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April 14, 2003 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-04-14

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2B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - Monday, April 14, 2003

CLUBSPORTSWEEKLY
Synchronized swimmers
look ahead to nationals

Smiles all around

UIte ffidirigan &aIiul
ATHLETE OF THE WEEK

Who: Calli Ryals
Hometown: Elyria, Ohio

Sport: Gymnastics
Year: Junior

0

By Maggie Adams
Daily Sports Writer

"We're definitely rebuild ing,"
said junior co-captain Molly Clark
of the women's synchronized swim-
ming team. "When I was a fresh-
man there were only eight
members. .By sophomore year there
were 13, and this year there are 24
girls swimming for us."
Women's synchronized swimming
was actually the first varsity women's
sport at Michigan, but it was discon-
tinued because of budget issues back
in the 1980s. It was renewed as a club
sport four years ago with five charter
members.
"It's really great to have this many
girls swimming for us, because it lets
us perform a lot more routines at each
competition," Clark said.
Another thing that helps the team
perform well against varsity teams
is its intense practice schedule. They
work out at Canham Natatorium
three times a week for two-and-a-
half to three hours per practice.
Players also spend a lot of time out-
side of scheduled practices meeting
with each of their separate routines,
working on synchronization and
choreography. Much of this work is
done through a technique called
land drilling, in which the major
elements of each routine are done
on land.
"Practice is essential to our team,"
Clark said. "A three-to four-minute
routine takes about three to four
months to perfect. And routines are
only one part of the competitions."
The other major part of a synchro-
nized swimming meet is figures. In
this event, each team member is alone
in the pool and performs four separate
elements for the judges. The scores
from their figures are contributed to
the team's overall score, which deter-
mines the places of each team at
meet's end.
This year, the team attended six dif-
ferent regular season meets in places
such as Arizona and upstate New York.
"The best meet for us as a team
was our dual meet with Ohio State,
because their swimmers worked
with each of our swimmers, one-on-
one, before the competition," Clark
said. "The Ohio State team is a real-
ly serious advocate of our team,
because they really want to see Big
Ten synchro prosper."

Having Ohio State help out was a
major boost, as Ohio State was the
reigning national champion and has
consistently been at the top of the
competitive field.
"They've been national champs
for years, so it's really great to have
support from a team like that,"
Clark said.
"It was really amazing just to be
there with teams like Ohio State
and Stanford," Clark said. "And
we're hosting nationals next year,
so it's going to be even better. It
involves a lot of summer work, but
when 300 synchronized swimmers
invade Ann Arbor next March it
will be worth it."
Having the national championship
- which rotates regions every year
- in Ann Arbor will bring 20 to 30
teams here, which definitely excites
the team.
Before nationals take place, the
Wolverines will have to get through
their regular season. They start the
year with a clinic in September,
where they teach any interested
ladies all of the basics of synchro-
nized swimming. That is followed by
tryouts in October, where the sepa-
rate teams will be formed.
The team's three coaches - Becky
Domegan, Stephanie Sherk and Sheri
Shapiro - are considering splitting
next year's team into a competition
team of the 20 most talented ladies,
and then an exhibition team of all of
the other girls who are still learning.
A major tenet of the program is offer-
ing the opportunity to anyone who
wants to participate.
All three coaches were previous
members of the team, so they already
knew a lot about the program coming
in and have offered a wealth of useful
guidance.
"They care a lot about the pro-
gram," Clark said. "They spend
hours upon hours of time devoting
themselves to making our team
experience better. We just wish we
had more money to offer them as
salary."
The team does a lot of fundraising,
because the costs of traveling amount
to around $ 10,000 every year.
"Stuff like that really brings us
together though," Clark said. "We
bond over fundraising and getting up
early for Sunday practices. I know
that I've made friends on this team
that will last for a lifetime."

What: Ryals was at her best on Saturday night at the NCAA Regional meet,
scoring a 39.500 to win the individual title. That performance paced the
Wolverines, as they captured the sixth regional title in school history with
a 196.825, holding off Arizona State by 0.1. Ryals took home event titles
in the unveven bars (9.9) and floor exercise (9.95)

Ryals

Spo1RJBRIEFS

Gracious in defeat?
Jordan rips teammates
WASHINGTON (AP) - Michael
Jordan sounded like a dad let down by
his kids.
"How many times have your parents
told you not to do things, and the next
thing you know, you go do it?" Jordan
said. "And you realized you shouldn't
have done it."
Jordan was speaking after an emo-
tional loss by the Washington Wizards
to the Boston Celtics, a defeat that
almost certainly means his second
comeback will end in failure by the
standards he set.
The Wizards won't be in the playoffs
- Milwaukee wrapped up the final spot
in the Eastern Conference with a victory
over Toronto on Friday night - and Jor-
dan is left to wonder why some of his
teammates waited so long to show pas-
sion and energy.
"Sometimes you need to get hit in the

head to realize that you're in a fight,"
Jordan said. "It's unbelievable we had to
come down to this moment, where we're
really fighting and scratching to try to
stay in the playoffs, when all season long
we had great opportunities to win ball-
games and take advantage of it.
"That's a young team. They realized
late."
Jordan's third coming is coming to an
end, and from his perspective it's been
marred by the very players with whom
he chose to share his final season.
Little more could have been asked
from Jordan himself, at least statistical-
ly: The 40-year-old superstar with six
NBA championship rings has averaged
37 minutes and 20 points, and he is the
only Wizards player not to miss a game.
But while he didn't embarrass himself
like Willie Mays with the Mets or John-
ny Unitas with the Chargers at the end
of their careers, Jordan couldn't win in
Washington, in part because his over-
whelming presence skewed a delicate
team chemistry.

