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March 15, 2007 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-03-15

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8A - Thursday, March 15, 2007


The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

8A - Thursday, March 15, 2007 I. The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom E

' 'pursues ersonal gals

Blue hopes to save
season at NCAAs


Daily Sports Writer
It was 4:52 p.m. as the Michigan
swimmers left the pool deck in
Ann Arbor for the final time this
Today, they hope to be walk-
ing away from a different pool as
winners - or at least faster swim-
Both Michigan coach Bob Bow-
manand his team maintainthey're
not looking for a specific team fin-
ish at the NCAA Championships,
which run today through Satur-
day. Instead, the Wolverines are
focused on continuing to improve
personal-best times.
But swimming in the home
pool of the team which prevented
Michigan from earning its first
Big Ten championship in four
years will surely motivate the
12th-ranked Wolverines to out-
swim their competition. With
a high finish this weekend, the

underclassman-dominated team
can solidify its status as a serious
national championship contender
for the future.
Last year, led by then-seniors
Davis Tarwater and Peter
Vanderkaay's NCAA titles, Michi-
gan scored 209 points to finish in
eighth place as the highest-scor-
ing Big Ten team.
With 12 invited athletes this
season, Michigan is sending one
of the largest contingents to the
meet, outnumbered or equaled
by just six schools. Of those six,
two defeated Michigan during
the regular season - Florida and
California - and one, Minnesota,
is the new Big Ten champion after
last month's four-point conference
meet victory.
"I'm pleasantly surprised at the
number (of invited Michigan ath-
letes)," Bowman said. "When you
lose the major performers like we
did last year, to be able to come
back with such a big squad, that

speaks a lot for us. I think that of
the 12, only two swam in the meet
last year. If you look at the ages
of the people who are swimming,
we have by far the youngest team
The Wolverines will send four
freshmen, six sophomores and two
juniors to this weekend's meet.
Freshman Chris Brady swam an
automatic qualifying time in the
100-yard butterfly at the Big Ten
meet to guarantee his first NCAA
appearance and said that his cur-
rent times have surpassed his pre-
season expectations.
"I was definitely hoping for a
relay and, maybe, an individual
event," Brady said of his NCAA
potential as a freshman. "But to
get the automatic cut, I had to
drop almost two seconds from my
best time. I did, and I'm just happy
to be going."
Junior Alex Vanderkaayis seed-
ed first in both the 400-yard indi-
vidual medley and the 200-yard

butterfly, while sophomore Matt
Patton is seeded fifth in the 500-
yard freestyle and 1,650-yard free-
style. The 800-yard freestyle relay
of sophomore Bobby Savulich,
Patton, sophomore Sal Barba and
Vanderkaay is also seeded fifth.
With solid times in the pre-
liminaries and appearances in the
NCAA finals, Michigan's swim-
mers could have the opportunity
to equal or better last year's finish
- an exciting situation, since all
of Michigan's NCAA swimmers
will stillbe wearing the maize and
blue next season.
"To be anywhere near what we
got last year at NCAAs, points-
wise, with (athletes who are) half
as young, would be awesome," said
sophomore Curtis Dauw, who will
compete in three individual events
this weekend. "That's really a tes-
tament to where we're going with
our depth and our youth. Every-
thing's really going in the right

