By Dan D’Addona.
The Big Ten Conference dual meet season is winding down with just a handful of meets on this final week before teams begin to prepare for the Big Ten Championships.
The biggest meet is one of the best rivalries in sports — Michigan vs. Michigan State.
Now, in all honesty, it has not been nearly as close of a rivalry as it has been in other sports over the years, but the intensity is still there on the pool deck. It is a rare dual meet rivalry in the Big Ten, where the energy is bigger than the outcome of the meet.
It is also senior night for the Wolverines.
The women’s team is ranked No. 2 in the country and has plenty of senior leadership on a team eyeing another Big Ten championship.
Gabby DeLoof has been an NCAA scorer and hometown favorite, from nearby Grosse Pointe, Michigan. She has been a team captain this season and is a two-time All-American, four-time honorable mention All-American and a three-time Big Ten champion.
G Ryan has been a distance powerhouse swimmer for the Wolverines, earning two All-American honors and six honorable mention All-American honors with four Big Ten titles.
Meanwhile, Clara Smiddy is another two-time All-American and six-time All-American honorable mention. She is a four-time Big Ten champion and a team captain.
Carolyn McCann and Samantha Yeo are senior breaststrokers and Dani VanderZwaag is a senior diver and Holland, Michigan, native who specializes in the platform event.
The Michigan men are ranked No. 7 and are led by seniors Paul Powers and PJ Ransford. Powers is a six-time All-American sprinter and four-time honorable mention All-American and a captain this season. He is a seven-time Big Ten champion. Ransford is also a captain. He is a two-time All-American and two-time honorable mention. He won the mile at the Big Ten championships last year.
Tristan Sanders was a relay All-American and a Big Ten champion in the 200 backstroke. Ryan Sebastian is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection.
The Michigan State seniors will look to have a strong performance in their final meet in a rival pool as well.
It will be the final meet for seniors for two other Big Ten programs this weekend, too.
On Friday, Iowa hosts Western Illinois and Penn State hosts Villanova.