Senior swimmer André Schultz hopped out of the pool after winning the 400-yard individual medley and walked over to Michigan coach Mike Bottom with a smile.

It’s not unusual for Schultz, a team co-captain, to win the event, but it was certainly a redeeming performance after two earlier races, which he shrugged off as “just alright.” In the Wolverines’ home dual meet Saturday, against an inferior Michigan State team, he finished fifth in the 100-yard freestyle. His finish in the 100-yard butterfly didn’t even score for the Wolverines.

“It was nice to see André swim the 400 IM after battling through his first two events and getting his butt kicked,” Bottom said. “I asked him where that came from and he just pounded his heart and that was it. He’s our workhorse and the guy who says, ‘Hey, I’m never quitting.’ And that’s inspiration we will use in the future.”

And the future was clearly more on the Wolverines’ minds than the Spartans on Saturday.

As expected, Michigan defeated its in-state rival, and continued its 33-year winning streak against Michigan State. No other Michigan varsity team has a longer active winning streak against the Spartans. But instead of trying to overpower their opponent, the Wolverines used the meet as an opportunity to see swimmers try competing in different events.

Saturday’s meet was the team’s last dual meet of the season, one that saw Michigan finish with a perfect record (5-0 Big Ten, 7-0 overall) and new faces help Bottom finalize his lineup for the Big Ten Championships in less than three weeks. Michigan is allowed to bring 23 swimmers and one diver to the meet and Bottom says the final four or five spots on the roster are still up for grabs.

All season, coaches and swimmers have stated their goal of building another “decade of dominance,” a reference to the 10 consecutive Big Ten Championships the team won from 1986 to 1995. Michigan is favored to win its third consecutive conference title later this month.

“We were trying to figure out where to put people for Big Tens so we put some of our young guys in events where we are still looking for guys to step up in,” he said. “Its always very exciting to see that we have some sprinters and to find we had some speed in places we hadn’t necessarily looked before was good for us.”

Bottom pointed to freshman Eric Huffman’s performance in the 100-yard freestyle (45.37) against the Spartans as an impressive race as well as two fast splits from senior co-captain Chris Brady and sophomore Dan Madwed in the 200-yard freestyle relay.

Despite several alterations to their typical lineup, Michigan won 11 of the 14 swimming events and had the top three fastest times in seven events. The meet also featured 50-yard races in butterfly, backstroke and breaststroke, events not swum in championship meets.

“We got a lot of young sprinters on this team and having the 50s format in this meet helped them show off their speed,” Schultz said. “It’s a good opportunity before Big Tens for them to have a short race in their strokes.”

The meet was also the final competition at Canham Natatorium for the senior class. The occasion was emotional and motivating for several Wolverines including senior co-captain Shaun Weinberg, despite, a weak opponent.

“I started getting all jittery drinking coffee this morning thinking about how my career will be over within two months and I took those emotions and tried to use them in a positive way,” he said “We respect (Michigan State) and we didn’t take this meet jokingly, but the expression that they are our “little brother” is probably most suitable in swimming.”

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