Michigan, Eastern Michigan Race in 20-Yard Pool, Shatter 48-Year-Old American Records

ANN ARBOR, Michigan, January 11. THE University of Michigan men's team went off the beaten path today in their dual meet against Eastern Michigan University, setting up the pool at Canham Natatorium in a 20-yard format in a time warp to have the athletes race in a format not officially used since 1965. Records indicate that year was the last in recognizing American records for swims done in a 20-yard pool, and today, several of those times were unofficially eradicated from the record books.

Naturally, the times swum in today's meet will not count for ranking or NCAA championship qualification purposes, even for races such as the 500 free, 100 breast and 200 back. But the meet, a brainchild of Michigan coach Mike Bottom, is giving the swimmers a fun way to race in an alternative way, presumably one that will make backstrokers nervous with flags at the turning end placed differently. And those using the full 15 meters on butterfly and freestyle were extra careful to spot the walls, though they were likely had the advantage in such a meet.

Interestingly, none of the times were faster than swims done in a 25-yard pool. Despite coming off heavy training, one would think that the extra turns in most of the races would make the swims faster.

The meet started with the 160-yard medley relay, or two lengths of the pool of each of the four strokes. The Michigan team of Miguel Ortiz, Richard Funk, Sean Fletcher and Evan Gregg posted a 1:07.74 in the event, ahead of the Wolverine B team's 1:08.99 and Eastern Michigan's 1:10.71.

The new format meant the 500-yard freestyle was swum in 25 lengths instead of the usual 20 in a 25-yard pool, and the first unofficial American record of the day fell to Michigan's Sean Feeley with a 4:27.99. The time is about five seconds slower than he has swum in the 25-yard version of this event this season. Paul Soley and Ryutaro Kamiya completed a Michigan sweep in the event, with Soley posting a 4:31.37 and Kamiya swimming a 4:33.83. All eight swimmers in the heat surpassed the American record of 4:55.7 by Mike Girabaldi from 1965.

The term “splash and dash” took on new meaning today in the 40-yard freestyle. New Wolverine Zach Turk, stepping up to Division I after a storied career in Division III at Kenyon, won with a 15.36. Ortiz and Gregg went 2-3 with times of 15.49 and 16.03, respectively.

Known mostly as an individual medley swimmer and butterflyer, Michigan's Kyle Whitaker was a somewhat surprise winner of the 100 breast with a 54.21 in the five-length event, shattering Richard Nesbit's 1964 record of 1:00.8. All eight swimmers in the field dipped under Nesbit's time. Coming in second was Michigan's Kyle Duckitt with a 55.01, and Mike Swain of Michigan was third with a 55.88.

Eastern Michigan got its first win of the day with Jacob Hanson's victory in the 200 backstroke. In the 10-length swim, Hanson swam a 1:45.82, breaking the American mark of 2:04.0, as did six of the other seven swimmers in the race. Kamiya put up a second-place time in his second race of the day with a 1:48.13, while Michigan's Connor McCarroll was third with a 1:50.87.

The 100 fly saw another Michigan sweep, with John Wojciechowski leading the way with a 47.81, not too far from his top time of the season in a 25-yard pool of 47.44. Dylan Bosch placed second with a 48.02 and Pete Brumm finished third with a 49.64. Fred Schmidt's American record of 52.8 set in 1964 didn't stand a chance, as six swimmers all surpassed his time.

Michigan's Bruno Ortiz took the 100 free win with a 44.41, a second off his season best time of 43.44 swum in a 25-yard pool. Roman Willetts of Michigan finished second with a 45.63, while Eastern Michigan's Dexter Foos placed third in 46.27. Steve Clark's American record of 46.3 from 1965 was a tougher challenge, with only the top three able to beat it. Clark won gold medals in all three relays at the 1964 Olympics and formerly held the world record in the 100 free.

Richard Funk was the only swimmer to break the two-minute barrier in the 200 breast today, winning with a 1:58.12. Funk is ranked fifth in the nation in the event with a 1:54.39 in the 25-yard pool. Eastern Michigan's Mike Swain was second with a 2:01.23 and Paul Corbae placed third with a 2:03.13. Thomas Kovacs' American record of 2:15.0 from 1965 was beaten by six swimmers today.

Sean Fletcher of Michigan blitzed the field in the 40-yard backstroke with a 17.29, with teammate Reid Elliott second with a time 18.15. Blake Howe of Eastern Michigan was third in 18.73. Notably, Eastern Michigan's Jacob Hanson was disqualified. Hopefully he did not go past the 15-meter mark, which would make it extremely close for comfort to execute the turn.

Dylan Bosch broke away from the field after 40 yards to win the 200 fly with a 1:46.78. Bosch is fourth in the country now with a 1:43.61 in 25-yard format. Whitaker was second in 1:52.26 and teammate Matt Zimmerman was third in 1:55.76. The top four, including Eastern Michigan's Aaron Lawson, broke Bill Mettler's American record of 1:57.6 from 1965.

In the 160-yard IM (40 yards of each stroke), Wojciechowski got his second win of the day with a time of 1:25.25, with teammate Pete Brumm second in 1:26.98 and Eastern Michigan's Mike Swain third with a 1:27.15.

Michigan's Michael Wynalda won the 200 free in 1:36.06, off his 25-yard pool time of 1:34.46 from earlier this season. Justin Glanda of Michigan got to the wall in second place with a 1:38.31 and Eastern Michigan's Kyzysztof Gilski was third with a 1:42.99. Don Schollander, the great Olympian from the 1964 Olympics, held the American record with a 1:44.1 in 1965, and that time was beaten by six of the eight competitors today.

Funk won his second individual event of the day with a 19.18 in the 40-yard breaststroke. (Isn't it weird seeing a time under 20 seconds for a breaststroke race?) Eastern Michigan officially took second and third in the race, with Michigan electing to seed the other Wolverines in the race as exhibition swimmers. Mike Swain got the second-place points with a 20.53 and Grant Schwarz was third in 20.82. Zach Turk swam the second-fastest time of the day with a 19.55, and Kyle Duckitt also went under 20 seconds with a 19.62.

Miguel Ortiz broke the final unofficial American record of the day with a 47.81 in the 100 back. Well back in second was Jacob Hanson, recovering from his backstroke disqualification with a 48.93. Blake Howe of Eastern Michigan was third with a 51.26. Roger Goettsche held the American record in 1961 with a 54.5, and all eight swimmers surpassed that today, thanks no doubt to the relatively new phenomenon of underwater dolphin kicking.

Fletcher won the men's 40-yard fly with a 16.52 as the only Michigan swimmer scoring points in the race. Eastern Michigan's Tom Coates (18.21) and Mike Kinross (18.85) were second and third officially. Wojciechowski had the second-best time with a 16.75.

Michigan won the final event of the day, the 160-yard free relay. Zach Turk (15.48), Kyle Whitaker (15.83), Hassaan Abdel Khalik (15.73) and Michael Wynalda (15.66) combined for a 1:02.70. Eastern Michigan took second (1:05.12) and third (1:05.68).

Nine “new” American records were set in today's meet, won by Michigan with a score of 206-107. Though the meet was not swum in a traditional format, Michigan has confirmed that the score is official and will count toward each team's dual meet records.

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