The Michigan men’s swimming and diving team has spent the last week in Florida, training and preparing for the next stretch of its season. 

With important Big Ten meets against Indiana, Ohio State and Michigan State coming up in the next month, the trip to the Sunshine State was a worthwhile change for the Wolverines.

The trip, which is an annual tradition for both the men’s and women’s teams, provides them with the opportunity to split time between training and enjoying the break from school.

Senior Jack Mangan emphasized that the team used the opportunity to energize and prepare for the upcoming season. 

“We’re excited.” Mangan said. “That was such a good block of training for everyone, You need guys who really believe in what they’re doing.”

The team made sure to leave time to build chemistry on dry land, outside of the many hours spent in the pool. Mangan  a two-time NCAA All-American and two-time Big Ten champion — emphasized that swimming is a tough sport, in which good team chemistry is integral to having a successful season.

“The culture is moving in a positive direction,” Mangan said. “The trip was a great bonding experience.”

The Wolverines are coming off a handful of solid performances during the fall. But their most recent outing was the Georgia Invitational in early December, where they finished sixth out of seven.

Michigan coach Mike Bottom said the trip to Florida was a great opportunity to build on what had been working well during the fall, while also emphasizing the bonding aspect of the trip.

“We had some great training sets,” he said. “We watched swimmers get better.” 

Michigan capped off its trip by taking part in the Orange Bowl Classic in Key Largo, Fla. on Jan. 3rd.

The Wolverines won the competition, championing 11 out of 12 individual races, with senior Vinny Tafuto and freshman Jacob Montague winning two events each. Tafuto won the 50-meter butterfly and 100-meter butterfly, with Montague winning the 50-meter breaststroke and the 100-meter breaststroke.

Michigan finished first with 275 points, beating Texas A&M, George Mason and Middlebury.

The Wolverines also won the two team relays during the tournament, finishing first in both the 200-meter medley and the 200-meter freestyle. 

Michigan’s solid performance at the tournament should give it good momentum and confidence heading into the next few months. 

Mangan said he and his fellow Wolverines were both excited and motivated from the trip to Florida.

His message was simple: “we’re coming in with fire in our bellies and ready to fight for Michigan.”

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