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October 23, 1992 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-10-23

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Page 12-The Michigan Daily-- Friday, October 23, 1992

Decision time at OSU
Tourney is Big Ten audition for 'M' water polo

by Erin Himstedt
Michigan water polo coach Scott Russell will have a
lot on his mind this weekend.
The Wolverines travel to Ohio State today for a two-
day, six team tournament. But as the team attempts to
maintain its dominant position in the Big Ten, Russell
will be evaluating his players. This is the last event of
the regular season, and only the top fifteen team mem-
bers will play in the conference finals in Madison two
weeks from now.
The selection won't be an easy one.
"These are opportunities for me to see who are the

best, who we'll take to Big Tens. That's one of the
things I'm really focusing on this weekend," Russell
said. "We've got forty-six players between the A and B
teams; there are an awful lot of good guys who won't be
able to go to Big Tens this year."
The Wolverines' domination of the conference, ev-
ident in their 10-1-1 record, allows Russell to concen-
trate on his players' individual performance.
"It's not so much whether we win the game, it's
evaluating my players to see who will be going to Big
10's, and that's a luxury for me."
Despite the emphasis on Russell's selection, victory
is still the goal of the weekend. The Wolverines will
face Indiana, Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan State and a
club team. Michigan is undefeated against each of the
Big Ten teams, and has high expectations, even against
MSU, its toughest challenger.
"They're a good team, definitely," sophomore Drew
Hansz said. "Sure, there's always a concern, but I think
we've got their number."
The length of Ohio State's pool, which is consid-
erably shorter than Michigan's, is a primary concern for
the Wolverines. Typically, this means that games will
be high-scoring. Michigan's offense, one of the few
minor weaknesses on this strong team, will therefore
need to be at its best this weekend.
"Our defense is still stronger than our offense, but
that's just a matter of timing. At the offensive end,
there's less margin for error," Russell said. "Our offense
is definitely coming along; we're scoring more goals
than we did at the beginning of the season. But that's
what we're going to be working on in practice for the
next (two) weeks; that's going to be our primary focus."
Nevertheless, an imperfect offense is not likely to
keep the Wolverines from defeating their opponents this
"I think it's all right," Hansz reflected. "I think if our
defense keeps on playing like it has been, the offense
just comes."
This weekend's event in Columbus will also be a
factor in seeding the Big Ten finals, as was last week's
Wolverine Invitational.

Jim Hume swims the backstroke, just one leg of the 400 individual medley. Hume and the rest of Michigan men's
swim team opens its season against the Eastern Michigan Eagles tonight at 7:00 p.m. in Canham Natatorium.
Olympians return; boost Blue

Sam Chuarng and the Michigan water polo team go
to Columbus this weekend for a six team tournament.

by Jaeson Rosenfeld
Daily Sports Writer
Which Michigan team has won
the most consecutive Big Ten titles?
If you answered football, guess
again. Michigan's men's swimmers
have won seven straight titles and
will start down the long road to their
eighth championship tonight against
Eastern Michigan in the Canham
"This is probably the best team I
have had in 10 years," coach John
Urbanchek said. "We have a
tremendous senior class."
The senior class includes Eric
Namesnik and Eric Wunderlich, who
both redshirted last year in order to
train for the Olympics.
Namesnik shined last summer in
Barcelona, winning a silver medal in
the 400m individual medley.
Wunderlich was not so fortunate,
finishing a frustrating third place in
both the 100m breaststroke and the
200m breaststroke at the Olympic
Trials. Only the top-two finishers in
each event qualify for the Olympics.
Though last year was one of dis-
appointment for Wundeo1ich, Ur-
banchek thinks he will bounce back.
"He's back and very hungry,"
said Urbanchek. "He's going after a

couple of NCAA titles."
Besides Namesnik and Wunder-
lich, the senior class boasts Brian
Gunn. The tri-captain has qualified
for the NCAA finals in both the
butterfly and freestyle and lists the
NCAA championships as a high pri-
ority on the team's agenda for this
"This year is a very team-
oriented year, keying on the Big
Tens and NCAAs. Hopefully we will
have the best NCAAs since I've
been here," Gunn said.
While Michigan's seniors are the
strength of the team, the Wolverines'
underclassmen are nothing to scoff
at. Among them is a pair of a
Olympians and a bevy of Big Ten
Perhaps the most promising of
these underclassmen is sophomore
Gustavo Borges.
The Brazilian garnered an
Olympic silver medal in the 100m
freestyle while also finishing first in
the 100- and 200-yard freestyle at
both the NCAA Championships and
the Big Ten Championships. Al-
though Borges' standout freshman
season left few honors unattained, he
still has several goals for this year.
"I want to get back to NCAAs

and improve my times. I also want to
break the school record in the 100
(yard freestyle)," Borges said.
Fellow sophomore Thomas Blake
is one of the team's most improved
swimmers, according to Urbanchek. *
The freestyler attributes his growth
to determination and a little help
from his friends.
"It's just from hard work and the
chance to swim against the best
swimmers in the country every day
in practice," Blake said. "It helps to
have good training partners."
In addition to Borges, the
Wolverine's Olympic contingent
includes freshman Royce Sharp. The
newcomer out of Houston, should
help Michigan in the backstroke.
"Royce should be able to con-
tribute right away," Urbanchek said j
The Wolverines' junior class i5;
led by the freestyle duo of Rodney-z*
VanTassel and Brice Kopas. Van- -
Tassel was a Big Ten finalist in both'
the 200- and 500-yard freestyle
while Kopas grabbed third in the
1650-yard freestyle at the Big Tens.ry
With so many good things going
for his team, Urbanchek offered a
prediction for the coming year.
"This should be the year of the
Wolverine," he said.



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