The No. 6 Michigan men’s swimming team has not lost a dual meet in 55 attempts, and that streak remained alive and well this weekend in Charlottesville. Taking on No. 25 Virginia and Penn State this Friday and Saturday, the Wolverines dominated the pool.
Michigan (3-0 overall, 1-0 Big Ten) defeated the Cavaliers, 203-140, and the Nittany Lions, 217-126.
The Wolverines started fast, with eight different swimmers combining to finish one-two in four races after the first day of action. Freshman Felix Aubock, junior Evan White, freshman Jacob Montague and junior Tristan Sanders were the individual winners of the day.
The fast start held, and Michigan burst onto the podium once again on the second day, this time in sets of three. It was junior PJ Ransford, senior Cameron Stitt and Aubock who swept the 1,000-yard free, and freshman Jacob Montague, senior Chris Klein and Swanson at the 200-yard breaststroke. Freshman Charlie Swanson and junior Evan White also won on Saturday, taking the 400-yard IM and 100-yard butterfly, respectively.
In just their second collegiate meet, the freshmen stepped up for the Wolverines. Aubock, Swanson and Montague dominated the podium, and James Jones and Alex Martin had strong showings as well.
“We knew we had a class that had potential to be one of the top classes in the country,” said Michigan head coach Mike Bottom. “But freshmen, that’s what they come in as — potential. It’s nice to see that potential lived out.”
Additionally, freshman Jake Herremans was the top Michigan diver this weekend. The two-time Michigan High School Athletic Association Diver of the Year placed second in both the one-meter and three-meter dives.
With an influx of young talent, Bottom’s squad looks to improve on last year’s 12th-place finish at the NCAA Championships. However, this year, a rival in the Big Ten has emerged, as No. 1 Indiana is the favorite in the conference.
“We’re the underdog this year for the first time in a long time,” Bottom said. “That’s a good thing for us.”
Though ranked below the Hoosiers, the Wolverines are still being targeted by every Big Ten team after winning eight straight Big Ten Championships, and they will have to fight, as Bottom puts it, to “protect their turf”.
Along with a promising freshman class that is constantly improving, Bottom points to his upperclassmen and other coaches as the source of Michigan’s potential for this season.
“We’re all coming together to build a team that’s moving together better than any team in the country, I believe,” Bottom said.