Michigan junior and defending National Swimmer of the Year Tyler Clary doesn’t mince words in describing his bout with H1N1 — the swine flu — earlier this season.
“Compared to how I feel now, it’s like night and day,” he said.
While hampered by the virus, Clary had a few disappointing results relative to his incredibly high standards at the beginning of the year. Now fully healthy, Clary, who set the American record in the 400-yard Individual Medley last month, won two events at Saturday’s dual meet. His performance helped No. 7 Michigan men’s swimming team dominate the Hoosiers, 158-82.
The Wolverines controlled the meet from the start, winning the first six events. It was a continuation of the strong form they’ve shown all season, capturing the USA Short Course Nationals last month and the Orange Bowl classic a week ago.
The Wolverines’ most impressive event was the 200-yard individual medley, where they took the top four places, led by Clary with a time of 1:49.06 and junior Neal Kennedy, who finished just 22 hundredths of a second behind.
“It’s always fun to race Neal,” Clary said. “He’s a great competitor and much faster than me at the breaststroke and the fly. We’ve been neck-and-neck in that race all year.”
Clary also won the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:28.55.
“Tyler swims solid every time,” Michigan coach Mike Bottom said. “We expect that from him, and, truthfully, the world expects that from him. That’s a lot of pressure, but he handles it well.”
Sophomore Dan Madwed joined Clary as a multiple-event winner, grabbing the 200-yard freestyle and the 200-yard butterfly. Michigan dominated several other events as well, winning both relays while grabbing the top three spots in the mile freestyle, among others. Senior co-captains Andre Schultz and Chris Brady each won an event. Schultz took the 200-yard backstroke and Brady won the 50-yard freestyle.
Indiana is often considered a national powerhouse, so its weak performance on Saturday was surprising. Michigan took full advantage of what Bottom called a “rebuilding year” for the Hoosiers.
“I think they came here understanding that we had a much stronger team,” he said. “They redshirted a few of their best swimmers. They’re looking toward beating us in the future instead.”
The Wolverines compete at both the Southern Methodist Classic and a meet with Eastern Michigan next weekend, but their next Big Ten event, a quad at Ohio State, isn’t until the end of the month. Michigan and Ohio State are the favorites to win the Big Ten title, so the meet should be a good indicator of which team will bring home the crown.
“On paper, with the times that (Ohio State) has done, they’d beat us right now,” Bottom said. “It’s in their pool also, so we’re going there with the understanding that it’s going to be tough.”