Michigan Men’s Swimming & Diving Beats In-State Rival in Emotional Last Ever Meeting

Gus Borges. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The No. 9-ranked University of Michigan men’s swimming and diving team held a swimming meet at Canham Natatorium for the first time in nearly a calendar year on Friday (Jan. 22), winning all 13 events in a 137-77 win over Michigan State. The team scores will be updated following the conclusion of diving Saturday morning (Jan. 23).


Overshadowing the result was the realization that it was likely the final dual meet between the two in-state schools who have competed against each other for 100 years. Last fall, Michigan State made the decision to discontinue its swimming and diving program following this season. The U-M swimming coaches and members of the team donned “Save MSU Swim/Dive” facemasks, standing in solidarity with their opponents across the pool. The women’s teams will meet Saturday.

“We talked before the meet about how we could honor them,” said head coach Mike Bottom. “We want them as our competitor. We make each other better, there’s no question about it. The long rivalry we’ve had for 100 years is coming to an end, and the idea of not competing against Michigan State in the future is so sad.”

The Wolverines opened the meet with the 400-yard medley relay, swimming that event for the first time this year. The quartet of Eric Storms, Will Chan, Alex King and James LeBuke brought home the win in 3:15.67. Storms led off in 47.79, while LeBuke anchored in 44.17.

In the 200-yard freestyle, freshman Wyatt Davis outdueled freshman Jake Mitchell and senior Luiz Gustavo Borges over the final 50 yards, touching first in 1:37.86. Junior Jared Daigle trailed by a half-second with 50 yards to go in the 200-yard butterfly, but powered home, overtaking teammate Bence Szabados for the victory in 1:48.88.

Mitchell got the victory in the 200-yard backstroke, swimming past King and holding off a hard-charging Storms down the final 50 yards (1:49.22).

Other individual winners on the night included sophomore Noah Yarian in the 100-yard backstroke (51.45), junior AJ Bornstein in the 100-yard breaststroke (56.29), LeBuke in the 50-yard freestyle (20.66), Chan in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:00.16), junior Bora Unalmis in the 500-yard freestyle (4:34.41), freshman Charlie Morici (49.38) and sophomore Danny Berlitz in the 400-yard IM (3:51.75). There was even a tie in the 100-yard freestyle between sophomore Donald Scott and Davis, each of whom went 45.54.

The foursome of Cam Peel, Szabados, Storms and LeBuke closed the meet with a win in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:20.20).

Michigan State Release

“I’m really proud of our team. Its been a really difficult couple of weeks.,” said head coach Matt Gianiodis. “We came down here with mostly freshmen and sophomores, and we haven’t been able to train or work together as a team in a good while. I thought the freshmen did a really nice job in their first meet. For us to compete the way we did today – missing a lot of our upperclassmen and swimming against a top-10 Michigan team – I’m incredibly happy with our efforts.”

“After the meet tonight, the U of M team did a ‘Go Green!’ answered by our boys doing a ‘Go White!’ Gianiodis wrote on Facebook. “It went on five times. I almost started crying during it. I never thought I would see the day when we would get a warmer reception in Ann Arbor than in East Lansing. Respect to the Wolverines tonight.”

Sophomore Travis Nitkiewicz took second place for MSU in two events. In the 100 breast, he posted a time of 57.06, edging out a pair of Wolverines who had designs on a podium finish. His time of 2:00.16 gave him his second second-place finish of the day.

Four freshmen earned second-place finishes in their first collegiate meet. Michael Benington earned a pair on his own: in the 400 IM (4:06.11) and also the 200 back, (1:53.28). James Gavin was second in the 500 free (4:35.77, nearly 10 seconds faster than UM’s third-place finisher), and also took sixth in the 200 free (1:42.37.) Cristofer Gore took third for MSU in the 200 fly, posting a 1:52.72. Gore also finished fifth in the 100 fly. Stephen Freitag took second in the 100 fly (49.96), and then was fifth in the 50 free.

Senior Aiden Farley took third in the 100 free (46.27), and was also fifth (1:40.76) in the 200 free. Kevin Mills was third in the 50 free, leading the way for MSU in the event (20.90).

The 100 back, senior Charlie Ryan was MSU’s top finisher (third, 54.18), and Grant Wolner was a spot behind (55.60). Ryan and Wolner also swam the 100 free, taking fourth (48.79) and fifth (49.36).

Sophomore Brad Sanford was third in the 100 fly (51.28), while classmate Brian Jiang was fourth in the 100 fly (51.94) and sixth in the 50 free earlier in the evening. Alexander Eddy also competed in the 500 free, finishing in fourth place in a time of 5:08.37. Jack Hiss was third in the 400 IM (4:06.11)

MSU’s 400 medley relay – Ryan, Nitkiewicz, Freitag, and Mills – took third place, posting a time of 325.07. The Spartans had a pair of top three finishes in the 200 free relay; Mills Sanford, Farley and Freitag finished second (1:23.08), while the “B” entry (Peter Corsetti, Gavin, Jiang, and Wolner) were third (1:26.72).

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