The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 17, 1998 - 11
Women's swimming team
thrives despite cold climate
By T.J. Berka
Daily Sports Writer
Whenever there's a discussion about women's swimming,
there are a few names that consistently float to the surface.
Schools such as Georgia, USC, Stanford, SMU and Auburn
are always mentioned among the elite.
Michigan's name is also bandied about when the powers
of swimming are discussed.
The Wolverines definitely deserve such talk, as they have
won 12 consecutive Big Ten titles and are consistently
entrenched in the top 10 in the nation. Currently, Michigan
is ranked sixth.
Michigan's success is a testament to the program that cur-
rent coach Jim Richardson has installed. While simply hav-
ing a highly ranked program yields Richardson quite a bit of
respect, the fact that he built a program of this caliber in the
northern United States is amazing in __________
Other schools mentioned among the Swimming
swimming greats share certain charac- Notebook
teristics that southeast Michigan lacks: -__--_----
sun, surf and warm weather. For a place
like Michigan, which can get snow from October through
April, it's hard to compete with the subtropical weather
other schools can provide.
"It's very difficult to get kids from Florida or places like
Southern California, Arizona, Louisiana, Texas and other
warm-weather states to come to a place like Michigan
because of not only the weather, but because it is very dif-
ferent culturally as well," Richardson said.
Not only do the Wolverines encounter problems from
warm-weather schools when they recruit down south, they
also feel climactic effects with recruits closer to home in the
Midwest. Many swimmers from the North look to go to col-
lege in sunnier locations.
"Of the four girls in the senior class from the Midwest
that we have sent letters to in the beginning of the recruiting
season, three of them have gone south," Richardson said.
"We are still recruiting the other girl, and we are hoping to
The problem of climate, which usually is just a minor nui-
sance, is more serious this year, as the talent in this year's
recruiting class is down across the nation. While last year's
class and next year's class are talented and deep. there is a
lull this year, which makes any disadvantage the Wolverines
have seem that much greater.
"Normally in a given year we send out letters to 25 or 30
recruits throughout the nation who we think can swim wv,-l
at the Division I level," Richardson said. "This ye ar we only
sent out letters to seven recruits, with only four of them
being in the Midwest."
With a huge class of seniors on this year's team - 10 of
26 swimmers will be graduating - there is concern about
Michigan's depth in 1998-99.
These concerns, like all other concerns Richardson has
faced during his tenure at Michigan, will probably be solved
in due time.
"If anybody thinks that they understand recruiting, they
are crazy," Richardson said.
MIXING AND MATCHING: The 10 Michigan swimmers
traveling to Minneapolis this weekend for the NCAA
Championships are of different ages and experience lev-
Half the Wolverines - Talor Bendel, Ellen Fraumann,
Rachel Gustin, Kim Johnson and Linda Riker - are
seniors. The Wolverines are also bringing three freshmen to
Minnesota with them. While the youngsters - Jen
Crisman, Kasey Harris and Missy Sugar - are the only
Wolverines without NCAA meet experience, Richardson
doesn't foresee any problems.
"Sometimes we have problems because many freshmen
are happy just to be there, and it is hard to swim your fastest
when you just want to be there," Richardson said. The fresh-
men "have competed at national meets before, so they
should be ready to go."
FLYING FISH: Swimmers at the NCAA Championships
swim faster as a group than at any other meet. This year is
no exception - in fact, there is a belief that this meet may
be the fastest meet ever.
"This will be a fun meet to watch;" Richardson said.
"There will be many records broken, and this could be the
fastest meet ever, even faster than the Olympics:'
Luckily for Michigan women's swimming coach Jim Richardson, Shannon Shakespeare was never deterred by the coldMwinters
of Ann Arbor. Her decision to attend Michigan helped Richardson compete with the swimming powerhouses of the South.
WEST LAFAYETTE -- With
Colorado State putting on a shooting
clinic from 3-point range, Purdue
needed someone - anyone - to
Mackenzie Curless figured it
might as well be her.
The sophomore center scored 12
of her 18 points in the second half
last night as Purdue beat Colorado
State, 77-63, in the second round of
the women's NCAA basketball tour-
Ukari Figgs and Stephanie White
each had 20 for the Boilermakers
(22-9), and Michelle Duhart added
Becky Hammon led the Rams
with 23 points, 19 of which came in
the first half. Katie Cronin,
Colorado State's second-leading
*scorer, finished with 12 after going
scoreless in the first half. Jacque
Johnson also had 12 for Colorado
With 21 seconds left, rookie
Purdue coach Carolyn Peck went
down the bench, exchanging high-
fives with her players. 'The
Boilermakers play Notre Dame on
Saturday in the Midwest Regional in
Lubbock, Texas. The Irish defeated
top-seeded Texas Tech on Sunday
In their only previous meeting this
season, Notre Dame beat Purdue 77-
h 6 t p
higan 64''' oom C
Purdue was on fire from three-point land last night in its 77-63 victory over Colorado State. The win sent the Boilermakers
into the third round of the women's NCAA Tournament.
Colorado State led by 13 in the
first half, thanks to six straight 3-
pointers - including three from
But Purdue ended the first half
with a 13-4 run to cut the lead to 38-
34 at the break.
And the Boilermakers started the
second half just as they ended the
first - on a tear.
Sparked by Curless, they scored
eight unanswered points before
Cronin finally hit a 3-pointer, her
first basket of the game.
Back-to-back baskets from
Curless gave Purdue a 49-45 lead,
its largest of the game, with 12:52
But Colorado State wasn't done
yet. Cronin hit a 3-pointer and then
dished off to Hammon for a layup.
Heather Haanen's layup gave the
Rams' a 52-49 lead with 10:48 left,
but that was it for Colorado State,
which couldn't handle Purdue's
The Boilermakers were all over
the floor, making shots and then
stealing the ball at the other end.
By the time Colorado State scored
another field goal, a 3-pointer from
Johnson with 1:53 left, Purdue led
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