Despite trailing No. 3 California by six points entering the third and final day of this weekend’s AT&T USA Swimming Short Course National Championships, the No. 7 Michigan men’s swimming and diving team easily overcame the deficit to win the meet for the second consecutive year.

Michigan beat a field of NCAA teams that included California, No.12 Southern California and No. 18 Indiana, as well as dozens of private clubs, at the three-day meet in Federal Way, Wash.

Four individual top-five finishes on the last day of the meet fueled the Wolverines’ come-from-behind victory, as Michigan finished the competition 46 points ahead of California. Junior Tyler Clary finished third in both the 200-yard backstroke and butterfly events, sophomore Dan Madwed touched fifth in the 200-yard butterfly and freshman Ryan Feeley placed fifth in the 1,650-yard freestyle.

“What we wanted coming in to the meet was to not be rested and swim the events that we will be swimming at the end of the year and learn how to swim them,” Michigan coach Mike Bottom said through the Athletic Department. “Not trusting that we are rested but trusting in our goals. We wanted to focus on things that they needed to learn and do right when it is the end of a race.”

Clary, who is recovering from the H1N1 flu, did not start the meet quite the way he had wanted. After he was seeded first in both the 500-yard freestyle and the 200-yard individual medley, he was visibly upset after finishing the events in eighth and eleventh, respectively. He and Bottom considered withdrawing from some of his other events, but eventually Clary said he decided to “set the example that it does not matter how you are feeling, you have to get the work done.”

His subsequent swims were much better. In addition to his third-place performances on the final day of the meet, he touched third in the 400-yard individual medley and won the meet’s high-point award.

“I came back with the attitude that this is going to be the kind of a meet where I can work on the details,” he said through the Athletic Department. “I kind of had to force myself to focus on hitting my walls, going underwater, hitting my breakouts. As the meet progressed, my mindset changed a little bit, allowing me to turn in some swims that were respectable, especially for not being rested or completely healthy.”

Bottom also praised senior co-captain André Schultz for his “stud” performances and team leadership throughout the weekend. The São Paulo, Brazil native was the national runner-up in the 200- and 400-yard individual medleys and swam on three relays. Because he is not a United States citizen, Schultz was not allowed to score points for Michigan, since it was a national championship swim meet. Senior Alon Mandel and freshmen Hassaan Abdel Khalik and Miguel Ortiz were not permitted to win points for the Wolverines, either, for the same reason.

Michigan alum Peter Vanderkaay (2003-06), who still trains in Ann Arbor with club Wolverine, joined his former teammates at the meet. He won the 200-, 500- and 1,650-yard freestyle events.

After the Short Course National Championships ended on Saturday, Michigan won three events Sunday in the morning session of the Long Course Invitational, held at the same facility. Each event was swam in a 50-meter pool instead of a 25-meter pool.

Senior co-captain Chris Brady won the 100-meter butterfly and Clary added one more victory to his résumé in the 100-meter backstroke. The Wolverines also swept the top three spots in the 400-meter freestyle, with senior Charlie Houchin touching first, Madwed second and Feeley third.

Junior Neal Kennedy, who is becoming the team’s premier breaststroker, placed fifth in the 100-meter breaststroke at the Long Course Invitational and also finished 20th in the 100-yard breaststroke at the Short Course National Championships. Bottom, who has been impressed with Kennedy’s performances in the last few meets, called his swimming this weekend a “pleasant surprise.”

The two meets last weekend marked the final times Michigan will compete this month. The Wolverines will train in the Florida Keys over the holiday break and will race again on Jan. 2 in the Orange Bowl Classic.

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