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The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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MAY 2020 THE WOLVERINE 31 by Felix Auböck — who swept the 500- and 1,650-yard freestyles for the fourth consecutive year — led the way. Classmate Charlie Swan- son also won for the fourth straight year in 400-yard individual medley, while fellow seniors Miles Smachlo repeated in the 100-yard butterfly and Tommy Cope picked up his first individual title with a school-record time in the 200-yard breaststroke (1:51.44). "[The Big Ten championship is] a testament to our special senior class," Bottom said. "They fought hard all four years and never gave up. Those who stay will be champi- ons. I couldn't be more proud of this team." In addition to the swimmers, ju- nior Ross Todd was named Big Ten Co-Diver of the Championships after winning three medals — a gold on one-meter, a silver on three-me- ter and a bronze on platform. "Every diver fought and pushed themselves to score for the team," diving coach Mike Hilde said. "They showed a lot of resilience and proved that Michigan divers can hang with anyone." Every contribution matters when competing for a title, and the Wol- verines got them up and down the roster. Twenty-one team members earned All-America honors from the CSCAA, second only to Texas (23). Twelve of them — seniors Auböck, Smachlo, Swanson, Cope, Jeremy Babinet and Rob Zofchak; juniors Luiz Gustavo Borges, Will Roberts and Ricardo Vargas; sopho- mores Patrick Callan and Will Chan; and freshman Danny Berlitz — all earned individual qualifying berths to the NCAA Championships that were supposed to take place March 25-28 in Indianapolis. Zofchak and Callan were two who elevated themselves, earning the prestigious Coaches' Award for their efforts. "Rob was really a man on a mis- sion this year," associate head coach Josh White said. "He brought a passion to practice all year that was unstoppable … especially at the Big Tens. He lit the team on fire with some incredible swims, dropped an average of 1.3 seconds per 200 [yards] he swam, made his first-ever 'A' final and scored more than dou- ble the points of the year before. "Patrick … he went best times in all three of his main events. Not only that, but in the 200 free he went faster than his previous best six times throughout the course of the season, even without getting a chance to show his stuff at the NCAAs." The NCAA cancellation was heartbreaking for all of them, of course, but the team handled it well. After their coach broke the news, the group convened one last time. "They went over there to the Matt Mann [pool] corner and sang 'The Victors,'" Bottom recalled. "It's moving … it's just so moving. They got together, they talked about be- ing champions, praised each other, they understood each other and then they sang 'The Victors.' It was so cool." It was also something none of them will soon forget. "If we could appreciate, not just the moments we have, but the mem- ories we have," Bottom concluded, "that's a wonderful thing." ❑ Head coach Mike Bottom on winning the Big Ten title "It's a testament to our special senior class. … Those who stay will be champions. I couldn't be more proud of this team." Another Trio Worth Considering Swimming didn't stand alone as a standout this season. Here are other men's teams that achieved signifi- cantly: • Tennis — Adam Steinberg's team finished third in the nation; the last time the program climbed that high in the rankings was 1998. The squad qualified for the ITA National Indoor Championship for the first time since 2009 and made the semifinals. The program defeated four top-10 ranked teams, after it hadn't beaten one so highly regarded since 2011. • Cross country — The Wolver- ines placed seventh at the NCAA Championships under head coach Kevin Sullivan after beginning the season ranked No. 18. It marked the program's best finish at the national meet since a fifth-place showing in 1999. It boasted two All-Americans and three top-50 finishers (only two teams had more) at nationals. • Ice hockey — Mel Pearson's crew was cruising into the postseason, ranked No. 17 in the final USCHO national poll after starting the sea- son slowly at 7-10-2. They finished second in the Big Ten and posted an 11-4-2 mark since Jan. 1, went unbeaten on the road during the second half of the season (8-0) and recorded eight wins over ranked teams. — Chris Balas The men's swimming and diving team won the Big Ten and was ranked No. 3 nation- ally when the NCAA Championships were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN PHOTOGRAPHY

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