The Wolverine

February 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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14 THE WOLVERINE FEBRUARY 2017   INSIDE MICHIGAN ATHLETICS Had it not been for a grade-school crush, swimming and diving senior Colin Eaton may never have been a swimmer and ended up at Michigan. "I did a bunch of sports when I was younger," Eaton said. "There was a girl I had a crush on in like third grade, and I wanted to join the swim team to impress her because she was on the swim team." Though it didn't get him the girl, the decision to take up swimming turned out to be a good one for the Oregon native. In the pool at Michigan, Eaton has spe- cialized in short-yardage free- style events, though he has also competed in the 100-yard breaststroke and 100-yard butterfly events throughout his college career. In his main event, the 50-yard freestyle, Eaton has a personal best time of 20.03 seconds. Eaton took a gap year after graduating high school to take more time to investigate what college would be right for him before ultimately deciding to become a Wolverine. "I wanted to continue look- ing at schools and Michigan wasn't really on my radar," Ea- ton said. "I kind of liked the other schools I went to, but I never got the gut feeling I should go there. I took a trip here and I met the guys on the team and I got the gut feeling that this was the place that I wanted to go to." Eaton also competed at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the 50-yard freestyle where he swam the event in 23.48 seconds, though he did not qualify for the team. Although Eaton may not be one of the Wolverines' fastest swimmers, he sees his role as helping to create a team environment in which everyone can be suc- cessful in and out of the pool. According to Eaton, it is his academic success that is his biggest contribution to the team, and the evidence for that is strong. Eaton earned Academic All-Big Ten laurels in 2016 as well as U-M Academic Achievement honors, all while preparing to head to medical school. Eaton began his academic career at Michigan in the College of Engineering and was following a biomedical engineering path before switching majors to focus on the biology side of things. Regardless of his declared major, Eaton says that heading to medi- cal school after graduation was always part of his plan. "From a young age, I saw my parents both in the medical field and I kind of played around with that idea a little bit," Eaton said. "Some days I would go visit my dad in his office and see the ways that he was interacting with patients and seeing the good stuff that he was doing with them. "I felt like that was something that I wanted to do when I got older." Eaton hasn't yet figured out where he will go to medical school or what he will specialize in, but he wants to be a doctor of osteopathy and is looking at programs on the West Coast. — Leland Mitchinson Student Athlete Of The Month Swimming And Diving Senior Colin Eaton Eaton, who was an Academic All-Big Ten honoree in 2016, plans on going to medical school after graduation. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS MICHIGAN BASKETBALL BEGINS CRITICAL, DIFFICULT STRETCH Michigan's 2-3 start to the Big Ten sea- son under John Beilein put a damper on hopes that blossomed in early strong showings at Madison Square Garden. Back in November, when the Wolver- ines were taking down Marquette and SMU by 18 and 22 points, respectively, pundits were pondering whether the Wolverines could be elite. A five-game dose of Big Ten reality later, U-M hoped to right the ship in a particularly grueling schedule of games. With the conference's poorest defense against field goal shooting in general (53.4 percent) and three-point shooting (55.3 percent) in league games, the road ahead looked particularly daunting. "Just look at our schedule," Beilein said, prior to a Jan. 17 road trip to Wisconsin. "The teams that are usually in the middle of the pack after five or six games, are road games. Then the teams that are traditional powers are home and away. We've got some really tough opportuni- ties ahead of us. "All we've got to look at is the mindset that yes, it's Wisconsin. Yes, they're really good. We can get better in this game, and if we get better every possession down the court, we have a chance to win every game." Look indeed, at the schedule, over a nine-game stretch lasting through Feb. 19: at Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, at Michigan State, Ohio State, Michigan State, at Indiana, Wisconsin and at Min- nesota. That's a make-or-break stretch for a squad still harboring NCAA Tournament hopes, but looking — in the eyes of a number of analysts — more like an NIT crew. John Beilein's squad opened the season 4-0 and won seven of the first nine contests, but U-M has started Big Ten play 2-3. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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