10 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, February 10, 1998
upsets Ohio St. tankers
Wolverines top Buckeyes with 12 swimmers
By Uma Subramanian
Daily Sports Writer
It was an unexpected victory featuring
an unexpected star.
Last Friday, a shorthanded Michigan
women's swimming team went into Ohio
State territory as the underdog in its final
dual meet of the year against the
And just as they have done all season,
pulled out a victory, i d
this time by a score I
of 136-98. doubt tai
were at a disadvan-
tage because they
were competing rateful I
with just 12 swim-
mers, while the rest
of the team was
resting for Big Ten
Although many on being gra
of her teammates
took the day off, senior Rachel Gustin
gave a tremendous effort.
At this time last season it was doubtful
whether Gustin would return to the pool as
a member of the Michigan women's swim-
In October of 1996, Gustin had arthro-
scopic surgery on her shoulder and was
granted a medical redshirt for her senior
"A lot of times after a shoulder injury,
the swimmers never make it back to com-
pete at this level," Michigan coach Jim
Richardson said. "Rachel's done very, very
well, and we're just really happy that she
made it back."
But in Gustin's mind, she always knew
she would return.
When the NCAA granted her another
year of eligibility, she was determined to
make use of it.
"I didn't have
any doubt that I
ye any wanted to come
1 wanted to back," Gustin
I WE~ ~d 20 said. "I'm just
I' .EEgrateful that I
j s MNhad the opportu-
ad thenity to come
back and swim
was Coming off an
- Rachel Gustin injury, Gustin
,an women's swimmer didn't expect to
ted a medical redshirt be swimming
much. But she
has far exceeded her own expectations as
well as those of others.
Friday, she nearly set a pool record in
the 200-yard breastroke with a time of
2:19.93. She also won the 200 individual
medley (2:07.45) and swam a leg of the
first place 400 IM relay.
Being in the winner's circle is not new
to Gustin. She is an NCAA champion on a
400 medley relay, an eight-time Big Ten
champion and a 10-time All-American.
Kerd Hale may not have been In the water for the Wolverines, but the Michigan women's
swimming team still managed to beat the Buckeyes, 136-98.
But this season, Gustin has had to con-
quer a new kind of challenge.
"It was really hard to adjust to my new
times," Gustin said. "It was really frustrat-
ing at first.
"I was swimming so much slower than I
used to, and I had to accept that I could.
only swim those times. Once I got my
head back into it, I realized I was just real-
ly excited to be back."
While initially disappointed with her
reduced contributions to the team - early
this season she was swimming only the
100 breast - Richardson said her pres-
ence was invaluable.
"Anytime you've got an injury and you
return to make your mark, that elevates
other people's performances," Richardson
In Friday's meet, several other Michigan
swimmers turned in elevated perfor-
Freshman Jen Crisman set a pool record
in the 50 free, and Jenny Arndt and Kasey
Harris won two events each.
Although Harris wasn't entirely pleased
with her times, she admitted she enjoyed
"The meet was really exciting because
we went down there that day facing a real-
ly big challenge," Harris said. "We just put
together a great team effort."
'M' tumbles at
By Vaughn R.Kug
For the Dail,
If anyone has a theory about a relationship between the
distance a team travels to a tournament and its perfor-
mance at that tournament, Saturday's UCLA Invitational
could be of interest.
The scenario didn't work in favor of the Michigan
women's gymnastics team, which finished third at the
The closer the team was to Los Angeles, the better the
team performed. UCLA - obviously the closest team -
prevailed, with a team effort of 195.400 points. This was
the Bruins' eighth-consecutive victory as hosts of the
UCLA's intrastate rival, No. 12
Stanford, took second place with a
score of 194.300. The Cardinal stayed
unbeaten versus the Wolverines, after
winning all four of their meets against
The eighth-ranked Wolverines fin-
ished a distant third with 192.600
points, beating only Cornell, which
struggled to a last-place finish with
Peters 178.125 points.
Cornell -- located in Ithaca, N.Y., a
good 500 miles east of Ann Arbor - had the longest
flight to the tournament.
It was a frustrating showing for Michigan because the
Wolverines encountered difficulties beyond their control.
Sophomore Kate Nellan ruptured her Achilles tendon
early in the competition, and the team was never able to
"Emotionally, every one of us hit the bottom. It's hard
to pick yourself up after seeing something like that hap-
pen," Michigan coach Bev Plocki said.
The distraction of seeing Nellan suffer such a terrible
injury troubled the team for the remainder of the day.
"Katie is a very, very important part of our team,"
Plocki said. "Everyone felt absolutely horrible, and it's*
very dangerous to compete if you're distracted."
Michigan also had to overcome jetlag. Considering the
Wolverines' third-place performance, the time-zone dis-
crepancy couldn't have helped. But Plocki didn't ratio-
nalize Michigan's loss.
"I don't like to make excuses," Plocki said, "We had
enough time to overcome" the jet-lag.
The conservativerscoring of the judges proved to be
even more frustrating for the Wolverines.
