Cooperation. Competition. “Coopera-tition.”
“‘Coopera-tition’ is what we call it,” said Michigan coach Mike Bottom regarding the encouraging yet rivalrous relationship between his gifted breaststroke trio of juniors Tommy Cope, Jacob Montague and Charlie Swanson.
Cope, Montague and Swanson swept first, second and third place in both the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke events, cumulatively contributing 32 points towards a dominating 202-98 win for the No. 4 Michigan men's swimming and diving team over No. 14 Ohio State Saturday. The Wolverines took home 14 of the 16 swim events and placed first in both springboard diving events.
Swanson took first in the 100-yard event with a time of 53.91 with Cope (53.94) and Montague (54.15) trailing behind by fractions of a second, while Cope took first in the 200-yard event in 1:56.82.
“(Cope, Montague and Swanson) train together and have a great time racing each other … They change leads all the time,” Bottom said. “They are happy when they are one, two, three.”
Following a close loss to Indiana only two days prior. “Coopera-tition,” persistent energy, and the sanguine atmopshere of senior day all propelled Michigan to a rebound victory over the rival Buckeyes. The Wolverines were hot off the blocks, collecting a trio of first-place wins in the 200-yard individual medley relay, 1000-yard freestyle and 200-yard freestyle. The 200-yard IM relay event featured a notable performance by last week’s Big Ten Freshman of the Week, breaststroker Will Chan, who swam a 23.82 split.
Eager to make a statement, one win would not satisfy the insatiable spirits of Michigan standouts like sophomore freestyler Gus Borges, sophomore distance-swimmer Ricardo Vargas and junior butterflier Miles Smachlo, all of whom won both races in their respective events. Borges led the way with dominating first-place performances in the 50-yard (19.74) and 100-yard (43.81) freestyle events. In the diving well, sophomore Ross Todd swept the one-meter and three-meter springboard events to notch 18 total points for the Wolverines.
“Coming into this meet, all I was thinking about is what I could do for the team … how I (could) get better from Indiana … I just (wanted) to do my part, get my hands on the ball, and score some points for Michigan,” Borges said.