"

AP PHOTO
Even though he wasn't receiving the green jacket, Tiger Woods was still In good
spirits as he put the jacket on Mike Weir.

0

Canadian Weir takes home first green jacket

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) - A Maple
Leaf grows among the towering pines
of Augusta National.
Mike Weir became the first Cana-
dian to win the Masters, making two
clutch pars to force a playoff with
Len Mattiace, and winning on the
first extra hole with a simple tap-in
for bogey.
The green jacket that Tiger Woods
had hoped to slip on for a record
third straight year is going north of
the border.
Weir, who only five years ago had to
toil through PGA Tour qualifying
school, closed with a bogey-free 68 on
a dramatic yesterday at Augusta
National, then let Mattiace make all
the mistakes in the first Masters play-
off in 13 years.
Weir had to sweat over a 5-foot
par putt on the 17th and a 6-footer
on the 18th, as Mattiace waited on

the practice green among chairs that
already were set up for the fabled
green jacket ceremony.
Minutes later, Weir leaned over to
tap in for his only bogey of the day,
then raised his arms and embraced
his longtime friend and caddie,
Brennan Little.
What a breakthrough - not only
was he the first Canadian to win a
major championship, he became the
first left-hander to win a major since
Bob Charles in the 1963 British Open.
Mattiace watched a brilliant day at
Augusta National crumble quickly.
He chipped in for birdie, holed a 60-
foot putt on No. 10, and charged
through the back nine on a mission to
build a two-stroke lead. But Mattiace
bogeyed the 18th for a 65, and he
never had a chance in the playoff.
From the middle of the 10th fairway,
he hooked his approach wildly to the

left and then chipped some 30 feet by
the hole. His par putt nearly went off
the green, and Mattiace wound up with
a double bogey.
Both finished at 7-under 281, the
highest winning score at the Masters
since 1989.
Weir won for the third time this year,
and all six of his PGA Tour victories
have been comebacks - none more
special than this.
Until yesterday, the most nervous he
has ever felt was watching Canada win
the gold medal in hockey at the Salt
Lake City Olympics.
"This was definitely nerve-racking,"
Weir said. "I tried to gather myself on
each putt. Every putt on this golf
course is tough."
All of them mattered until the- end,
when Mattiace chopped up the 10th
hole and was struggling to hold back
tears when he realized how close he

had come.
All of them mattered in a nervous
pursuit of the green jacket.
Woods, who stumbled to a 75,
slipped the coveted prize over his
shoulders.
"Thanks, Tig," Weir told him. "It
feels good."
Woods was only four strokes behind
to start the final round, and history
seemed to be there for the taking.
He gave it all away with one bad
decision - a driver on the shortest par
4 at Augusta National that went into an
azalea bush, caused him to hit his next
shot left-handed and led to a double
bogey that derailed his chances.
The other lefty - Phil Mickelson
- had a 4-under 68 for his best clos-
ing round at the Masters, but it still left
him empty after 43 tries in a major
championship. Mickelson finished
third at 5-under 283.

I

'M'S(CHEDULE

Tomorrow
Softball vs. Eastern Michigan (DH), 5 p.m.
Wednesday, Apr. 15
Baseball vs. Oakland, 3 p.m.
Softball vs. Akron (DH), 5 p.m.
Friday. Apr. 18
Softball at Ohio State, 3 p.m.
Baseball at Michigan State, 6 p.m.
M Track/Field at Eastern Michigan Invitational
M Track/Field at Mt. SAC Relays
Saturday. Apr. 19
W Rowing vs. Indiana (East Lansing), 10:30 a.m.
W Tennis at Wisconsin, 12 p.m.
M Tennis vs. Northwestern, 12 p.m.
Softball at Ohio State, 12 p.m.
Baseball vs. Michigan State (DH), 1 p.m.
W Rowing vs. Ohio State (East Lansing), 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, Apr. 20
W Tennis at Northwestern, 12 p.m.
M Tennis vs. Wisconsin, 12 p.m.
Softball at Penn State (DH), 12 p.m.
Baseball at Michigan State, 1 p.m.

Wednesday. Apr. 23
Softball vs. Central Michigan, 7 p.m.
Thursday. Apr. 24
W Gymnastics at NCAA Team Preliminaries, TBA
W Track/Field at Penn Relays
W Track/Field at Drake Relays
M Track/Field at Penn Relays
M Tennis at Big Ten Championship
W Tennis at Big Ten Championship
Friday. Apr. 25
W Gymnastics at Super Six Team finals, TBA
Baseball vs. Penn State, 3 p.m.
Softball vs. Purdue 6 p.m.
Water Polo vs. Eastern Championships
W Golf at Big Ten Championships (Iowa City, IA)
M Track/Field at Hillsdale Relays
Saturday. Apr. 26
W Gymnastics at Individual Event finals, TBA
Baseball vs. Penn State (DH), 1 p.m.
Softball vs. Purdue, 1 p.m.
M Golf at Bruce Fossum/Spartan Invitational

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