"When we started out on the balance beam, it was evi-
dent that the scoring was very different and very, very6
tight," Plocki said. "When you feel you've given one of
the best performances, and you get one of the worst.
scores, it is very discouraging."
Despite the stingy scoring, junior Nikki Peters and
freshman Christine Michaud tied for third on the uneven
bars with a score of 9.900.
Michaud excels on the vault - she's ranked No. 9 in
the Central Region and has a season average of 9.745.
agano 1998 medal count
Charles Woodson attended this year's ESPYs but is coming home
empty-handed. Peyton Manning won College Football Player of the Year.
Arthur Ashe Award
Outstanding Female Athlete
Outstanding Male Athlete
Ken Griffey, Jr. (tie)
Player of the Year
Peyton Manning, Tennessee
Men's College Basketball
Player of the Year
Keifh Van Horn, Utah
Women's College Basketball
Player of the Year
Chamique Holdsclaw, Tennessee
Game of the Year
Super Bowl XXXII
Continued from Page 9
In the Big Ten season, the Buckeyes
have had their problems. An inability to
shoot from the floor and the free-throw
line, coupled with some bad defense
and a ton of turnovers, have added up to
debacles like Saturday's 107-75 loss to
The intensity has also been lacking at
times. O'Brien has blasted the team on
a couple of occasions.
After his most vehement tirade, the
Buckeyes came out strong against
Illinois, but a late-game defensive
breakdown - of which there have been
many - drove the stake through Ohio
Michael Redd, the freshman shoot-
ing guard, has been impressive.
But Redd's shooting percentage has
fallen through the floor as teams have
begun double- and triple-teaming him,
knowing no one else has been able to
step up and take charge.
A lack of leadership also exists.
Carlos Davis, the thrown-into-battle
point guard, has been adequate, but his
lack of experience at the position
From an offensive standpoint, the
team has been inconsistent and unable
to find a second scoring threat.
Redd is taking the bulk of the shots
and scoring most of the points.
But no one on the team has taken
responsibility and said, at least publicly,
"I'm sick of this."
About the only thing to come out of
the locker room recently has been the
news of Sean Tucker's dismissal/quit-
Tucker caused a stir when he accused
O'Brien of "harassing" and "dissing"
To which O'Brien replied, "I kicked
him out of the film room for falling
asleep. If that's harassment, that's the
way I coach"
It would seem something like this
would unify the team, either on one side
of the fence or the other. But most of
the team seems to be ambivalent about
the whole episode.
Things could get better for the
But that seemed to be the general
consensus before the season started,
Fans can only hope that the players
will manage to retain their sanity before
the season ends.
If the team gets discouraged and
gives up, it could hurt next year's team
Continued from Page 9
what. But let's face it: These Wolverines
just don't care very much about winning
the Big Ten. If they did, they would've
done it long before now with the talent
What really matters to these
Wolverines - the Traylor, Conlan,
Bullock, Ward and Baston generations
- is the NCAA Tournament, March
Madness, the Big Dance.
That's kooky-talk. You can't just think
about the Final Four all the time when
you can't even win your conference.
But that's what these Wolverines do
think about. Robert Traylor said it before
the season - "We'll be a Final Four
team." That was his priority, not the Big
That approach may be wrong, but it's
understandable that these Wolverines
may think that way.
They've played their collegiate careers
in the shadow of the Fab Five. And Chris
Webber, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Ray
Jackson and Jimmy King didn't make
themselves and their school famous by
winning a Big Ten championship. They
did it on a much grander level - a
nationwide-, even worldwide-level,
keyed by two NCAA Tournament runs.
So it's no wonder the current
Wolverines probably care more about
March than they do about November
Hello? You still haven't said how this
out-of the-Big Ten-race-thing is good.
For normal teams, this wouldn't be a
good thing. But, as is painfully obvious,
Michigan basketball teams are rarely
normal, and this season is no exception.
Ever since the Wolverines started the@
conference season 5-1 and launched
themselves into the Big Ten race, they've
lacked many of the traits that got them to
that point in the first place - great
defense, intensity and aggressiveness.
Now that they're probably out of the
running for the Big Ten crown, the
Wolverines need not treat every game as
a must-win. Sure, the Wolverines would
like to win all five of their remaining
conference games. But barring a total
collapse, a couple losses are not likely to
lose Michigan an NCAA Tournament
Starting with tomorrow night's game
against Ohio State, the pressure is, rela-
tively, off, and the Wolverines can con-
centrate more on developing their game,
rather than just beating the other team.
"The important thing against Ohio
State is not only winning, but how we
play,"Michigan coach Brian Ellerbe said
The Wolverines' job is no longer to
win the Big Ten, it's to get better during
the remainder of February and build
momentum going into the Big Ten and
Because that's what really matters -
at least to these Wolverines.
It would still be cool to win the Big
Ten - then everybody would know how
good Michigan is.
Oh, sorry. I stepped away for a
moment. I was just checking who the
1989 Big Ten champion was. For some
reason, maize and blue was all I could
- For more information on how to
be really opti nistic about a really frus-
trating team, Dan Stillman can be
reached via e-mail at email@example.com.
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