Ten Championship meet, finishing nearly 200 points behind their arch-rivals Ohio State. While Ohio State graduated the most points, they also returned the most points from the 2020 Big Ten Championships – 923, versus 766 for Michigan.

Given the frequent disruptions in training, it’s likely that the team’s top swimmers, especially those like Maggie MacNeil who have both qualifying times in place for NCAAs already, as well as serious Olympic aspirations, will train fairly-heavily through Big Tens.

The good news in the case of MacNeil is that she’s shown the ability to suit and swim fast even without any serious rest.

The 2021 Big Ten Swimming & Diving Championships schedule is below:

Updated 2021 Big Ten Conference Championship Schedule:

  • Big Ten Men’s & Women’s Diving Championships – February 24-27 – Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana
  • Big Ten Women’s Swimming Championships – February 23-27 – University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Big Ten Men’s Swimming Championships – March 2-6 – Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

In the university’s most recent update on athlete and coach testing, for the week during the pause from January 30-February, 5 student-athletes and 2 staff members tested positive for the coronavirus. The newest data is usually released on Friday afternoon.

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5 months ago

Oh, that headline (“Corona-driven pause”) had me hoping the team had just returned from enjoying too much fruit-infused Mexican beer.

5 months ago

Who thinks they were really out of the water for 14 days?

Reply to  Bookit
5 months ago

Definitely not. I’m sure they found a way to keep training!

Reply to  Bookit
5 months ago

I’m confident they were not swimming at the University of Michigan pool.

Time For Barta To Go
Reply to  Bookit
5 months ago

Bookit nails it. (rhyme intended)

I found this line in the article particularly humorous – “including three different periods of pausing and challenges finding water”. Not sure if that was intended as humor, but it definitely made this reader smile.

Of course they have been swimming. Where, when, how – who knows? College programs and coaches all over the country have been figuring out ways to get their teams pool time, if their athletic departments or pools have been shuttered. Email them their practices, help arrange reservations, etc. Most owners of facilities are honored to have them and bend over backwards to accommodate – in whatever form possible.

It’s just been more inconvenient than training in your home (palatial) pool.… Read more »

Not true
Reply to  Time For Barta To Go
5 months ago

I doubt it “time for Barca to go.” I have children on D1 teams and they each have had multiple and multi-months long periods with no water, no weights, no dry land, no coaches. The B1G swimming conference has taken the pandemic with utmost seriousness and I am confident you are wrong.
Also WECOME BACK Xichigan! we are glad you’re going to be at Minnesota OSU and Perdue!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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