This past weekend, the men’s swimming and diving team demonstrated the true meaning of the cliché phrase “every inch counts.”

On Saturday, No. 4 Michigan captured its fourth-straight SMU Classic by a mere six points. The Wolverines faced No. 5 USC, No. 13 Florida, No. 16 North Carolina, No. 20 Purdue and SMU and defeated them all.

“USC and Florida both came with really strong teams and were swimming fast,” said Michigan coach Mike Bottom. “We knew that we always have great meets there so we had that confidence, but we also knew that everybody else was going to swim very fast so we’d have to step it up.”

Michigan ended Friday in first place with 165 points thanks to a pair of first-place finishes by senior Dan Madwed and junior Miguel Ortiz. Madwed clocked 47.61 in the 100-yard butterfly, and Ortiz touched the wall in 46.73 in the 100-yard backstroke, earning him his sixth consecutive backstroke title.

“Ortiz wasn’t a backstroker when he came in,” Bottom said. “But we needed a backstroker and he actually stepped up and last year took that spot and has just been getting better ever since.”

The second day of the event spelled rough waters for the Wolverines. Michigan ended the day with only one event win, which came from sophomore Connor Jaeger in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:19.17. The Wolverines knew it would take a true team effort to win.

“We knew that the second day was going to be harder for us as a team to score points,” Jaeger said.

Michigan dug deep and cranked out as many points as it could. By the end of the day, the Wolverines had amassed a tournament-winning 315 points with a flurry of second- and third-place finishes. The medley relay team and freshman Richard Funk got the momentum going by placing second in 200-yard medley and 200-yard breaststroke, respectively. Sophomore Kyle Whitaker and the free relay team chipped in with third place finishes in the 200-yard individual medley and 200-yard freestyle relay.

“One of the things I told the guys is that we’ve faced some of the best teams in the country,” Bottom said. “Not all of them, but probably five of the top 10 we’ve seen. And we beat them all.”

Michigan believes these wins will carry it well into action against Big Ten rivals Ohio State, Northwestern and Penn State.

“We sent our eight swimmers and a diver, and they sent their eight swimmers and a diver, and we all suited up and we were all ready to race. And we beat them all fair and square,” Jaeger said. “It helps us realize that people might be expecting a lot from us this season, but I think this win gave us the confidence to say, ‘You know what, I think we can meet people’s expectations.’ ”

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