The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday - April 8, 1991- Page 3
Michigan world-record holder Mike Barrowman, who won the 200 breaststroke in the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships for the third
consecutive year, offers his unique point of view from a journal he kept at this year's Championships in Austin, Texas.
want Schmidt out
Eight years ago, a letter to former Michigan athletic director Don
Canham from members of the hockey team brought about the firing of
their coach John Giordano. Recently, a letter signed by 13 former mem-
bers of the Michigan cheerleading squad landed on interim athletic direc-
tor Jack Weidenbach's desk asking that their old coach, Annette Schmidt,
be relieved of her coaching duties.
The letter criticized both Schmidt's coaching as well as her handling
of the team's finances and representation of the team in public. The
whole ordeal leaves Schmidt almost at a loss for words.
With long pauses between words, Schmidt quitely explained, "I'm
just very hurt by the whole process.... I don't even know how to respond
to it.... I'm ... (hhhh) ... I'm sorry. This is really bothering me."
Last year, one member was so discontent with Schmidt that he took
out an advertisement in a cheerleading magazine. It stated that Michigan
was looking for a new cheerleading coach and asked that resumes be sent
to the athletic department, unbeknownst to it.
"Now, we're doing it the right way," former cheerleader Sevag
Vartanian said of sending Weidenbach a letter detailing Schmidt's ac-
The Daily obtained a copy of the letter sent to Weidenbach. Here are
excerpts of the three page note, detailing Schmidt's troubles with the
Dear Mr. Weidenbach:
We are writing this letter to express our concern over the status of
the University of Michigan cheerleading team, specifically our coach,
Ms. Annette Schmidt. We feel that Annette does not have an adequate
knowledge of gymnastics, stunting, and college cheerleading in general.
We also feel that Annette is arbitrary both in making and enforcing team
rules, and that her conduct is misrepresentative of the University. We
feel that this letter is necessary because over the past three years thirteen
members have quit. This year both of our captains and two All-
1. Annette does not have an adequate knowledge of cheerleading. She
has no background in gymnastics. Gymnastics has traditionally been a'
major part of Michigan cheerleading. Because she cannot demonstrate or
teach tumbling, this aspect of cheerleading has diminished.
She has no stunting background, other than at the high school level.
She has no spotting ability which causes the increased likelihood of seri-
We understand that a coach does not always have a strong background
in all facets of a sport. Not only does Annette -Schmidt not have official
training, but she refuses to bring in outside support to fill in her weak-
nesses. Thus, we feel that Annette does not have the background or
knowledge necessary to be a college coach.
On a separate note, each of the girls was given a specific weight. The
intent was that a body fat test was to be administered. Since the test
never took place, these weights were arbitrarily picked. Four girls suf-
fered eating disorders during the season. This has also been a problem in
previous years. Annette does not have the qualifications to determine
See GILL, Page 6
Eontinued from page 1
and each other, so we should see
some good swims.
We hit McDonald's for the first
time of what will be probably many
times. I like to have that familiar
taste before I swim, not to mention
I'm praying to get some type of
endorsement offer from them. FAT
It didn't start out that way, but
since the press has consistently
made a big deal out of my pre-meet
dining ritual, I'd be an idiot not to
take advantage of it, and I really do
I talked to Sergio Lopez tonight
with my home coach, Jozsef Nagy.
The conversation was different
from our usual pre-meet comedy
hour. A friend had died over the
weekend, and we talked of it for
some time. Usually Nagy and I
room together at major
competitions outside of school, and
we seldom get to sleep before 2 a.m.,
-just talking about anything to take
my mind off the competition.
(Quite a different scene from his
usual stern workout self.)
THURSDAY, MARCH 28
I woke up five hours before the
morning trials. My body takes
forever to wake up, so I need to get
the blood flowing early. I really
wanted to make the final of the 200
individual medley today; for three
years in a row I have placed ninth
(first in the consolation heat).
Before the race this morning,
Paul Nelson, the '91 Big Ten champ
0in the 200 IM, came over to me to
ask the hardest question in the
world for an athlete to answer.
"How do you keep yourself from
being nervous?" The only advice I
could give him was to rely on
himself, knowing that he had
,already proven himself at Big Tens.
t is really difficult to keep the
nerves down before a race, because
you just don't know how you are
going to do.
Usually when I stand before the
blocks, ready to race, my blood is
pumping, my heart is beating, and
my mind is cpmpletely set on its
target. This morning was different.
Coming off the World
Championships, it was just a little
bit of a letdown, and it was hard to
keep focused. This is hard to explain,
but when you spend so long
preparing for one major battle, then
have little time to re-route your
thinking, it is hard. I hope that will
change for the breaststrokes
tomorrow and Saturday.
