Home, sweet home.
The No. 4 Michigan men’s swimming and diving team finally returned home from its seven-meet road trip on Jan. 12 and was given a warm welcome from the faithful at Canham Natatorium.
“It’s about time we have a swim meet at home with a friendly environment,” head coach Jon Urbanchek said. “It’s good for us to be home since the Big Ten Tournament is here in Ann Arbor and the next few meets will hopefully prepare us for it and give us stability.”
Desperately trying to forget the events that occurred out West – losses to Stanford and California – Michigan swam with a vengeance this weekend against two conference foes.
“Last week just caught us off guard with the cold, rainy weather,” Urbanchek said. “We expected California to be nice and sunny, but we had to find parkas just to keep us warm. It wasn’t the best planning and the most important thing was how we handled swimming outdoors. We’re not like ducks. The whether did affect us.”
On Friday, the Wolverines (2-0 Big Ten, 5-2 overall) swam against No. 16 Purdue (1-1, 7-1) and on Saturday they faced No. 25 Indiana (3-1, 6-1).
The Wolverines destroyed the Boilermakers, 140-99, with help from junior diver Jason Coben, freshman swimmer Chris DeJong and senior swimmer Garrett Mangieri. Continuing their winning effort, the Wolverines also demolished Indiana 174.5-122.5 Saturday afternoon with contributions again from Coben, DeJong, Mangieri and others.
“Coben did a good job,” Urbanchek said. “He did really well against Purdue, and the divers had a pretty solid weekend against both Big Ten opponents. Indiana’s divers are very competitive and gave all our divers a harder time.”
Coben won both diving events by more than 50 points against Purdue. He then went on to earn a second-place finish in the dual meet against Indiana.
DeJong contributed to the win by capturing victories in both the 100- and 200-yard freestyles while facing Purdue. He earned his first NCAA consideration time in the 200 free with a time of 1:39.25. He then continued to contribute to the team Saturday by winning a pair of individual titles, which gave him four individual titles for the weekend.
Also anchoring both of the Wolverines’ winning relay teams, in the 400-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relays, was Mangieri, who won both relays and earned an individual title in the 50 free against Purdue on Friday. DeJong, freshman Davis Tarwater, senior co-captain Jeff Hopwood and Mangieri also clocked an NCAA consideration time in the 400 medley. On Saturday, Mangieri won the 100-yard freestyle as well.
“Michigan is outstanding,” Mangieri said. “When I got here my freshmen year we weren’t as highly ranked, but every year, we have been getting good recruits. Last year, we had the number one recruiting class, and this year we have a really good recruiting class also. It feels good to be ranked up there in the top five.”
A part of that recruiting class is Tarwater, who continued to post victories against Indiana. Tarwater earned wins in the 100-yard and 200-yard butterflies, with an NCAA consideration time in the 200-yard race as he clocked in eight-tenths seconds better than the NCAA “B” standard.
“It incorporates more of a team aspect,” said Tarwater when asked about the differences between high school and college swimming and diving. “It’s not just for yourself. You have to swim for your team.”
Another significant note from this weekend was sophomore Andrew Hurd and freshman Tyler DeBerry’s NCAA consideration times in the 1,650-yard freestyle. Both posted their best times of the season in this event.
The Wolverines now have a week off from competition. Their next meet will be at Canham against Northwestern and Ohio State. Northwestern will face Michigan Jan. 31 and Ohio State will swim against Michigan on Feb. 1.
It’s safe to say that Michigan’s opponents now will not have the element of home pool advantage, but the disruption of a foreign environment.