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December 08, 1997 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-12-08

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The Michigan Daily - SPQRTSMonday - December 8, 1997 - 3B

*Wolverines fall short in U.S. Open

r .IIII I I I.

By Mark Francescutti
.aily Sports Writer
The U.S. Open came and went for the
Michigan men's swimming team, and
e displayed emotion was complacency.
;.The tournament brought many top
'wimmers from around the world,
including several national clubs. Many
of the other countries use the times from
c U.S. Open as factors to select their
am members, whereas the U.S. team
as decided in the qualifying tourna-
f nt held this past summer.
The individual-based U.S. Open,
which has little importance for most of
the Wolverines other than warming up
Tor the FINA World Championships
next month - was extremely impor-
tant for two swimmers for that very
Michigan swimmers Owen von
Richter and Mike McWha both wanted
to represent Canada at next month's
championships, but to qualify for the
Canadian team, they needed top times in
events at the U.S. Open.
Although McWha took third in the
1,500-meter freestyle and fifth in the
200 free, he fell short of the times he
needed to qualify.
Von Richter earned second place with
time of 3:57.01 in the 400 free, miss-
ing first by .19 seconds. He also won
sixth place in the 400 individual medley
with a time of 4:33.36, but still couldn't
muster the times to qualify.
"Owen was feeling sick and had a lit-
tle trouble breathing," senior Chris
Laskowski said. "Both swam well:'
One of the highlights of the tourna-

ment was Laskowski, Scott Werner,
Ryan Papa, and Tom Malchow in the
400 medley relay. Their performance in
the relay gave Michigan a close third-
place time.
But the most exciting event for the
Wolverines was Tom Malchow's second-
place performance in the 200 butterfly.
"Malchow had a great 200 butterfly, it
was a pretty inspired race,' Laskowski
Although some Wolverines were
happy with their performances, many
swimmers struggled due to the lack of
preparation. For the Wolverines, the
tournament just wasn't as important to
them as it was to many of the other
"A lot of the competition was from
other countries to qualify for the world
championships," Chris Thompson said.
"A lot of the people were shaved and
tapered; we were just swimming and
doing the best we could."
The Wolverines, however, did have
their moments. The team earned a sec-
ond-place finish behind Southern
California among all the universities
Senior Ryan Papa, who raced in both
third-place team relays, also earned a
10th-place finish in the 100-meter back-
Other Michigan swimmers who
placed in the top 20 in events include
Chris Thompson - who earned a
fourth-best time behind Malchow in the
1,500 free - Werner, Derya Buyukuncu
and Mike O'Connor.
"It was a solid meet, we weren't

expecting too much," Laskowski said.
"We weren't focusing on getting the best
times possible in this meet. Other than
the two Canadians, we just wanted to
race top people."
The U.S. Open also pitted the
Wolverines against some old Michigan
faces - 1996 Olympic gold-medalist
Tom Dolan and Gustavo Borges.
Dolan, who dominated in the prelimi-
nary rounds, placing in the. top 10 in
many of the events, faltered a bit in the

final rOUrids.
"Dlolai i, (aMls) had a little trouble
swi mmii g as far as breathing,"
Laskows ki said.
The Wolverines will take a month
break bed orre the Wvorld Champi onships
in Perth, Australia.
Wolve rines who have qualified and
the countries that they will represent
include, Papa (Phi 1ipines), Buyukuncu
(Turkey), Francisco Suriano Sits
(Singapore), and Maichow (USA).

The Bronx Bomber
Traitor 1s like Br own shown
upbyloyalA't like Donnanz
s much as he is a Michigan man, Bo Schembechler probably wishes he coul
be a North Carolina man. Just for a day, at least, before he returns to his Blue
oots. If placed in that capacity, Schembechler would have the opportunity to:
re-enact his greatest moment as Michigan's athletic director, a position he held
briefly from 1988-90, in between the tenures of Don Canham and Jack Weidenbach.
That moment was one when he made a decision that some questioned as rash
and many thought would upset a very good Michigan team. Without a doubt,
though, the move was bold.
It was the eve of the 1989 NCAA men's basketball tournament. The Wolverines'
coach, Bill Frieder, had announced that he was leaving his post effective the end of
Michigan's run in the tournament to take the same job at Arizona State, albeit with
a meatier salary and less snow on his doorstep.
But the greedy Frieder was hit with a sharp message from the Michigan Athletic
Department. Schembechler dismissed Frieder, forcing him to begin his tenure in
Tempe a little bit earlier than he wanted.
"I did not want someone from ASU," said Schembechler, March 15, 1989. "I
wanted a Michigan man on the bench, not an ASU coach:'
We all know what Frieder's replacement, Steve Fisher, did with the Wolverines i
the two weeks following that announcement.
This decision surprised people because taking a new job before the current ones
duties were completed was commonplace. When Schembechler put his foot down
and deemed loyalty more important than victories, the public was thrown for a loop
Luckily, for Schembechler and Michigan, they got both.
Now, 8 1/2 years after the fact, Schembechler, if given the opportunity to be a
North Carolina man, would give Tar Heels head football coach Mack Brown a
piece of his mind. Something, in fact, that is a little more piercing since both cone
from the school of the gridiron. s
Brown has had a remarkable career in Chapel Hill, taking a pulseless team that
won only two games his first two seasons to a 65-35-1 mark in the next seven
years. This season was by far the most succesful in North Carolina football history,'
as the Tar Heels went 10-1, finished No. 7 in the AP poll and are headed to a berih$
in the Gator Bowl on New Year's Day.
But last Thursday, Brown accepted the recently vacated head coaching job at
Texas, a program with a prestigious past but a perilous present, going just 4-7 this
year, its worst mark since 1956.
The past, as well as the $600,000-a-year salary, were enough to encourage
Brown to flee westward. Yet "his" decision on whether to coach the Tar Heels in
their season finale is still up in the air.
"What I have to do is to decide whether or not I will be a distraction by coming
back to North Carolina,' Brown said at his press conference in Austin. "The only:
thing that matters is that the Tar Heels get l I wins and finish in the top five."
Where's Bo when you need him to lay down the law?
North Carolina Athletic Director Dick Baddour should have told Brown not to
bother coming back to Chapel Hill on the basis of that comment alone.
Talk about a warped sense of loyalty. Brown says he "only" cares about the Tar
Heels winning 11 games and a top-five finish. But then he goes and jumps ship.
"We hated to leave Chapel Hill because we loved Chapel Hill and we were so
close to that team,' the backstabbing Brown said. "It was hard to leave, but that's a
good thing."
So what if North Carolina doesn't win the Gator Bowl. No 11 victories. No top-
five finish. Does Brown still care? Nope.
Brown should be the absolute last person to decide whether he has a last hurrah
in the baby blue. As far as Baddour is concerned, he should be telling his offensive
and defensive coordinators to come up with a plan for their next game because it
sure isn't going to be Brown doing that.
But just when we see a turncoat like Brown, someone from the Schembechler
school of loyalty steps forward.
Georgia coach Jim Donnan, whose Bulldogs have an Outback Bowl appointment

