Entering Saturday afternoon’s dual meet, the Michigan men’s swimming team hadn’t lost to Michigan State since 1977. That streak was kept alive, as the Wolverines defeated the Spartans 186-102 on senior night at Canham Natatorium.
No. 4 Michigan (9-0, 4-0 Big Ten) dominated in its final dual meet of the season, sweeping Michigan State in all 16 events. Starting with a 100-yard backstroke win by senior Jan Konarzewski with a time of 49.69 seconds and finishing with a 200-yard freestyle relay win by Michigan’s A relay team — consisting of Konarzewski, junior Miguel Ortiz, freshman Bruno Ortiz, and senior Dan Madwed (1:22.40) — the Wolverines treated the meet as an opportunity to warm up for the Big Ten Championships.
“Michigan State’s not too good,” Madwed said. “But they’re always our last meet and they’re a good tune-up to practice the little things before we head off to Big Tens.”
Michigan coach Mike Bottom echoed Madwed’s sentiment, saying “we’re just getting ourselves ready for the Big Ten Championships. That’s going to be a tough battle with Ohio, and we’ll see what comes of that. But these guys are ready, and they’ll swim well.”
Along with the freestyle-relay victory, Madwed won the individual 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:38.23 and the 200-yard butterfly in a time of 1:50.44.
Konarzewski, Madwed, Chris Morrison, Casey Sreenan and Dane Vanderkaay were all honored throughout the meet — their last at Canham. Bottom had only glowing things to say about his senior class.
“If you look at the points, and what we’re graduating, you think we’re not losing something huge, but the personalities and leadership that they bring are just incredible,” Bottom said. “Those guys have led this team, and are my first group here at Michigan. We have bonded and talked about what they want to create, and you saw this group stick together.
“Their academics and community service are all strong, and they all want to be Michigan men.”
Bottom gave the upperclassmen opportunities to shine on Saturday, going with a more senior-heavy lineup than he normally would.
“It was fun,” Bottom said. “Guys got to swim some different events. I tried to put some seniors into the events that they would do well in, and they did.”
Vanderkaay — the youngest of four Vanderkaay brothers, who have all left legacies at Michigan — placed first in the 500-yard freestyle, outlasting sophomore Ryutaro Kamiya and Michigan State’s Pat Falconer with a time of 4:36.93.
“It’s something that my brothers and I can share as we get older,” Vanderkaay said. “It’s something that I always like to take pride in.
“That was my first dual-meet win, so it was pretty exciting bringing the best for last. I’m going to miss this place a lot, and I’m glad I was able to win in my last meet.”
Other notable performers included sophomore Connor Jaeger, who won the 400-yard individual medley with a time of 3:59.16; junior Roman Willets, who won the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 45.04; junior Connor McCarroll, who won the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:50.60; and sophomore Kyle Duckitt, who won the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:04.00. The Ortiz brothers also found individual success on Saturday: Bruno won the 200 individual medley and Miguel won the 100 butterfly.
Michigan is looking to continue its success at the Ohio State Invitational next week. Bottom is confident in his team’s chemistry moving forward to the Big Ten Championships in Iowa City, which begins on Feb. 22.
“(Saturday’s meet) got them together as a team, and they had a lot of fun, and that’s half the battle, right?” Bottom said.