Page 8-The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday - March 22, 1993
Continued from page 1
of determination there. He looked
like the kind of guy with a good
work ethic. We felt there was a lot
of potential in him.
"Wunderlich was in the same
boat. He came down to Boca Raton
(from Atlanta) to visit his
grandmother and we had a chance to
meet him also. It was coincidental.
At that time it was legal to get in
contact; now you can't do that."
Namesnik was not a highly
sought-after recruit. Most coaches
gave him the run-around, telling him
they would wait and see how he
performed his senior year. Michigan
was the only school that recruited
him strongly his entire senior
"The recruiting process was
pretty minimal for me," Namesnik
said. "I wasn't really able to go on
any major recruiting trips. I was able
the approaches that Jon had gone
about. He showed interest from the
beginning and it was not going to
matter four months down the road -
this was in January - whereas
Arizona State was (saying) we'll
wait and see how you do before we
give you a scholarship."
Wunderlich, on the other hand,
was highly recruited, with schools in
the Southeastern conference, the
Midwest, and the Pac-10 conference
looking at him. Powerhouse teams
like UCLA, Florida and USC, along
with Michigan, all showed strong
interest in the Atlanta product.
"My coach in high school
(current Michigan assistant Alex
Braunfeld) was good friends with Jon
and had been for years," Wunderlich
said. "He said that he thought
Michigan was the best place for me
to go. The coaches that I had had
prior to Alex at Atlanta Dynamo
agreed that Michigan was the best as
far as swimming and academics. I
think they were right. It came down
to between Florida and Michigan. I
was at spring nationals in '88, and I
'I had my own ways of
venting, which were
legal. I was 21. For
about two months, I
was gone . . Iwas out
of control for a while.'
- Eric Wunderlich
all of the sudden just decided I
wanted to go to Michigan."
However, Wunderlich's career at
Michigan almost came to an abrupt
end before it even got started. His
late decision to attend Michigan
caused application problems, but
thankfully for Michigan, it was
"Jon was very happy, but there
was a little flaw in the application,"
Wunderlich said. "I was late getting
it in past the deadline, and it didn't
have the athletic stamp on it. So it
went straight to regular admissions.
I got a letter a week later that said
'Sorry, all spots have been filled.' I
called up Jon; I was hysterical. So
he went and talked to (then-Athletic
Director Don) Canham, and it was
straightened out in a hurry."
What Urbanchek got in the Erics
was two completely different
personalities. Namesnik is the
serious, all-business type of guy. A
personality that has earned him the
distinguishing mark of a tri-captain
for the team this year. Wunderlich,
on the other hand, is the practical
joker. The guy who lightens things
up at practice.
"(Namesnik) is very serious.
Once he hits the water he kind of
turns inwardly," Urbanchek said.
"'Wunder' is just the opposite. He's
kind of refreshing to coach because
he always has a joke for you. He
knows how to come back fast.
'Snik' takes two days to come back
at you. He thinks it over and 48
hours later he might have an answer
On a team, it is important to
have all types of personalities and
Wunderlich believes that the
combination of the two helps the
team relax while still staying
focused on what needs to be done.
"A team needs all different types
of leaders," Wunderlich said. "You
have to have a guy to lead you in the
weight room, a guy to lead you in
stretching, sit-ups, stretching after
practice, dual meets, Big Ten meets,
and NCAA meets. You have to have
someone to give you support and get
you excited. I think I'm the tension
breaker. I'm the chainsaw who's
screaming before the exam in
summer school. I try not to look
like I'm taking everything seriously,
even though I am."
Former teammate and current
student assistant coach Mike
Barrowman believes that both guys
biggest contribution to the team is
their leadership, despite their
"They're both the same in that
they are real good leaders for the
team because they lead by example
very, very strongly," Barrowman
said. "Wunderlich is going to go out
there and win almost every race there
is. He's not going to lose anywhere.
Namesnik is the man that will do
the job when the time comes.
"As far as being different, they
are different in every possible way
that I have seen. Namesnik will
never show satisfaction, never show
happiness, which is the sign of a
true champion. He takes it to the
'nth' degree. Wunderlich is the
ultimate playboy in every sense of
the word. He plays with it. The key
to his success has been being able to
enjoy it and have fun with it."
Their personalities led the
Wolverine duo to great success their
first three years at Michigan. Last,
season, both decided to redshirt in
order to train for the Olympics. The
Erics roomed together at the
Olympic trials and both were favored
to make the United States Olympic
team. They were both supposed to
be in Barcelona. However, this was
not to be the case.
Wunderlich was the first to
compete at the Trials in his No. 1
event, the 100-meter breaststroke.
He had beaten all of his opponents
before and expected to do so again.
Unfortunately, Wunderlich finished
third, missing the cut by one place.
"After the 100, I really didn't
know (how to react); it didn't hit
me," Wunderlich said. "As far as
what happened, I really don't know.