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Daily Sports Writer
If you're a fan of consistency,
then the Michigan wrestling
squad is the team for you.
The Wolverines consistently
lost their dual meets this sea-
son, posting just two victories.
An eighth-place finish at the Big
Ten Championships followed up
Michigan's 10 losses this season.
But even if you're a fan of con-
sistency, it may be too late to start
following the team. The NCAA
Championships are the lone event
left on No. 23 Michigan's sched-
And that's not all.
"We're going to finish top-five
(at Nationals)," fifth-year senior
Nick Roy said.
"The only reason we didn't do
well (atBigTens)wasbecause alot
of teams were really well-rounded
and every one of their wrestlers
scored points," Roy said. "Not
every one of our wrestlers scored
points, which was our downfall."
Michigan finished 11.5 points
behind third-place Iowa.
Going into the last weekend of
the season, the Wolverines finally
have a chance to prove they're
better than their record. Michi-
gan has wrestlers qualified in five
of the 10 weight classes, four of
whom are seeded in the top four.
With a bigger playing field, the
From page 5A
It provided fans and team-
mates a glimpse into the future of
Michigan basketball. Whether that
future includes Amaker is any-
From page 5A
kept to his humble ways when
asked about an intended spending
spree after signingwith a team.
"I'll put it all in the bank and take
car orsomething.Nothingbig."
Harris'schoice of transportation
From page 5A
with fellow sophomore and New
Jersey native Joe Catrambone.
The two went on recruitingtrips to
several of the same schools, com-
paring experiences. Michigan was
the only trip they went on together
- and the only school where they
found no negatives.
"We knew we wanted to end
up at the same school together,
which was kind of easy because we
are the same year, from the same
place," Catrambone said. "We love
the (Michigan) campus. (The gym-
nasts) made us feel like we were
already a part of the team when we
got here, as opposed to the other
But despite being with his good
friend, as well as Cherry Hill, N.
J., native Elkind, Rosso still had a
difficult transition to make in his
freshmanyear. Like mostcollegiate
gymnasts,he wastheunquestioned
top dog at his home gym, the one

Wolverines benefit tremendously.
The squads with the most top-
ranked wrestlers do the best in
such large tournaments.
And not many other teams
are as top-heavy talent wise as
the Wolverines. It was just a
lack of depth that hindered them
throughout the season.
"At Nationals, we have four
guys ranked in the top-four,"
Roy said. "Those are huge points.
Those are ridiculously huge
points. If we have four guys finish
in the top four and if I (get) All-
America (honors), we're definitely
going to finish in the top-three.
That just doesn't happen with a
lot of teams."
Co-captain Eric Tannenbaum,
who suffered his first loss of the
season in the Big Ten Champion-
ship, knows the key to finishing
the season well is relaxation. You
can't get caught up in the hoopla
of the tournament.
"The entire tournament is just
unbelievably mentally draining,"
Tannenbaum said. "I just try to
stay out of watching other peoples
matches until the tournament
is really over, until after my last
match. It's a long tournament."
But the Wolverines have at
least one thing to help them
relax - they are finally compet-
ing in a format conducive to their
or at least in the one place they
haven't disappointed this year.
body's guess.
"I've never really had a coach be
fired," Sims said. "We aren't wor-
ried about that because he's not.
We're just going to do what we can
do to prove to everybody that he's a
good coach.... We're going to pull it
out for him."
may not mirror the way he plays the
game, but it does his demeanor.
Harris returned to Grand Rapids to
relax with his family and friends.
He said it was a chance to get some
of mom's home cooking and take his
mind off of football for awhile.
But as much as Harris enjoys
time back at home, he might have
to cancel any family time sched-
uled for Sundays.
guy everyone else wanted to be. In
college, with so few men's gymnas-
tics programs, each team is packed
with such top-caliber competitors.
Now in his second year, Rosso
has it all figured out. The team is
everything, with any individual
accolades coming in a distant sec-
ond. His quiet confidence is appar-
ent with every set, and outside the
gym he provides a calm, supportive
presence for his teammates.
"He used to just float by on his
clean routines," Elkind said. "Now
he's got some big skills and big
strength skills in each set, and he
does them real well."
Like his teammates, Rosso has
also bottled up the terrible feeling
of missing NCAA team finals last
year, dedicating himself to making
this season different.
"(Last year) was pretty motivat-
ing because you get this feeling in
your stomach, where you're like, 'I
never want this to happen again,'
" Rosso said. "It makes you work
that much harder to make sure it

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