With less than a month left until the Big Ten Championships, the tri-meet victory over No. 16 Ohio State and No. 19 Virginia Tech this weekend was a solid start for the Michigan men’s swimming and diving team.
The meet — held Saturday at McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion in Columbus — turned out to be a battle until the last minute. The seventh-ranked Wolverines defeated the Buckeyes (157-143) and the Hokies (196-104) for a first-place victory in the second meet of the year.
The competition against Ohio State came down to the wire. Michigan and the Buckeyes were tied at 75 points halfway through the meet. Though Ohio State inched ahead after the half with a victory in the 100-yard freestyle, the Wolverines swam with urgency, eventually clinching the victory with the help of six consecutive individual event wins.
The upperclassmen made significant contributions en route to the victory on Saturday.
“We were led by our seniors,” said Michigan coach Mike Bottom. “There’s no doubt they were the leaders. Evan White, PJ Ransford, Tristan Sanders and Paul Powers all led us in different ways.”
White placed first in three events including the 100-yard (47.07) and 200-yard butterfly (1:45.11). White also touched first in the 200-yard IM with a time of 1:48.10. With the help of Ransford in the long-distance events, Powers in freestyle and Sanders in backstroke, the Wolverines were able to tally valuable points to secure the team’s win.
Additionally, sophomores Jacob Montague, Jeremy Babinet, Tommy Cope and Charlie Swanson came out victorious in the breaststroke events. Montague, Babinet and Swanson touched 1-2-3 in the 100-yard breaststroke and Cope, Montague, Swanson and Babinet touched 1-2-4-5, respectively in the 200-yard breaststroke.
As for the diving unit, freshman Ross Todd competed in Saturday’s meet after sitting out the Indiana meet last week due to an injury. Todd placed third, the highest among Michigan competitors.
“The team was tired but we came down and worked hard this week,” Bottom said. “We came off a dual meet with Indiana and got right back in to work. They still got up and raced hard.”
Though Michigan battled hard this weekend and pulled out a well-earned win, Bottom believes there are several things that can be improved upon before the Big Ten Championships next month.
“Today was preparation for the Big Ten,” Bottom said. “I hope everyone continues to get better. In around seven to eight swims, we got out touched by less than 3/10ths (of a second). Those are the things we have to be tougher on. Make sure the last five meters are Michigan territory.”