As Michigan senior Andrew Hurd finished the last stretch of the 500-yard freestyle and touched the wall, he snapped his head back to see the results. He had beaten Indiana junior Sergiy Fesenko by one-tenth of a second. The crowd at Canham Natatorium roared when they saw that Hurd had placed second to junior teammate Peter Vanderkaay and had captured four critical points against Indiana for the No. 8 Michigan swimming and diving team (4-0 Big Ten, 6-2 overall).

“I was excited,” Hurd said. “I looked up and saw a great time and was pretty shocked. I just wanted to do it for the team. I knew we needed a good race; we were a little bit behind where we wanted to be. I did what I had to do.”

After defeating No. 14 Northwestern 135-106 (1-3, 3-4) Friday night in front of an enthused crowd, the Wolverines edged out an exciting 158.5-141.5 victory against No. 13 Indiana (3-2, 9-4) Saturday. It was Michigan’s only home meet of the season and the final meet at Canham Natatorium for the Wolverine seniors.

Michigan jumped out to an early 11-6 lead because Michigan coach Bob Bowman used his best lineup of Peter Vanderkaay, junior Chris DeJong, senior Christian Vanderkaay and junior Davis Tarwater in the 200-yard medley relay. Michigan took first with a time of 1:28.77, but Indiana stormed back in the following events. The Hoosiers took a 19-17 advantage after capturing the top three spots in the 1650-yard freestyle with Fesenko finishing first in 15:17.63.

The remainder of the meet was back and forth as the score stayed close — mainly due to Indiana’s dominance in diving. The Hoosiers captured 32 points by claiming the top three spots in both diving events. With only two events left, Indiana held a 134.5-129.5 lead.

But Michigan finished strong. Bowman had DeJong swim the anchor in the 800-yard freestyle relay — the last event. The combination of Tarwater, Hurd, freshman Alex Vanderkaay and DeJong took first with a time of 6:36.67.

“I was totally confident (in DeJong),” Bowman said. “I just wanted to get to him without being too far behind. I didn’t want him to work too hard.”

Peter Vanderkaay had another brilliant day on Saturday winning all of his events. He finished the 100-yard freestyle in 44.55, the 200-yard freestyle in 1:37.81 and the 500-yard freestyle in 4:21.92.

DeJong and Tarwater also chipped in with four combined wins. DeJong won the 100-yard backstroke in 47.98 and the 200-yard backstroke in 1:46.70. Tarwater took the 100-yard butterfly in 48.54 and the 200-yard butterfly in 1:46.89.

But in Bowman’s eyes, senior Chuck Sayao shined the brightest. He won the 400-yard individual medley with a time of 3:54.33, placed third in the 200-yard backstroke and the 200-yard freestyle and took second with his relay team in the 800-yard freestyle relay.

“Sayao was the performer of the day,” Bowman said. “He swam out of his mind today. He was really the man of the hour, which was nice for his last meet.”

Overall, Bowman was pleased not only with his team’s performance but also the competition’s.

“It’s the best scenario, everyone did their best and we came out on top,” Bowman said. “We knew that Indiana would be a tough team. I told the team, ‘Get up and do your best.’ We didn’t want to look back at the end of the meet and say that we could have done better here or there.”

The Wolverines drew over 1,000 fans on Saturday even though the weather tried to keep them away.

“It was awesome,” Hurd said. “The crowd was big, and it was exciting. This was my last meet here, which is kind of sad, but it was a good atmosphere, probably the best since I’ve been swimming here.”

Having an enormous crowd on Saturday helped the seniors say goodbye to Canham Natatorium. They and their parents were honored before the start of the meet.

“My mom was probably more emotional than my father,” senior captain Mike Galindo said. “But I think they were both kind of sad to see my last swim meet ever.”

With two monumental wins, the Wolverines should have plenty of momentum as they move closer to the Big Ten Championship, which is on Feb. 24-26.

“I hope (these two victories) mean that we’re on track,” Bowman said. “Everyone seems to be getting healthy, which is what we want. One more meet (against Ohio State), and, hopefully, we can take care of that one too.”

 

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