So he put her in the 100-yard breaststroke, and she finished in 1 minute, 14 seconds, one of her best times this season.
Two days later, Wesh, a sophomore, learned she was swimming with three cracked vertebrae. She is no longer in the pool but in a heavy brace.
Though she may not be putting on a bathing suit for the next few weeks, Wesh will be poolside.
When Wesh's swim coaches first learned that she was not suffering from a muscle strain but from cracked vertebrae, it shocked them. Her injury also gave the coaches the opportunity to reflect on her mental toughness and physical strength.
"Not everyone can swim with a broken back for that long. And I'd like to think that her strength kept her from getting even more seriously hurt," said Ryan Sprang, Wesh's coach at the Gloucester County Institute of Technology swim club.
Wesh's story has eerie parallels to that of Christopher Reeve's. Both were riding horses, and both damaged their backs. Reeve became paralyzed, but Wesh escaped with three cracked vertebrae.
"Everyone keeps telling me I could be Christopher Reeve. I don't like hearing that, but I know I got really lucky that I didn't hurt my spinal cord," Wesh said.
Fortunately for Wesh, she didn't fall from her horse. Instead, her horse reared during a routine ride on Dec. 28. She held onto the horse, but absorbed tremendous impact to her back when she landed back on the saddle.
"We knew she was a little sore, but she said she wasn't in terrible pain, so we didn't think much of it," said her mother, Connie Wesh.
When the doctors ordered an MRI, the Weshes knew something was wrong. Within a few hours, Wesh was wearing a bulky and uncomfortable back brace.
"I still insist that I'm not in that much pain, just uncomfortable," she said. "I've never not practiced for so long before."
The injury is just another setback in what Sprang described as a "swimming career filled with tough breaks."
Wesh was chosen twice for the Middle Atlantic All-Star Zone Team for the 200 breaststroke, a club accomplishment.
As a freshman on the Gateway/Woodbury team, Wesh made an impact in the pool. But she had a bout of mononucleosis last spring that affected her ability to train. And just as she was getting back into shape, Wesh suffered the back injury.
"She was so close to coming back from mono and then this happens. But she sticks with swimming through it all, and that's character to me," Sprang said.
Wesh is not exactly spending her recovery time luxuriating in a life without swim team practice. Instead, Wesh has taken on the role of unofficial assistant stroke coach for the Gateway/Woodbury team.
She is at almost every practice and goes to every meet. Pegues lets her look at the meet sheets, and Wesh knows her teammates' time goals.
"Michelle knows so much about swimming because she's been doing it so long. She's a great asset," Pegues said.
Wesh often works with individual swimmers on technique, such as teaching them how to improve their flip turns and how to get more power on a kick.
Recently, she helped a teammate who earlier in the season was not strong enough to race. The girl improved her times enough to earn a starting block, Pegues said.
Wesh is looking forward to getting back in the water, but she is savoring her time helping others improve.
"I'm not sure I want to be a coach forever," she said, "but right now, it is great fun."
Contact suburban staff writer
Nikki Usher at 856-779-3234