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March 09, 1998 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-03-09

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The Michigan Daily - SP0RTSMonday, March 9, 1998 - 78

grab awards,
Jut no title
By Jacob R. Wheeler
Vaily Sports Writer
If the Michigan men's swimming team found any
solace in its 714-641 loss to underdog Minnesota
last week at the Big Ten Championships in
Minneapolis, it was in the seven individual titles the
Wolverines won.
Michigan's domination at the top of most races
was no different than the past 11 championships.
Nr different Wolverines - Derya Buyukuncu,
on Malchow, Andy Potts and Chris Thompson -
look home individual titles, most of them in distance
Wolverines dominated the season-achievement
ceremonies as well. Malchow, a junior, won swim-
rner of the year honors and Thompson was named
freshman of the year over Gopher phenom Alex
Besides taking the big cake, Minnesota coach
ennis Dale garnered coach of the year honors for
e third time in his career. The championship was
Dale's second over Michigan in three years. It was
.extra sweet for Dale because the Gophers finished
second behind the Wolverines every year from 1990-
1995 and again last year.
Except for the championship trophy, Michigan
nearly monopolized the awards table. Buyukuncu, in
particular, was in a zone all weekend. Competing in
his last Big Ten Championships, the senior won
three different races and each performance earned
him an NCAA automatic qualifying time.
During the second day of competition, Buyukuncu
broke the Big Ten record in the 100-yard backstroke
and also won the 100 butterfly. He solidified swim-
mer of the championships honors on the last day,
with another record-breaking performance in the
200 back.

Despite Junior Tom Malchow's victory in the 200 butterfly, Minnesota's depth proved to be the de
at the Big Ten Championships and the Golden Gophers broke through Michigan's numerous individ

Buyukuncu's wins were especially significant
because no other Wolverines placed very high in
those events. Instead, Minnesota sent numerous
swimmers to the 100 and 200 backstroke finals and
the Gophers won most of those points.
"I just wanted to win to break up their four swim-
mers' Buyukuncu said after the 100 back. "I got
Ultimately, Minnesota's depth in numbers doomed
the Wolverines, who were able to win certain events
but couldn't place anyone else in the top six.
The 200 fly on Feb. 28 was a classic example.
Michigan's Malchow won the race with an NCAA
automatic qualifying time of 1:46.36, But the next
Wolverine to finish was Chris Laskowski - two
seconds and eight places behind Malchow.
In contrast, the Gophers made the difference in the
preliminaries, placing four swimmers in the 200 fly

finals and three in the 100 freestyle finals.
All in all, Minnesota qualified II swimmers for
the final heats on the last day and Michigan only
managed nine.
"The meet was won in the preliminaries,"
Malchow said. "It wasn't won in the finals.
Minnesota had more people going in and they just
picked us apart with numbers. They were deeper,
they were winning the eighth places and we
But that won't be a factor at the NCAA
Championships. The season's climax is based solely
on performances at the top with little emphasis on
"We know we're better than them," Malchow said.
"Everybody knows we're better than them. They
know we're better than them. We'll prove that at the
NCAA championships."

Continued from Page 11B
the Championships honors for his victo-
ries in the 100 fly, and 100 and 200 back-
strokes. But no Big Ten title.
Urbanchek said his team would trade
all the individual honors for the trophy
the Gophers lifted above their heads.
Michigan qualified 11 swimmers for
NCAAs, more than at last season's
championships. But last year, Michigan
won the Big Ten title.
Just one Minnesota swimmer finished
first in any race this year, but the
Gophers flock of high-placing finishes
helped them pull away from the pack.
Relay scores counted double last
week. Michigan's only weakness might
have been in the relay events.
Michigan's tradition of success in the
800 free relay continued. Mike McWha,
Ryan Papa, John Reich and Malchow
saw to that with their time of 6:30.79.
But in the other relays, Michigan sput-
tered. The 400 freestyle relay finished

seventh and the 200 finished sixth.
Thirty maize and blue banners signi-
fying the Wolverines' 30 Big Ten cham-
pionships hang on the walls of Canham
But now, Minnesota has taken two of
the last three titles, leaving Michigan's
dynasty in some doubt.
"I think that they're closing the gap on
us each year," Urbanchek said.
Michigan tends to recruit more indi-
vidual stars, Urbanchek said.
"Minnesota does a better job of bringing
in the average swimmers ... a few stars
can't win it for you."
Michigan assistant coach Eric
Namesnik remembers the days when
everyone could say at the beginning of
the year they came to be Big Ten cham-
"We're not in a position to say that
anymore," he said. But is this the end of
an era of Michigan swimming?
"No," Malchow said. "Next year will
be the beginning of a new legacy for

Gelt lak1st comiplete
kr.'. the 'or l t e w l

Andy Potts and the men's swimming team may not have won their 12th Big Ten
Championship in 13 years, last week in Minneapolis. But the Wolverines think
ey'll fare much better in the individual-oriented NCAA Championships.


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- 40

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