Vanderkaay, Savulich Help U-M Grab Lead at the Big TenSwimming and Diving Championships

COLUMBUS, Ohio, February 17. TWO individual titles and one relay victory on Saturday (Feb. 17) propelled the 12th-ranked University of Michigan men's swimming and diving team into first place (405 points) after two days of the Big Ten Championships at McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion. The Wolverines lead Minnesota by two points heading to the meet's final day, while Ohio State (366) and Northwestern (339) sit in third and fourth.

Trailing first-day leader Ohio State by 14 points and Minnesota by one heading into Saturday's action, the Wolverines totaled 130 points in the first three individual finals to grab the lead, but Minnesota came back in the heated battle and assumed a four-point edge going into the night's final event, the 800-yard freestyle relay.

Michigan's 800-yard freestyle relay team captured victory with a facility record and NCAA automatic qualifying time of 6:23.20. Maybe the most impressive aspect of the Wolverine victory was the fact that team members sophomore Bobby Savulich (Edison, N.J./St. Joseph), sophomore Matt Patton (Matthews, N.C./Butler), sophomore Sal Barba (Hudson, Mass./St. Johns) and junior Alex Vanderkaay (Rochester, Mich./Adams) were all competing in at least their second event of the evening, with Patton competing in his third. Minnesota's relay squad stayed close to the Wolverines for the entire race, temporarily taking the lead in during the second half of the event, but the Golden Gophers could not pull out the victory.

Earlier in the night, Vanderkaay repeated as Big Ten champion in the 400-yard individual medley with an NCAA automatic time of 3:44.86, the fastest time in the country. Vanderkaay's win marks the ninth straight year that the Wolverines have won the event, and the 13th time of the last 16. His brother Peter Vanderkaay (2003-06) won the event the previous two years. Freshman André Schultz (Sao Paulo, Brazil/Colegio Palmares) touched the wall in an NCAA consideration time of 3:48.73 and junior Dane Grenda (Hockessin, Del./Salesianum) clocked an NCAA consideration time of 3:50.09 to finish fifth and sixth, respectively. Also scoring for the Wolverines was freshman Shaun Weinberg (Phoenix, Md./Dulaney), who took fourth in the consolation final (12th overall) with a time of 3:56.64.

The Wolverines swept the top two spots in the 200-yard freestyle for the second year in a row and have now won the event in 10 of the past 16 years. Savulich captured the victory with an NCAA consideration time of 1:35.99. In prelims, Savulich clocked a McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion facility record with an NCAA automatic time of 1:34.97. Barba placed second in the final with an NCAA consideration time of 1:36.92, while sophomore Evan Ryser (Katy, Texas/James E. Taylor) finished in eighth (1:37.99). Ryser posted an NCAA consideration time of 1:36.99 in prelims.

In the 100-yard butterfly, Michigan picked up some strong scoring efforts from freshman Chris Brady (Wilmington, Del./Mount Pleasant) and sophomore Curtis Dauw (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East). Brady placed third in the event with an NCAA consideration time of 47.44 and Dauw took fifth place with an NCAA consideration mark of 47.87. Each swimmer had a faster prelim time, with Dauw clocking 47.64, and Brady posting an NCAA automatic time of 46.83.

Also turning in strong individual performances for the Wolverines were freshman Scott Spann (Austin, Texas/Westlake), Patton, and freshman Alon Mandel (Netanya, Israel/Eldad). Spann took fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke with an NCAA consideration time of 54.05. In the 100-yard backstroke, Patton placed seventh with an NCAA consideration mark of 48.19 and Mandel scored by taking 12th overall in the event (49.14).

In the 200-yard medley relay, Michigan's team of Patton, Spann, Brady and Ryser combined for an NCAA consideration time of 1:27.91, just 0.41 seconds shy of the school record that was set two years ago (1:27.50).

Sophomore Kyle Schroeder (Milan, Mich./Milan) also scored for the Wolverines, placing 12th in the three-meter diving with a score of 298.95.