I was kind of watching everybody
else. The race kind of got away from
Namesnik followed up
Wunderlich's disappointment with a
victory in the 400 individual medley.
Namesnik. was watching the other
swimmers in order to get himself
pumped up, but when Wunderlich
failed to qualify in the 100 breast,
Namesnik was taken aback.
"It was hard to know what to do,"
Namesnik said. "I was stunned when
I didn't see him make the Olympic
team. Here I'm trying to concentrate
on what I'm doing, but I was excited
to watch him swim. I was able to
see people make the Olympic team
already. It kind of gets you excited
watching the people do real well. So
here I was real confident for him to
do a good job and make the Olympic
team, and then he didn't make it. I
was in shock."
Wunderlich had one last chance to
make the team in the 200 breast, but
again, he finished third. The
disappointment was hard to handle,
and it took a long time for him to
work it out. During the summer, he
,coped with the disappointment by
avoiding the pool, taking trips, and
spending time recovering from the
"I had my own ways of venting,
which were legal. I was 21,"
Wunderlich said. "For about two
months, I was gone. I had some
serious problems, like self-
confidence. I was out of control for a
Eventually, Wunderlich was able
to work out of his disappointment
and rededicate himself to his final
year of swimming at Michigan.
In the meantime, Namesnik was
looking for a gold medal in the 400
IM. His main competition was to
come from Tamas Darnyi of
Hungary, who had been his biggest
international nemesis. Darnyi was
the favorite for the gold. He had
beaten Namesnik in the world
championships in 1991 and was the
defending gold medalist in the 400
and 200 IMs.
In the race, Namesnik had a
slight lead going into the last leg,
but his hand slipped off the wall on
the turn and Darnyi took the lead. A
lead that he would never relinquish.
"I had the lead going into the
turn," Namesnik said. "I lost the race
going into the turn. I hit the wall
really well. I had it all set up for the
transition turn, and as I went to turn,
my right hand slipped down off the'
wall, and I lost a lot of momentum."
It was disappointing for
Namesnik not to win the gold
medal, but he was not going to lose
the silver medal at the end of the race
because of his frustration. He was
happy with his silver, but being a
Wunderlich said. "It wasn't a lot of
fun seeing Nelson go crazy setting
the Olympic record. I thought it
should have been me doing it. Did
the (Diebel Sports Illustrated) cover
- become a dart board cover? Yes, it
After the summer, both
swimmers rejoined the Wolverine
swim team and started to focus on
their goals of individual NCAA
titles and a team championship.
Their college careers have been
illustrious, as shown by their
accomplishments. Namesnik has
been named All-America seven
times, including three times in the
400-yard individual medley.
Wunderlich has been an All-
American nine times.
"I wanted to race against Nelson,
but he's not swimming this year,"
Wunderlich said. "I want to win the
100- and 200-yard breaststrokes at
the NCAAs, and possibly the 200
Namesnik also has an individual
title in mind as well as getting the
team back to the nation's elite.
'There were more
incentives to come
back this year ... to
get Michigan back on
the map as far as one
of the best teams in
- Eric Namesnik
"There were more incentives to
come back this year and to do well
individually," Namesnik said. "I've
never won an individual title at an
NCAA championship and also the
team aspect of trying to do better as
a team - to get Michigan back on
the map as far as one of the best
teams in the country. Last year we
slipped down a little bit to 10th
place, which didn't look so good
after being up for two or three years
in the top five."
The story's ending is less than a
week away. Both swimmers have
good shots at winning their
individual events, and the team title
is still within reach.
They came in together five years
ago as raw recruits and they hope to
go out together as champions. It
would be a perfect ending to their
to fit in visits to Arizona State and
Michigan. It came down to those
two schools, because they were the
only schools that recruited me
somewhat heavily or that were
interested in me for longer periods of
After looking at the two schools,
Namesnik decided that he liked
Urbanchek's approach to recruiting a
little better and made the choice to
travel north in order to continue his
"I looked at them as the two
schools," he said. "If they showed so
much interest in me, those were the
schools I wanted to go to. I had a
much better recruiting trip as far as
fun when I went to Arizona State.
But I went back and sat there and
thought about the two schools and
perfectionist, he wished his time had
been better. It wasn't until he was
walking to the medal stand that he
"I was really frustrated in the
back before the ceremony,"
Namesnik said. "As I got out there
to the awards stand, I realized, 'Hey,
I'm getting a medal' and that was the
Wunderlich was back in the
States, but he still managed to take
in certain events, including
Namesnik's 400 IM, Pablo Morales'
100 fly, Michigan sophomore
Gustavo Borges' 100 free,
Barrowman's 200 breast, and even
Nelson Diebel's 100 breast, the
event that Wunderlich most wanted
to be in at the Olympics.
"I watched certain events,"
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