The leaders of a team emerge in many different ways and situations. Coaches prefer to have more than one leader on a certain team, but that isn’t always possible.
A few unexpected athletes led the Michigan men’s swimming team against Florida.
When the Wolverines and the Gators met on Friday night at O’Connell Center Natatorium in Gainesville, Fla., freshmen Peter Vanderkaay, Davis Tarwater, and Chris Dejong accounted for four of the Wolverines’ event wins.
Although these young swimmers were an odd bunch to lead Michigan, coach Jon Urbanchek was not surprised.
“I was not surprised by the performance of the freshmen. They usually lead the team in practice,” Urbanchek said. “I’m glad that they already recorded their personal best times this early in the season.”
The No. 6 Michigan Wolverines (4-0) remained unbeaten after their win (132-109) at No. 7 Florida (3-1) this weekend.
Despite an expectedly close match, the meet soon became a lopsided victory for the Wolverines.
“The two teams were definitely evenly matched,” said Urbanchek. “Obviously we thought that the meet was going to be close, however, it did not end up to be that way.”
The match contained four exciting event wins from the freshman class and five 1-2 finishes.
Vanderkaay and Andrew Hurd both contributed to two of those five 1-2 finishes. Vanderkaay came in first in both the 1,000-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle, with Hurd coming in a close second in both of those events.
With extra support, Tarwater, Dan Ketchum, Chuck Sayao, Tony Kurth and Zayd Ma also contributed to many of the team’s 1-2 finishes.
Dejong, Tarwater, Jeff Hopwood, and Garrett Mangieri combined to post a NCAA consideration time of 3:18.11 to finish second in the 400-yard medlay relay. Mangieri recorded his first NCAA consideration time with a time of 44.74 in the 100-yard freestyle as well. Dusty Garwood also led the diving effort with a runner-up finish in the 3-meter springboard.
The all-around team effort allowed the Wolverines to begin the season on a hopeful and exciting note. With matchups with several high-quality opponents left on the schedule, the Wolverines are hoping that their win over the Gators is only a start.