This Friday will be senior night at Canham Natatorium for the Michigan men’s swimming and diving team. For captain Jeff Hopwood and his fellow seniors, it will also be their last two dual meets as Wolverines.
No. 4 Michigan plans to finish up its Big Ten dual meet schedule with a bang.
The Wolverines – who have won three of their conference meets this season – are set to take on Northwestern Friday night before turning around to face Ohio State on Saturday afternoon.
This weekend will be an important preview for the Big Ten Championships, because the swimmers’ times will be used for seeding purposes at the end of February.
With a 6-2 overall record, the Wolverines are looking to emerge victorious at the conclusion of the two meets. Michigan coach John Urbanchek believes Northwestern will provide more competition than Ohio State, although both teams are going to push the Wolverines to swim at a high level. Urbanchek added that his team is at an advantage, playing host this weekend, and he sees these meets as an opportunities to excel over two Big Ten powers.
“There is a lot of emphasis on these meets,” Urbanchek said. “I’m looking forward to improvement with personal times and in the performances of the relays.”
Overall, Urbanchek has been very impressed with his “Outstanding freshman” trio. First year swimmer Peter Vanderkaay won four events during the team’s California trip three weeks ago, and fellow freshman Chris Dejong took four individual first-place wins last weekend against Purdue. In addition, freshman Davis Tarwater has already qualified for the NCAA championships.
But Urbanchek ultimately expects his eight seniors to show a huge amount of leadership this weekend in their last two regular season competitions, and he believes this mix of youth and experience can translate into victories.