U~t~ ~IEIJ4U Pxd~Big Ten Men's Basketball
Last night's scores
1linois 93, Northwestern 62
niaa 72, Penni State 54 a
V e ota 64 I h nState 6 , 2Q t F b ua y 1'u
? February 5,1996 .J
With the last 10 Big Ten championship trophies sitting securely i its trophy case, the
Michigan men's swimming team is searchingfor ... 7
Real race may be for 2nd
. - :
7 pim. - Finals
200 Free Relay
7 p.m. -- Finals
800 Free Relay
Noon - Prelims
7 p.m.F- Finals
400 Free Relay
By Susan Dann
Daily Sports Writer
We are told from childhood that no question is a
stupid question. The only stupid question is the one
You may ask, then, who has the best chance of
winning this year's Big Ten Conference Champi-
onships, held today through Saturday at Canham
Stupid question. Ask anyone in the Big Ten and
you'll get the same answer.,
"I really don't think it's even a question that
Michigan will walk away with the Big Ten title,"
Minnesota coach Dennis Dale said. "The question
will be the battle for second."
What is questionable this year is the full concen-
tration of all of the Big Ten squads on the
conference title. With the upcoming Olym-
pic Trials, many swimmers are focused on
trimming their times to qualify for the
Olympic hopefuls will be swimming
unshaven, as they focus on tapering for the
trials, March 6-12. Shaven athletes who
have tapered for Big Tens will have an edge this
weekend. This puts a big question mark on the
psyches of many athletes.
"(It may be a little discouraging to lose) because
(anyone trying for the Olympics is) racing against
people who are shaven," said Wolverine Olympic
hopeful John Piersma. "The difference in Big Tens
this year is that a lot of guys are focusing on the
Olympic trials and now we have to change our focus
for the time being."
Despite the split focus of the squads, Big Ten
competition this year should not suffer.
The Big Ten is one of the toughest conferences in
the nation. Five Big Ten schools have consistently
placed in the College Swimming Coaches Associa-
tion top 25 poll.
Michigan has maintained its No. 1 ranking since
claiming last year's NCAA National Champion-
ship. Other Big Ten squads joining the Wolverines in
the Feb. 6 poll are No. 9 Minnesota, No. 16 Iowa, No.
17 Ohio State and No. 22 Indiana.
Minnesota is expected to show well in the sprint
events. Martin Zielinski and Derek Williams make
the Golden Gophers favorites in the butterfly events.
Williams looks to better his Big Ten second-place
finish in the 100-yard butterfly. Bernie Zeruhn and
Manolis Lentaris add to the Gophers' roster in the
"Minnesota is the most well-balanced team we will
face," Michigan coach Jon Urbanchek said."They are
strong in the relays, diving - they really have no
After a decade of dominance in the breaststroke in
which Michigan featured world-class swimmers Mike
Barrowman and Eric Wunderlich, the team
currently finds itself depleted in that stroke.
"After 10 years of dominating the breast-
stroke in the NCAAs, (because of the lost
standouts) we may not even compete well
in the event in the Big Tens," Urbanchek
said. "This is where our most noticeable
This void in Michigan's roster will give the other
Big Ten squads a chance to claim points from an
otherwise strong Wolverine roster. Purdue's Vilmos
Kovacs should take the breaststroke events.
"Willy has already qualified for his national team,
so he is really focused and should dominate the
breaststroke," Urbanchek said.
Minnesota is anticipating a boost as backstroker
Duane Dobko returns to the pool. Dobko is recover-
ing from mononucleosis and a back injury, which has
kept him from training in his premier event.
Michigan State's Ian Mull has ahome-pool advan-
tage, which should translate into comfort in Canham.
Mull has been training for the Olympic Trials in
Michigan's Olympic-size facility. This familiarity
should give Mull an advantage in the individual
Minnesota is a strong favorite in the diving compe-
titions. P.J. Bogart took first in the one-meter and
three-meter springboard events as well as the 10-
meter platform at last year's Big Tens. He carried his
form into the NCAA Championships, taking first in
"Bogart is definitely the favorite," said Michigan
diving coach Dick Kimball. "Aside from him, I think
Ohio State and Iowa are strong squads. Iowa has two
kids from Spain who havebeen diving well forthem."
Without question, the Big Ten Championships will
illustrate the conference's strength in the water.
"There will really be some fierce competition,
especially for second place," Dale said. "(Minnesota)
was fortunate to finish second last year. Other teams
are really threatening us. They are looking to get
through us to get a shot at Michigan.
"(Aside from Michigan's dominance) it will be a
past Big Texi
By Doug Stevens
Daily Sports Writer
All season long, the Michigan iieiZ's
swimming and diving team has play
down the significance of each met
which it has competed.
Coach Jon Urbanchek sought tomin-
mize the importance of the regular sea-
son by claiming that it is crucial that his
team stay focused on the bigger goals of
the Olympic trials and the NCAA Cham-
pionships. He consistently emphasized
the fact that it is pertinent that everyone
remain patient and keep the road "to
glory in perspective.
Well, Urbanchek is pretty seri
about remaining focused on the bf
prize because starting today his Wol-
verines are hosting the Big Ten Coufer-
ence Championships, and h is
downplaying its significance.
Although the coach has tapered down
his top swimmers' intense practice
schedule for this meet and has drawn up
a detailed itinerary for the weekendo
sizable numberofWolverines will com-
pete in the conference championshO
This is because many Michigan swim
mers will be competing in the US.
Olympic Trials on March 6-12 aid
Urbanchek doesn't want them peaking
The Wolverines, who are the Stop-
ranked team in the nation, are huge
favorites to win their 11th straight'con-
ference crown. However, the meethas
the potential to be closer than expet*
due to the fact that many of Michigar s
top point-getters are neither peaking
nor shaven forthis weekend, while aiy
of its foes are.
Given this fact, Urbanchek wants his
potentially Atlanta-bound athletes' to
keep this meet in perspective.
"(Individually), they may gain more
from losing at this point," Urbanchek
said. "The only thing on the line is
Despite the significant talent of.a
Michigan team that finished the regular
season 5-0 in the conference, 11-1 over-
all -its only loss came against the U..?
National Team - the Wolverines ar
not taking their foes lightly because the
field is undoubtedly going to be pumped
"It is discouraging because we are
racing against people who are shaven,
said John Piersma, the defending B
Ten champion in the 500 freestyle. "
goals (of our shaven opponents) will be
to beat the guys who are unshaven."
Although there is some concern o
the part of Piersma, and some of th4
other Michigan swimmers who are fo
cusing on Olympic Trials, the general
consensus is that if anything is gained
from this meet on an emotional level, i
should be the opportunity to determine
their development to this point.
"I have rested for a week," Piers
said. "This meet is a chance to see
See SWIMMERS, Page 10A
last year en
route to an
team has its
work cut out
for it if the
want to top
WA LKER VANDYKE/
':si~>,e J~y~i lIr
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close meet with a great showing
by Ohio State, Indianaand Iowa."
This viewpoint is not limited
to the coaches.
"Each team has a few swim-
mers that can really compete,"
Michigan swimmer Tom
Malchow said. "We have the
numbers - but who knows?"
join the swimming
team in the
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