After winning an intensely competitive dual meet at Canham Natatorium Friday against previously undefeated Florida, the Michigan men”s swimming team showed signs of fatigue Saturday. But that wasn”t enough to prevent it from dominating Eastern Michigan.
The Wolverines (2-0), won the first 12 races on their way to beating the Eagles 174-115.
Dan Ketchum, Jeff Hopwood and Garrett Mangieri led Michigan against Eastern Michigan with two first-place finishes apiece. Five other Wolverines won races, and Michigan also took first in the 400-yard medley relay.
Michigan wasn”t thrilled with the way it swam Saturday, but after opening the 2001-02 season with two wins in two days, the Wolverines weren”t complaining.
“A lot of us didn”t swim as well as we did (Friday), but it was great to come back and do a double like that,” senior Tim Siciliano said.
The short-course format of the Eastern meet was a big adjustment for Canadian freshmen Andrew Hurd and Chuck Sayao, who were swimming in yards for the first time.
“It”s a totally different strategy,” Hurd said. “I didn”t know my times, I didn”t know exactly how fast I was going.”
Despite the change, Hurd still managed a first-place finish in the 1000-yard freestyle on Saturday, and Sayao won the 200 backstroke.
Friday”s meet was a smooth transition into NCAA swimming for Hurd and Sayao because it featured the long-course style they are accustomed to. Long-course races are measured in meters, and swimmers race the entire 50-meter length of Matt Mann pool.
Collegiate events are normally short-course, but Michigan and Florida have a running agreement to compete in meters.
Michigan was much stronger on Friday than it was on Saturday. The Florida contest remained close until Brendan Neligan, Hurd and Siciliano took the top three spots, respectively, in the 400-meter freestyle and boosted Michigan to a 17-point lead.
The Wolverines went on to win 137-106, marking the 34th consecutive time they have won its opening dual meet.
Michigan”s highly touted freshman class made its debut against Florida and lived up to the hype. Neligan was tops amongst the rookies, winning his first two collegiate races the 800-meter freestyle and the 400 freestyle.
Zayd Ma was equally impressive. Ma came within .05 of a second of winning the 200-meter butterfly, but was beaten out by Florida”s Eric Donnelly, one of the best in the country in that event. Ma posted a personal-best 2:05.80.
Ma predicted a personal best beforehand, but Michigan coach Jon Urbanchek had his doubts.
“I said “okay we”ll see. Talk is cheap you have to do it now,” ” Urbanchek said. “He did it. So, he lived up to what he said.”
The Wolverines had been focusing primarily on the Florida meet all week.
“We were all pumped up,” Hurd said. “You could totally tell we were all so ready for Florida.”
Michigan knows it has to work on sustaining that energy over two days, but was pleased overall with its opening weekend.
“It looks like the whole ball of wax is going in the right direction,” Urbanchek said.