Tomorrow, 7 p.m.
Cliff Keen Arena
Saturday,1 p.m. (CBS)
Blue tumblers raid Keen
Big Ten champs square off in intrasquad meet
*By JOSH KARP
DAILY SPORTS WRITER
In its final year as a varsity sport,
the Michigan men's gymnastics team
will try to make it amemorable season.
The team heads east to take part in
the Penn State Invitational tomorrow
night, competing against Pittsburgh,
Kent State, Washington and the host
Bob Darden, in his eleventh cam-
paign as head coach, has all 18
letterwinners from last season return-
ing, and said he expects his team to fare
very well in the meet.
"We're the favorite," Darden said.
"We've shown that when we have our
premiere team on the floor, we do very
well. We have full expectations of do-
ing very well in this competition."
With a competitive team of 12 trav-
*eling to the meet, Darden is looking for
big results, especially from co-captain
Rich Dopp, a junior who qualified for
the NCAA Championships on high bar
"(Rich) has been putting in long,'
hard hours," Darden said. "He will
work close to the all around. He's re-
ally going to impact the performance
of the team on floor exercise and high
Darden also said that Seth Rubin, a
senior co-captain, can take the team to
"Seth has been making a real
strong showing in the preseason,"
he said. "We're really going to
depend on him on four events, but
he's really going to show the
strength of his ability on pommel
horse and high bar."
Junior Brian Winkler, who took
the national championship in the
floor exercise his freshman year,
missed most of last season with a
sore back and competed in just two
events. Winkler said his back is at
"about 85 percent" now, and Darden
said he expects only good things to
"(Brian) is probably going to show
*his return to his leadership capacities
on several events, and be the meat of
the team's scoring on the remaining
Winkler said that the team can be
victorious, but added that Penn State is
"We're going in with a lot of confi-
dence," Winkler said. "If we hit (all of
the routines), I think we can win it.
"It's going to be hard competing at
Penn State. They're always good at
For the first time in three years, the
gymnasts will compete prior to Janu-
ary, and Darden said he expects it to be
beneficial to the squad.
"This year, not having the
intrasquad, we decided to make it a full
blown competition," Darden said.
"From the way the team's been prepar-
*ipg, we're about a month ahead of
where we were last year. That's real
good for us because it gives us an
opportunity justto test-drive our confi-
However, the team will have atough
time being top dog in Big Ten compe-
"In the Big Ten, there's a couple
powerhouses, Ohio State and Minne-
*sota, but once you get past that, it's
anyone's game," Dopp said.
Darden expressed more optimistic
feelings for the season ahead.
"We are going to have a real great
year," he said.
By TOM BAUSANO
and MELANIE SCHUMAN
DAILY SPORTS WRITERS
Michigan women's gymnastics
coach Bev Plocki might want to tele-
phone Michael Jordan to get advice on
how a team accomplishes the incred-
ible feat of winning three consecutive
Then again, the two-time return-
ing Big Ten champions have the
gymnasts to continue their winning
tradition. They seem to have their
own formula for success, enough so
that they are aiming to be one of the
Super Six elite teams in the nation
"I think that all of my athletes are
very committed and dedicated to the
team," Plocki said. "It takes an enor-
mous amount of dedication to handle
the academics as well as athletics."
Tomorrow at 7p.m., Michigan will
kickoff its 1993-94 campaign with its
annual Intrasquad meet at Cliff Keen
In the last five seasons, the team has
not only shocked its supporters but has
discredited its critics by virtue of its
undisputed success. Last season, the
women won the Big Ten Champion-
ship and placed ninth at the NCAA
"The team is very together,"junior
LiLi Leung said. "Spirit-wise, you can
see that we are getting pumped up for
the season. (The intrasquad is) a prac-
tice meet for the freshmen to teach
them how to act at meets.
"It's very important to have a sup-
port group around the event a team-
mate is on in order to talk them through
Not only the freshmen, but the whole
team will have to increase the overall
level of difficulty in its routines in
order to adjust to a new set of scoring
The United States Gymnastics
Federation has developed a new
point scoring system to be used at
all levels of competition. The new
standards were a reaction to the in-
creased number of high scores be-
ing awarded in recent competition
that made it difficult to distinguish
the abilities of gymnasts.
"The (intrasquad) meet is an oppor-
tunity to throw the higher skills in a
meet where the scores don't count,"
captain Wendy Wilkinson said. "Ithelps
us to realize where we are at in doing
these new routines."
"Most of the exercises will be set,
but the floor will be a little watered
down," Leung said. "Floor is the hard-
est event to get your endurance up for
and if you miss certain skills at the
beginning of the season it will men-
tally effect you later on in the season.
It's better to add skills as the season
Returning to a team full of talent
are five All-Americans - Beth
Wymer (uneven bars, balance beam
and all-around), Kelly Carfora(vault),
Wendy Marshall (vault), Diana Rineli
(floor), and Tina Miranda (uneven
bars). Additionally, former Big Ten
all-around champion Wilkinson, and
standout Debbie Berman are expected
to perform well.
"It's early right now," redshirt
sophomore May May Leung sai:l.
"We are not in tip-top shape, but we
should be throwing our full routines.
I'm excited to be competing in the
same meet with my sister.
"It's our third year here in college
and we still have not been healthy at
the same time. So this meet will be
the first one together in a while."
Tomorrow's exhibition will
showcase all of the team's talent
as they are divided into two teams
and will compete against one an-
other. The results will give the
team an indication of the progress
they've made thus far this year,
and what needs to be done before
intercollegiate competition begins
Diana Rineli, a second-team All-American, performs a floor exercise.