I must be jinxed. I swam my best
time again and once again placed
ninth. Wunderlich proved me right,
however. He swam a really great
race, placing third. I have always
told him his freestyle is world class
and tonight he proved it.
The team is in ninth after today,
which is fine, for we only had four
guys swim, and I think we all swam
up to or beyond expectations. The
first day has traditionally been poor
for Michigan simply because we
just don't have the manpower to
swim with teams like Stanford or
Texas, who both have over 15
Nerves are brewing strong
around here, for the swims so far
have been unbelievable, including
two American records - this in a
competition that last year produced
one the entire meet.
It is hard to compete under the
pressure of knowing that others are
swimming well and you still have
doubts about yourself. Many times
you feel as though it would be
better to just turn around and go
home, crawl in bed and not worry
about it. But usually, the courage
you need surfaces and the job can be
This morning, in the finish of the
IM, I jammed my thumb badly, and
didn't know if I could swim
tonight. I was able, but with some
pain. Being incredibly stupid, I
finished tonight hitting my hand the
same way, but much harder. My
thumb may be sprained, and I may
not be able to compete. This is a very
unwanted feeling, for this time the
team needs every point it can get. I
will see the doctors and find out
what can be done. Either way it will
be a very painful time using full
force on an injured hand.
Editor's note: Barrowman tore a
ligament in his thumb, but he was
able to continue racing.
FRIDAY, MARCH 29
Well, the morning went well.
We are now in sixth place and
should be able to hold on to it. That
would be impressive considering the
number of swimmers we have here.
I swam the 100 breaststroke
today. The morning swim was so
easy I thought I would swim well
tonight. I was .04 of a second out of
first place, but I know that I should
have done much better. I just don't
have the experience or the desire to
do really well in the 100. The 200
breaststroke is the only event I
enjoy swimming, and this has some
effect on the results of the other
events I swim. I put all my mental
energies into the 200, and therefore
usually have a better swim in this
event. That is tomorrow.
Tonight I had dinner with our
assistant coach, Mark Noetzel. We
had an interesting conversation
about Urbanchek's early days at
Michigan. I really enjoy knowing
the traditions and history of the
previous teams. Especially with
Michigan, a team that has won more
NCAA Championships than any
other swimming team in America,
outside of Ohio State. Speaking of
which, Michigan has the same
amount of individual national
champions as Ohio State, for tops of
the NCAA. I think it's like 115 or
so. We have not won an event yet, so
the pressure will be on tomorrow.
Our butterfly swimmer, Brian
Gunn, is a bit down so far. He has
It is hard to compete
under the pressure of
knowing that others
are swimming well
and you still have
doubts about yourself.
Many times you feel
as though it would be
better to just turn
around and go home,
crawl in bed and not
worry about it.
not been on target at all. Urbanchek
thinks Brian is sick and wanted to
keep him out of the meet tomorrow,
the day of his best event, the 200 fly.
I disagreed and wanted to let him
make the decision. His only concern
was that he was letting the team
down. This is the kind of dedication
that Michigan swimming thrives
on. This impressed me; I thought it
deserved credit. I certainly hope that
he will do well tomorrow; he
SATURDAY, MARCH 30
Okay, today is my day.
Urbanchek and I decided to do
things a little differently today. I
have been feeling good in the
morning and then not so hot at
night, so we decided to skip the
early morning wake-up swim so
that I would be more rested for the
night swim. He also suggested that
I stay awake in between sessions so
that my body would not go into
that deep sleep mode. This was
something I had never done before,
needing that extra rest in between
to get that power at night.
However, I went with his decision
and decided that it really didn't
matter what I did, it was just that
the meet was getting very long.
After each NCAA champion
wins his event, the band plays his
school's fight song. We haddyet to
hear "Hail to the Victors" and that
was getting us all angry. Walking
into finals that evening, Urbanchek
came up to me and said, "We need to
win something, I want to hear 'The
Victors."' I told him if he thought
that I was going to give up the
national championship in my senior
year after winning it the last two,
he was crazy, especiallyafter I was
nipped in the 100 breast by just .04
of a second.
The race itself was fun. My
training partner during the winter
months, Michigan's Eric
Wunderlich, was on my left, and on
my right was my training partner
during the summer months,
European record holder, American
University's Sergio Lopez. Both
knew how I train, both knew what
it would take to beat me. I love a
good race and this was for sure
going to be a great one.
I decided to take the race out
moderately, just a bit ahead of the
rest of the field and come home
strong. The crowd went crazy at the
100-yard mark, and only got louder.
I could hear the fans' feet stamping
almost as loud as the screams. That
is the type of swimming that is fun.
Winning the race was important to
me, for it was my final swim as a
Wolverine in official NCAA
competition. I wanted to go out
I am quite glad I'm out, though. I
will still be at Michigan to study
and train for the next few years,
because of missed semesters, but I
am done with eligibility.
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