ANN ARBOR, Michigan, February 26. THE Michigan men’s swimming team opened the Big 12 championships in a big way at their home pool, setting an NCAA and U.S. Open record in the 800 free relay tonight.
The final time of 6:09.85 swum by Anders Nielsen, Michael Wynalda, Justin Glanda and Connor Jaeger took down the five-year-old mark of 6:10.16 swum by Dave Walters, Ricky Berens, Scott Jostes and Michael Klueh to win the NCAA title in the event in 2009. Because Nielsen hails from Denmark, the time will not count as an American record.
Nielsen’s leadoff leg of 1:33.52 put Michigan nearly two seconds behind Texas’ record relay and the 1:31.72 by Walters that stood for a time as the American record. It was the massive 1:30.60 by Wynalda that put Michigan within .25 behind the record, and based on preliminary research, is the fastest 200 freestyle done as a relay split in history. As an extra note, it’s six tenths faster than the brass ring, the 1:31.20 that stands as the U.S. Open and NCAA record in the individual 200 free posted by Simon Burnett in 2006.
A 1:33.26 from Glanda wasn’t as fast as Jostes’ 1:33.20, and the gap widened slightly to .31 seconds behind Texas. Jaeger, the reigning NCAA champion in the 500 and 1650 freestyles, got Michigan ahead of the record on the anchor leg with a 1:32.47 split over Klueh’s 1:33.09. Incidentally, Klueh currently trains as a postgrad with Jaeger at Michigan.
Wisconsin and Ohio State were dueling for second place in the 800 free relay tonight, and Wisconsin got the runner-up status with an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 6:19.22 to Ohio State’s 6:19.28. Indiana (6:20.17) and Penn State (6:23.00) also got under the “A” cut.
The session started with another quick swim from Michigan in the 200 medley relay, as John Wojciechowski (backstroke: 21.88), Richard Funk (breaststroke: 23.16), Peter Brumm (butterfly: 20.37) and Bruno Ortiz (freestyle: 18.98) posted a 1:24.38. That’s not far off the U.S. Open and NCAA record of 1:22.27 the Wolverines swam last March to win the NCAA title. Since Funk is from Canada and Ortiz is Spanish, the American record of 1:23.02 from the SwimMAC Elite team is safe.
Penn State handed Ohio State another close defeat, as the Nittany Lions got second with a 1:24.89 to the Buckeye’s 1:24.90. Both times were NCAA automatic qualifying swims. Indiana (1:25.49) and Minnesota (1:25.97) also posted “A” cuts in the race.