The Michigan men’s swimming and diving team may have split up to compete in different meets, but the results were still the same.
They won. Technically.
Nine of the team’s top swimmers were invited to the three-day Minnesota Grand Prix meet in Minneapolis this weekend, and the rest of the team competed Friday night at home against Oakland. Both meets were only partially scored. The Wolverines led the team points race at the Minnesota Grand Prix after day one, but the meet wasn’t scored the final two days. Against the Golden Grizzlies at home, the meet went to exhibition scoring after Michigan easily won the first six events.
But for the Wolverines, winning the meets was far from the most important goal.
“These meets weren’t about getting pumped up for us to win the meet, it was more about the individual performances,” senior co-captain André Schultz said. “That all will come later during the Big Ten meet. Right now, we want to get things right in each swim so that when the championship meets do come, the right technique is automatic.”
And Schultz certainly had great individual performances. He won the 1,000-yard freestyle, came in second in four other races and was named the high-point swimmer of the Grand Prix.
Other strong swims included sophomore Dan Madwed winning the 200-yard butterfly, senior Adam DeJong finishing second in the 500-yard freestyle and senior co-captain Chris Brady touching second in the 100-yard butterfly.
Michigan was also without one of its fastest swimmers, junior Tyler Clary, who stayed in Ann Arbor after being diagnosed with the H1N1 flu just days before the meet.
For the Wolverines, the meet was an opportunity to bond as a team and support each other in addition to perfecting their stroke technique. For Canada native Hassaan Abdel Khalik, the only freshman to swim for Michigan in Minnesota, it was a chance to get more experience racing under the English measurement system.
“I’ve never raced in yards before college,” Khalik said. “I’ve always raced in meters, so it’s a whole different game. Some events are longer, some are shorter, because they are held in different distances because of the difference between yards and meters. So I’m still figuring it out.”
Meanwhile, at Canham Natatorium, the Wolverines completely overwhelmed Oakland. Michigan won all 16 events and had the two fastest times in 12 of the 14 swimming events.
Michigan coach Mike Bottom said he was pleased to see his swimmers win as convincingly as they did. The team competing against the Golden Grizzlies was highly inexperienced, with 14 freshman.
“When I talked to (assistant coach) Josh White, we knew there could be a chance they come in here and beat us,” Bottom said. “It wasn’t a fear of ours, but our guys knew they were going to be challenged. It was good for them to have to get up and race without the studs around.”