This weekend the Michigan men’s swimming and diving team traveled to Athens, Ga. for the Georgia Fall Invitational, where sophomore distance swimmer Felix Aubock led the way with wins in the 500 and 200-yard freestyle. The Wolverines placed second overall in the invitational out of six teams.
No. 4 Michigan came into the weekend with multiple young athletes taking charge. Aubock and freshman diver Ross Todd continued that trend, as they both brought home individual wins on the weekend.
According to Wolverines coach Mike Bottom, Aubock arrived in Athens with the mindset that he was going to dominate the competition. And he did just that, winning more than three events. Aubock posted the second-best time in the NCAA so far in the 500-yard freestyle.
“He was finaled at the World Championships this summer,” Bottom said, “and we are helping him become a champion here at Michigan. His mindset is that.”
The coaching staff realizes that Aubock is a special athlete. They believe his competition experience at the World Championship will serve him well, and that he will keep improving inside and outside of the pool.
“Felix is doing amazing,” Bottom said. “I think he will not only be a Michigan Champion, but a World Champion.”
After the first day of meets, Bottom thought his team had a good start and some players would make the NCAAs based on their performances. He also explained that some players had made some small mistakes that cost them, but he recognized that the team is still improving.
While the invitational represented an opportunity for growth for many of the swimmers, it represented even more for senior freestyle swimmer Paul Powers, who was able to return to his home state of Georgia. Paul grew up in Gainesville, which is less than an hour drive from Athens, and was able to have his family and friends attend the event.
“I saw Paul hugging and high fiving, multiple people throughout the event,” Bottom said, “and that was really motivating him to play.”
Powers swam in the 200-yard freestyle relay team which reached NCAA “A” status, and came within two-tenths of a school record. He also swam the 100-yard backstroke and placed seventh for the Wolverines this weekend.
Overall, Michigan placed second in the invitational behind California, but the meet has given both the coaches and players confidence that they can compete with and beat anyone in the country.