If someone was asked to summarize Michigan’s performance at the Big Ten Men’s Swimming Championships this past weekend, only one word would be needed to do so: domination.
Throughout the four-day meet at Indiana’s Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center in Bloomington, the No. 3 Michigan men’s swimming and diving team (6-0 Big Ten, 8-0 overall) dominated the field in stunning fashion, capturing their third straight Big Ten Championship on Saturday.
The Wolverines swam their way to 12 event titles, consisting of seven individual and five relay victories. Success was found throughout all ages on the team, as junior Connor Jaeger won the 1,650-yard freestyle while sophomore Bruno Ortiz and freshman Dylan Bosch won the 100-yard freestyle and 200-yard butterfly, respectively.
But the true superiority Michigan showed this weekend was in the team’s sweep of the meet’s five — yes, five — relays. In a fitting end to the weekend, the quartet of B. Ortiz, M. Ortiz, Turk and Fletcher won the 400-yard freestyle relay, marking the first time the Wolverines have ever swept the relays at the Big Ten Championship.
“I don’t even know how many records we broke,” said coach Mike Bottom. “Michigan has never won five relays in a meet. We just have to keep doing what we are doing.”
The Wolverines’ undefeated record this season and the numerous records set this weekend have not gone unnoticed by the Big Ten conference. Bottom was named Big Ten Swimming Coach of the Year, while Bosch’s stellar performance this season earned him the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award.
For the team’s upperclassmen, this third consecutive Big Ten Championship is simply a continuation of the vast success that has characterized their careers at Michigan. The team’s winning ways have set a standard that these veterans want to pass down to their younger counterparts to ensure the team’s success continues long into the future.
“It’s a really special accomplishment; I’ve won every time I’ve been here,” Jaeger said. “It’s something we think Michigan deserves to win every year.”
For the Wolverines, now is the time to look ahead and begin preparing for the NCAA Championships, which take place at the end of March. Success here would solidify them as one of college swimming elite teams, which is a status that this team has worked towards for years.
“We’ve been given great opportunities from the university, in terms of our facilities and support, and we have a great team mentality,” Jaeger said. “Everyone wants to come to practice, work hard and be the best, and it’s been paying off.”
It can be made certain that if Michigan swims with the same type of dominant force that they displayed at these Big Ten Championships, the NCAA Championships may show a very similar result.