ND Womens Swimming: Top 25 teams clash at Rolfs
By: PAT LEONARD
According to the newest national dual meet rankings, this weekend's meet between Notre Dame and Michigan should be a good one.
When the No. 18 Irish square off against the No. 19 Wolverines Saturday at Rolfs Aquatic Center in the final dual meet of the season, it will be a close meet against a formidable opponent from a formidable conference.
"It'll be a real challenge to beat Michigan," Irish head coach Bailey Weathers said. "If we beat them, it will finish our dual meet season well, but they're going to be awfully tough."
The Big Ten boasts four teams in the top 25 of the coaches' womens swimming and diving poll. Wisconsin is the highest at 10th, followed by Indiana (17th), Michigan (18th) and Purdue (21st).
"Traditionally, they [Michigan] are considered one of the best programs in the Big Ten," Weathers said.
Notre Dame has defeated Michigan the past two seasons. Last time the two teams met at Rolfs Aquatic Center in January 2001, the Irish edged the Wolverines, 157-143. Notre Dame also defeated Wisconsin last season in the Minnesota Invitational. So the Irish are aware of what they have to do to beat these teams.
According to Weathers, however, Michigan brings trouble that most teams have not thrown at the powerful Irish squad. While previous opponents Louisville and Bowling Green were strong in certain areas like the freestyle and stroke events, Michigan has talent spread across the roster.
"Their problem for us is they have a good kid everywhere," Weathers said. "We've got to be able to beat the best kid [in each event] to win the meet. We have to win our share of events to have a chance to win the meet through our depth.
"We're better depth-wise. That's what needs to happen for us to beat them."
The Irish are 100 percent healthy, now. While Weathers would like to see a win this weekend, he is more interested in his girls performing at the level they need to be at come the Big East Championships.
"It's real important we perform well. If we do, we've accomplished what we need to accomplish," Weathers said. "But if we win the meet but don't swim our hardest, it's all for naught.
"We could swim well and still maybe not win the meet but be happy with where we are."
The Irish and the Wolverines meet Saturday at 2 p.m. at Rolfs Aquatic Center.
All Sports Stories for Friday, January 31, 2003