In a swim meet that gave no credit to foreign swimmers, the Michigan internationals overshadowed the rest. But they could not help the Wolverines against Louisville.
In their first multi-day meet that included both preliminary and championship races, the No. 5 Michigan men’s swimming and diving team placed second at the AT&T Winter National Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina. The meet, hosted by USA Swimming, included many professional swimmers as well as collegiate athletes.
The structure and scoring of the meet only hurt the Wolverines, as international swimmers were not awarded any points.
Michigan finished behind No. 8 Louisville, though the second-place finish did not make much of an impression on Michigan coach Mike Bottom.
“At this meet, it’s not about the team championship, because it’s not a team championship,” Bottom said. “It’s only the U.S. guys on your team that count. (Junior) Dylan Bosch did not score a point for us. Neither did (senior) Richard Funk. Those were our two wins. It’s really hard to call that a team championship, and it’s hard to say that Louisville beat us, because if they had scored all of our team, we would’ve beat them.”
Though Michigan was missing Anders Nielsen, who was competing for Denmark at the 2014 FINA Short Course World Championships in Doha, Qatar, the junior wouldn’t have been able to bring in any points for the Wolverines, either.
Bosch, who also swims for South Africa, took the gold medal in the 200-yard butterfly on the final day of the meet. He swam a plethora of events for the Wolverines, qualifying for the championship rounds in both the 200-yard individual medley and the 500-yard freestyle. Bosch elected to only swim the 200-yard IM championship, and Bosch reached the podium, finishing second in the race.
“This is a middle-season meet, and we’re trying to determine what events they’re going to be swimming at the end of the year,” Bottom said. “We realized his advantage is going to be in the 200 IM, so we were able to drop the 500 free and let him practice.”
Funk, a Canadian, was Michigan’s other victor, taking gold in the 100-yard breaststroke. The race pitted Funk up against his former teammates Kyle Whitaker and Zach Hayden, who swim for Club Wolverine, an elite-level training program.
In a race that could have easily been mistaken as a dual meet, Funk also swam alongside senior teammate Bruno Ortiz, and out of the other four swimmers in the pool, three came from Louisville.
“It added to my mindset of wanting to win that race, because so many swimmers had affiliations to both schools,” Funk said. “It translated into a great race. There was a lot of energy on the deck. Both teams were going crazy.”
In late October, Michigan and Louisville met in a four-team meet in Ann Arbor, and the Wolverines took the victory. For this recent weekend, the Cardinals had rested up, lightening the training in hopes a top performance in this meet. Bottom didn’t give his squad this kind of break, opting to save the rest for later in the season.
“When we swam against them in the quad meet, both teams were in heavy training and not really prepared to race at their peak performances,” Funk said. “At this, there were differing levels of preparation in terms of rest. Down the road, by having different preparations we’ll go into racing our best. We’ll have some more rest. We’re on track to be great at the end of the season. At this point, we’re not geared towards putting up our fastest times, it showed this weekend.”
Regardless of the score this weekend, Michigan and Louisville will certainly see each other again.