COLUMBUS — The Ohio State men’s swimming and diving team was rested, ready and hopeful as it tried to finish out its schedule with an undefeated conference record. Michigan entered Columbus after a long week of training, a four-hour bus ride just moments before the start of the meet and the desire to beat a conference foe.
“We came (to Ohio State) tired from training all week,” senior captain Mike Galindo said. “(Ohio State) rested all week and a couple of them even shaved for the meet, so they were probably more ready for this meet than us. But we got the win, which is all that matters.”
The No. 6 Michigan men’s swimming and diving team (5-0, 7-2) defeated No. 23 Ohio State (2-1, 9-1) on Saturday at the Mike Peppe Aquatic Center with a score of 125-118 in its final dual meet of the season. While the score suggests a closely fought battle between the two conference rivals, Michigan actually dominated the majority of the swimming events throughout the meet, allowing Ohio State to secure victories in just two events.
“I think our team was pretty confident throughout the whole meet,” Galindo said. “Before the last relay, we already had the meet won.”
The Buckeyes earned their points in the diving portion of the meet, where they swept Michigan in both the one- and three- meter events. Ohio State’s Mitch Richeson won both events with a score of 381.52 in the one-meter and 329.40 in the three-meter.
While Michigan coach Bob Bowman was pleased to walk away with the win and undefeated conference record, he noted that his swimmers didn’t perform as well as he had hoped.
“I don’t think we swam all that well,” Bowman said. “You always enjoy coming up against a big rival like this, and I’m glad we got the win. But I didn’t think we were particularly sharp. However, we’re 5-0 in the Big Ten, so I guess there’s not much more I can ask for going into the conference meet.”
Bowman wasn’t completely satisfied with the efforts of his team as a whole, but he pointed to his long distance swimmers as exceptions at the meet. The Wolverines proved to be the most difficult for the Buckeyes in the 500- and 1,000-yard freestyle events by sweeping the field in both races.
Junior Peter Vanderkaay secured the win in the 1,000-yard freestyle with a time of 9:30.53 just moments after anchoring the winning 200-yard medley relay. Bowman placed Vanderkaay in back-to-back swims in order to create an early point surge against the Buckeyes.
“Having Peter swim two races like that was really important,” Bowman said. “He is the kind of guy who can make fast swims for us when we need him, so I think it was a good challenge for him.”
Following the 1,000-yard freestyle, senior Andrew Hurd won the 200-yard freestyle in one of the closest races of the afternoon.
Hurd kept a tight race with two Ohio State swimmers throughout the first two 50s, splitting a 23:83 and a 25:37 and wavering between second and third place. Hurd quietly inched up on Ohio State’s Tommy Seay and Marty Tomes in the fourth and final 50 and was able to make a final surge off the wall for the last 25 yards of the race. Hurd hit the wall in 1:40.23, outtouching Seay for first place by 0.25 of a second.
“I could tell it was close race because (the Buckeye swimmers) were inching up right beside me,” Hurd said. “I knew that I had more endurance than those guys because I’m a distance swimmer and they are more sprint-oriented swimmers. So I knew I had the speed for that last 50.”
While the race was exciting and got the crowd energized, Hurd noted that it and wasn’t one of his most impressive performances.
“It was a tough race and not one of my best times,” Hurd said. “We had just finished a long bus ride, and I didn’t get warmed up well enough before swimming, so I was struggling a bit. But I managed to pull out the victory which was nice.”
With the conclusion of their dual meet schedule, the Wolverines look toward the Big Ten Championships being held in Minneapolis in four weeks. Without any competition in the interim, the team plans on putting in some quality training for the next two weeks to allow enough time for a serious taper.
“It’s nice to have a long break before the (Big Ten) Championships,” Hurd said. “That way all we have to do is concentrate on one thing and not have to train for any other competition.”