Mike McWha took third in the 1500-meter freestyle: at this weekend's U.S. Open,
but still failed to qualify for next month's World Chamiponships in Australia.

ers blow competition out of water

Harris becomes first Wolverine to qualify for NCAA championships with record swim

By Uma Subramanian
Daily Sports Writer
Talk about starting out with a bang. Last weekend,
at the Notre Dame swimming and diving invitation-
al, Kasey Harris was the first Michigan swimmer to
qualify for the NCAA championships in March.
In addition to qualifying, her ;
ime of 1:58.72 in the 200-yard s
butterfly places her in the Big<
Ten record books with the
fourth-fastest time in conference
She also set pool and meet
ecords in the 200- and 400-yard
individual medleys as well as
swimming on the record-break-
ing relay teams.
For Michigan, the best part is Harris
hat she's only a freshman.
Her performance helped Michigan finish in first
place overall in the meet with 1,035 points. The
Wolverines set meet and pool records in almost
every event in which they were entered.
The only events in which they didn't set records
were the 200 freestyle, 500 free, and the 1,650 free.
While Harris began the domination, seniors Linda
Riker, Rachel Gustin, and Talor Bendel completed it.
The foursome won 10 events; the culmination being
* Women's swimming
statistics i i

1 1 1

the 400 medley relay (3:47.36), where they won the
event by eight seconds and broke the pool record by
five seconds.
"We had probably our best effort of the season,"
Michigan coach Jim Richardson said. "Considering
nearly everyone was ill coming into the meet, we
were merely hoping to compete. But, we had a great
Depth was a big factor for the Wolverines.
Although several of the star swimmers struggled,
freshmen like Jennifer Crisman and Stephanie
Armstrong stepped in and contributed.
This could be an indication of the quality of this
season's Michigan team.
Seriously weakened due to the flu, the Wolverines
were able to overcome the illnesses and swim with
"There was so much spirit," Harris said. "I think
that was one of the things that was definitely pushing
me during the race. We knew we could struggle, but
we came out with a winners' mentality."
That winners' mentality is what has allowed Harris
to already make her mark on the Michigan team.
"I think she ranks up there with some of the very
best swimmers we've had come to the program,"
Richardson said.
All season long, Harris had been very close to
qualifying for the NCAAs.

Her drive for succe ;s is what appears to have pro-
pelled her toward her ;goal.
"I really wanted to ;et the automatic (bid)," Harris
said. "I came into this meet determined to get it, and
I did. Between now aid then, I'd really like to lower
my time a lot more."
It i every swimme r's dream to qualify and swim
in the Olympic Games.
Michigan has two fbrmer swimmers and one cur-
rent, Shannon Shakespeare, who have reached that
ultimate goal. Perhaps Harris will be the next to join
those ranks.
"She definitely ha:. the potential to get there,"
Richardson said. "She's already on the U.S. Sydney
2000 team, which is t group of kids tracked by the
U.S. Swimming organization to make the Olympic
But for Hearris, the rost important thing that is her
motivation is her love of the sport.
"I'm not only swimiming just to get there," Harris
said. "I just want to keep swimming and just enjoy it.
As long as it's fun, I'll keep going."
The Wolverines are: next headed to Hawaii where
they will have an intensive three-week training peri-
During this time, the other swimmers who are very
close to qualifying fo r the NCAAs, will try to shave
the remaining few seconds off their times.

,.. -----

Michigan set pool and meet
records in all but three events in
South Bend over the weekend.
.3 This occurred while more than
half of the team was suffering
! from various illnesses.
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