By Rajat Khare, Daily Sports Writer
Published November 28, 2012
Though this weekend’s competition doesn’t feature swimming powerhouses, for the young guns of the No. 1 Michigan men’s swimming team, the upcoming meet could prove to be crucial.
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The Wolverines will travel to Iowa to compete in the Hawkeye Invitational, giving the younger members a preview of what a championship-meet setup is like. And in a season in which the aim is to win a third-straight Big Ten Championship, the Hawkeye Invitational could prove to be a valuable learning experience for Michigan.
“Most of them have never seen or been to a collegiate championship meet so this is a good precursor,” said junior Kyle Whitaker.
Michigan has relied on newcomers and younger swimmers thus far for points – and they’ve stepped up.
Freshman Dylan Bosch has already won two Big Ten Freshmen of the Week awards and sophomores Richard Funk and Bruno Ortiz have become significant contributors to Michigan’s points total and will be expected to do more of the same this weekend.
The Wolverines will put their undefeated record – and 17-meet win streak spanning two seasons – on the line against Iowa, Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Denver at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center in Iowa City.
“First off, we are all anxious to race,” Whitaker said.“It’s been about a month since our last competition, we’re anxious to get back in and start racing fast again.”
The last time the Wolverines took to the pool they dominated – coming away with 12 out of 14 event wins and 14-NCAA consideration times against No. 5 Texas and No. 8 Indiana in Austin, Texas. They celebrated their victory by fine-tuning the details of their races during their hiatus.
“We’ve done a lot of starts, a lot of turns, a lot of finishes,” Whitaker said. “This last week (Michigan coach Mike Bottom) has been pushing us to focus more on the technical stuff, the details of our races . . . that could potentially make a big difference in our races.”
Michigan is looking to repeat last season’s success at the Hawkeye Invitational – winning 15 events on their way to the team title.
And with seven members of the team whose times are ranked top 10 in the nation in various events, their chances are looking good.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun this weekend,” Whitaker said. “There is good competition between other teams and our team, so it’ll be a pretty fun time.”