For the first time in at least four years, the Michigan men’s swimming and diving team drew the support of the Michigan pep band at Friday night’s dual meet against Michigan State.
At the meet, the Wolverines were boosted by an extra large and spirited crowd of supporters who proudly sang “The Victors” between events to cheer on the nation’s No. 4 team.
“(The atmosphere) was really fun,” senior co-captain Alex Vanderkaay said. “It’s my fourth year on the team and I don’t think we’ve ever had the whole pep band here so I thought it was really great.”
But sophomore André Schultz was the featured soloist in Michigan’s 145-77 dual meet win over Michigan State.
Schultz won the 1,000-yard freestyle with a time of 9:10.01 and earned the lone NCAA qualifying time of the meet with his first place finish in the 200-yard backstroke (1:45.68). His winning time in the 1,000-yard freestyle was more than 24 seconds faster than the second place time. His performance impressed his coaches and teammates as they cheered him on.
“André Schultz was by far our best performer today,” Michigan coach Bob Bowman said.
Michigan’s commanding victory helped it continue its dominance in the all-time series; Michigan leads 74-5. Michigan State (0-4 Big Ten, 3-5 overall) has not beaten Michigan since the 1966-67 season.
The Wolverines won all but one of the 11 swimming events, including both the 400-yard medley and freestyle relays. The Wolverines touched first and second in eight of nine individual events and swept the top four spots in four events. The only event Michigan failed to win was the 200-yard breaststroke. Sophomore Scott Spann finished second in the event but was disqualified for a false start.
“We had a lot of guys swimming off-events tonight and I had the opportunity to swim some events I never get to swim,” Vanderkaay said. “We could obviously win this meet pretty easily, so we took it as an opportunity to change the lineup a little bit.”
Senior Dane Grenda won the 400-yard individual medley at 3:57.29 and was followed 0.11 seconds later by freshman Jared Miller in an event Michigan has not lost all season.
Junior Bobby Savulich took first place in the 100-yard freestyle (44.59) and second in the 50-yard freestyle (20.73) behind sophomore teammate Chris Brady (20.56).
Despite not having much competition from the Spartans in the meet, Schultz said swimming his best times was never a problem.
“I don’t want to sound arrogant,” Schultz said. “Bob always tells us we can’t swim down to their level, but when you have teammates like we have, you always have someone to race.”
The win for Michigan (5-0 Big Ten, 7-1 overall) came as no surprise to the Spartans, who were overpowered by the Wolverines from start to finish. Michigan State saw the meet as an opportunity to change their lineup for a different reason.
“It’s tough to come in here because we are a little overwhelmed,” Michigan State head coach Matt Gianiodis said. “We didn’t really go with our best lineup. It wouldn’t have made a difference anyway. At this point, at least, we’re so inferior to them that we decided to give some people some other chances to swim against some good people.”