MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota, February 24. THE No. 9-ranked University of Michigan men's swimming and diving team retained its lead over the field with two individual wins — freshman Sean Ryan (Hixson, Tenn./McCallie School) in the 500-yard freestyle and freshman Kyle Whitaker (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton) in the 400-yard individual medley — and a relay victory (400-yard medley) on the second day of competition at the Big Ten Championships on Thursday (Feb. 24) at Minnesota's University Aquatic Center. With 259.5 points, U-M leads Indiana by 8.5 points in the team standings.
Ryan and Whitaker won their first individual titles and Michigan remained perfect in relays at the championships, claiming the 400-yard medley race.
The Wolverines reestablished themselves at the top of the 500-yard freestyle podium, claiming all three spots. Ryan took the lead on the bell lap and was first to the wall in 4:17.91. Junior Dane Vanderkaay (Rochester, Mich./Adams) had built a body-length lead over the field after 300 yards, but his teammate, Ryan, caught him just as the two pushed away from the wall on the final trip down the pool. Sophomore Ryan Feeley (Rye, N.Y./Rye) rounded out the top three and sophomore Hassaan Abdel Khalik (Mississauga, Ontario/Silverthorn Collegiate) picked up points on an eighth-place finish.
Whitaker plowed his way to an NCAA automatic-qualifying time en route to a win in the 200-yard individual medley. The Wolverine rookie took the lead at the midway point of the race thanks to the fastest split in the breaststroke leg. All three Wolverines led the race at one point, with junior Dan Madwed (Stamford, Conn./Towson), who jumped from seventh to second in the final 50 yards, leading off the blocks, senior Neal Kennedy (Chanhassen, Minn./Chaska) pacing the field at the midway point and Whitaker carrying the final 100 yards to the finish.
The Maize and Blue relays continued to dominate, claiming the 400-yard medley relay to close out the second day of competition. Indiana took a commanding lead after 200 yards as U-M and Ohio State jockeyed for second. Coming into the final leg, the Wolverines and Buckeyes caught up to the lead and were now contending for first. Sophomore Miguel Ortiz (Tokyo, Japan/St. Mary's International) was in an all out sprint to the wall in the final 25 yards, getting there .29 seconds ahead of the competition.
Michigan rolls into day three of the Big Ten Championships tomorrow (Friday, Feb. 25) at Minnesota's University Aquatic Center. Preliminaries begin at 11 a.m. CST with the finals set to begin at 6:30 p.m. CST.
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