WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana, February 28. THE No. 4-ranked University of Michigan men's swimming and diving team captured its 34th Big Ten Conference championship on Saturday evening (Feb. 28) at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center. U-M won its second straight conference crown with a dominating 829 points, 308 more than second-place Ohio State. Senior Matt Patton (Matthews, N.C./Butler), sophomore Tyler Clary (Riverside, Calif./Riverside Poly), senior Bobby Savulich (Edison, N.J./Saint Joseph) and the 400-yard freestyle relay all won events on the final night of the competition.
Patton opened the final session of the championship with a victory for the Maize and Blue in the 1,650-yard freestyle. Patton clocked in at 14:57.09, the first of four Wolverines to score in the event. Junior Adam DeJong (Holland, Mich./Holland) was the next-fastest U-M swimmer, touching the wall in a season-best 15:07.16 to take fourth. Freshman Dane Vanderkaay (Rochester, Mich./Adams) took eighth with a season-best 15:12.42 swim and senior Gunnar Schmidt (Scottsdale, Ariz./Arcadia Prep) recorded a pair of points for Michigan with his 15:24.70, 15th-place finish — also a season-best time.
Clary continued his magnificent Big Ten meet with his third individual event victory of the weekend, this time in the 200-yard backstroke. Clary was first to the wall in a U-M record time of 1:39.59, breaking a record he set earlier this season. Junior André Schultz (Sao Paolo, Brazil/Colegio Palmares) and junior Alon Mandel(Netanya, Israel/Eldad) took fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 'A' final. Schultz swam a season-best 1:42.23, just edging his teammate Mandel, who also swam a season-best time, by one-tenth of a second (1:42.33). Junior Shaun Weinberg (Phoenix, Md./Dulaney) and senior Sal Barba (Hudson, Mass./St. Johns) picked up additional points for the Wolverines in the 'B' final when Weinberg earned 12th overall with a season-best swim of 1:45.70 and Barba took 15th, clocking in at 1:47.34.
Savulich earned the Big Ten crown in the 100-yard freestyle with a championship-winning time of 42.87, his best time of the season. Junior Chris Brady (Wilmington, Del./Mount Pleasant) also qualified for the championship final for the Maize and Blue, finishing seventh in an NCAA consideration time of 43.65. Senior/junior Evan Ryser (Katy, Texas/James E. Taylor) gave Michigan another scorer with his 10th-place finish, clocking in at 43.69, also an NCAA 'B' time.
Savulich, Brady and Ryser then came back in the final event of the evening, along with junior Charlie Houchin (Raleigh, N.C./William G. Enloe), and won the 400-yard freestyle relay in school-record time. The quartet clocked in at 2:51.28, bettering second-place Minnesota by almost a full second (2:52.20).
In the 200-yard breaststroke, sophomore Jared Miller (Liberty Township, Ohio/Lakota East) met the NCAA consideration standard in finishing third in a time of 1:57.05. Ohio State's Sam Pelkey won the event in 1:55.19. Sophomore Neal Kennedy (Chanhassen, Minn./Chaska) took 11th to pick up more points for the Wolverines, touching the wall in 1:59.29.
Scottie Rice of Wisconsin took the top spot in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 1:43.59, but a pair of U-M swimmers were close behind as freshman Dan Madwed (Stamford, Conn./Towson) took second and senior Curtis Dauw (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) tied for third. Madwed clocked in at 1:44.15 and Dauw tied with Nadav Kochavi of Minnesota at 1:44.42. Both Madwed and Dauw's times are season bests.
In the diving well, senior Kyle Schroeder (Milan, Mich./Milan) scored points for the Maize and Blue, registering a score of 320.25 in platform diving to finish 14th. Purdue's David Boudia took top honors with a score of 533.60.
The Wolverines will be back in the pool on Sunday (March 1) at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center in the Boilermaker Make It Last Chance meet in West Lafayette, Ind. The meet will begin at 11 a.m.
Special thanks to Michigan for contributing this report.