Future women's swimmnng Wolverines give preview at Open
By BRETT JOHNSON
DAILY SPORTS WRITER
The future oftheMichigan women's
swimming program appeared in Ann
Arbor this weekend. At least part of it
The U.S. Open meet at Canham
Natatorium acted as the crystal ball,
and the future that appeared was two of
the Wolverines' top incoming fresh-
men, Talor Bendel and Kim Johnson.
Although neither showed their true
capabilities due to the point in training
that they are at, Michigan coach Jim
Richardson said he was pleased to see
them swimming at Canham.
"Watching Kim, she rested for four
days I think, you can see she was kind
of warming up to the meet," Richardson
said. "You can see she's a big time
finals swimmer. Talor's in the middle
of training right now. I think if you had
seen Talor get some second swims,
you would have seen the same type of
"She's aracer, and she knows when
the money's on the table. Both of these
swimmers are big time swimmers."
Richardson said that merely attend-
ing the meet at their future home pool
will give the swimmers an added ad-
vantage in next year's transition to
"I think the fact that Kim and Talor
have come this year will make it easier for
them as freshmen,"he said. "They'll have
the feeling that they're comfortable here."
Johnson, a senior atJ.J. Pearce High
School in Richardson, Texas, swam
well at the Open after only resting for
four days. She finalled in the 100-
meter freestyle where sheplaced eighth,
won the consolation finals in both the
200 individual medley (IM) and 200
freestyle, and finished second in the
consolation finals in the 50 freestyle.
"I'm pleased with how I did,"
Johnson said. "This is really the first
meet that I've had racing this season.
I'm really pleased with my times and
the way I feel in the water. I thought
maybe I'd feel sluggish or out of shape.
I rested for about three days, and I
shaved. I'm glad I did because men-
tally it helps me."
The high school All-American said
she has been interested in swimming at
Michigan since she was a sophomore.
Her high school coach, Fernando
Canales, was an All-American swim-
mer at Michigan from 1978-82 as well
as an assistant coach.
"We got some inside dope on Kim
from Fernando Canales," Richardson
said. "When he went to Richardson, he
said 'I have a swimmer that will really
fit what you do in your program,' and
he was right on the mark. I think the
thing that impressed me about her was
that she has maturity beyond her age.
She had the ability to know what she
wanted and what were really the im-
portant things. She doesn't get side
tracked on the kind of showy things
that 17 years old are prone to."
Johnson should step in and imme-
diately help the team, especially in the
sprint freestyle and IM events. She is
the Texas state record holder in the
100-yard freestyle and has set as oneof
her goals this year to break the state
record in the 200 IM. She won both
events at the Texas high school state
meet last year.
"I want to win my events again,"
Johnson said. "Time wise, I want to try to
break two minutes (in the 200 IM). That
would break our state record. In the 100
free, I just want to better my time."
"Kim's a great freestyler, she's a
good IMer and she has a hidden talent
in the fly," Richardson said. "She's
going to step in right away in all the free
relays and possibly the medleys as
As for Bendel, she is in the middle
of training right now and neither rested
nor shaved for the meet, so Richardson
obviously isn't putting anything into
her performance. After all, she holds
the Kentucky state high school record
in the 100-yard butterfly, has been a
YMCA national butterfly champion
and won the 100-meter butterfly at the
1990 Olympic Festival. Like Johnson,
she is also a high school All-American.
"I don't use a meet like this to
gauge," Richardson said. "People ask
if you're happy - I've seen Talor
swim since she was 13. I know what
type of swimmer she is. She comes
here and doesn't console final or final,
that's irrelevant. That's where she is in
her training. If she came in dead last
we'd still want her because we know
what type of swimmer she is."
Richardson first noticed Bendel at
the YMCA nationals when she was 13.
Richardson has continued to watch
Bendel as a member of the Anderson
Barracudas, a club team in Cincinnati,
Ohio, and as a high schooler at
Beechwood High School in Edgewood,
"I was real impressed with her as a
13 year old," Richardson said. "She
swam a really tough event, the 200 fly,
and she finalled and almost won the
thing. That has to impress you right off
the bat. Most 200 flyers can swim other
events and can swim them well.
"You feel when you have someone
like that, they can contribute in a lot of
different ways. In talking with her coach,
we had a good understanding of Talor.
I think she's a very competitive person.
She's team-oriented, and I think this
was the right choice for her."
Bendel's choice came down to
Northwestern and Michigan, although
she also took a trip to Georgia.
"It seemed like Ann Arbor was more
of a college setting and I liked that,"
Bendel said. "At Northwestern, it seemed
like the college wasputin the middle of the
town. At Michigan, it seemed like the
college was Ann Arbor."
Like Johnson, Bendel should pro-
vide immediate help in the butterfly, an
area the Wolverines need help in.
"Talor has an opportunity to step in
right away in an area where we've had
some weaknesses for the last three or
four years,"Richardson said. "We think
Talor has the ability to step in and do it
not only at the end of the year but
throughout the year as well. We won't
find ourselves having to take a 400
IMer and have them swim the fly.
"I think she will be a very solid
performer for us in the 500 freestyle.
She's obviously a very good 200
freestyler. She's a 1:49 in that. She's
been :51 flat in the 100 free. She's got
tremendous range as an athlete. The
fact that she's got the range gives us a
lot of things that we can do with her."
Although the U.S. Open may not
have been a total reflection of their
abilities, the meet did allow the Wol-
verine fans to peer into the crystal ball
and look at the future of Michigan
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