As sophomore Eduardo Moraes raced to the wall in the final 25 yards of the men’s 1,000 yard freestyle race, he looked to be neck and neck with his opponents in the neighboring lanes at first glance. That is, until one looked at the lap counters and realized that he was actually a lap ahead of his opponents. A few lanes down, his teammates finished second and third, completing the first sweep of the meet.
Moraes and his teammates’ dominant performance was only the beginning for the No. 16 Michigan men’s swim and dive team on Friday in its win over Purdue. The Wolverines (2-0 overall, 1-0 Big Ten) won 11 out of 16 events en route to defeating Purdue (1-2, 0-1) 178.5 to 101.5.
Less than an hour after Michigan’s first sweep, four more Wolverines leapt from the blocks in the 50 yard freestyle. After 20 intense seconds, Michigan once again claimed the top three spots on the leaderboard. Junior Bence Szabados led the way with a time of 19.64.
With nearly a 30-point lead going into the halfway break, the Wolverines were rolling towards a comfortable victory. And that was before one of their best returning swimmers, fifth-year senior Jared Daigle, had even taken to the pool.
As the reigning Big Ten champion in the men’s 400 yard IM, Daigle was expected to blow the competition out of the water. And he lived up to those expectations, maintaining an early lead off the jump. By the time he began his last 100 freestyle, the race was over. Finishing at 3:52.33, Daigle hit the wall before any of his competitors had made it halfway across the pool.
“I take a lot of pride in being good in (that event), and I just wanted to execute it in a way to really back-half it,” Daigle said. “It was fun to win that race and look over at the team and see them celebrate.”
There was plenty to celebrate as three more Michigan swimmers followed Daigle in the race to round out the top four, leaving all four Boilermakers in the dust. The Wolverines concluded an impressive day with a commanding win in the 400 yard freestyle relay as the A team clocked in at 2:55.73.
Not to be outdone, Michigan also capitalized on the boards. Sophomore diver Cameron Gammage captured the win on the one-meter springboard with a score of 349.8 and finished second on the three-meter with a score of 331.5.
“It was a really good meet for me,” Gammage said. “I’ve definitely been putting my mind to my training a bit more, and it’s good to see the rewards coming from that so early on.”
Gammage also spoke to the supportive atmosphere of the meet, which was evident by the huge cheers each swimmer and diver received after every event. Michigan coach Mike Bottom echoed that sentiment.
“It’s fun,” Bottom said. “They’re racing and they’re practicing having fun and being relaxed and supporting each other, which is a big part of our team.”
As special as a dominant win is, a positive team culture is what can serve the Wolverines well when facing tougher matchups down the road. And that’s what Michigan showed on Friday.