Michigan’s men’s and women’s swim and dive teams, both 5-0 and Nos. 6 and 3, respectively, returned to the Florida Keys this year for their annual winter training trip. After 10 days spent training five hours a day, the results were evident, as the Wolverines beat Texas A&M (No. 12 in men’s and No. 6 in women’s) and Monmouth in the annual Orange Bowl Classic meet, which took place at a neutral site in Key Largo.

“It’s great to see the team performing well,” said Michigan coach Mike Bottom. “We’ve been working really hard, and they’re really tired, so coming into this meet, we didn’t know how we would perform, especially against a team like Texas A&M, which on the men’s side was better on paper coming into the meet. We knew we were going to have some racing to do if we were going to win.”

The Wolverines took home first in eight events. They also set meet records in four: junior Felix Aubock, who clocked in at 3:49.66 in the 400-meter freestyle; junior James Jones, with a 23:82 in the 50-meter butterfly; junior Miles Smachlo, who came in at 53:49 in the 100-meter butterfly; and junior Tommy Cope, with a time of 2:01.66 in the 200-meter individual medley.

Michigan had to forego the annual trip last year due to scheduling, as the break between the semester was not long enough to make a training trip worthwhile. But with the longer break this year, the Wolverines were able to head south. Once there, they spent time working on technique and form, as well as increasing the distance and tempo of workouts throughout the trip. The value of the trip has been clear, according to Bottom.

“We have a lot of things going on with video, and lots of drilling things that we can do that we have time to do now that we wouldn’t have time to do during the school year,” Bottom said.

The Wolverines will next compete at Indiana (No. 2 men’s and No. 9 women’s) on Jan. 17, followed by a home meet against Ohio State (No. 10 men’s and No. 15 women’s) and a meet at Michigan State. They will look to continue to improve times and fine-tune technique in these meets, where they will get the chance to face Big Ten competition before the Big Ten Championship meet, which starts Feb. 27, and the NCAA championships, which will take place in March.

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