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May 30, 2006 - Image 49

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2006-05-30

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The Michigan Daily - Orientation Issue 2006 - 33

'M' Tanker sets
new NCAA mark

By Anne Ulble
Mar. 23, 2006
ATLANTA - There was a momen-
tary silence as the crowd registered
the time that flashed on the score-
hoard: 4:08.60. An instant later,
the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center
erupted for Michigan senior captain
Peter Vanderkaay as he pumped his
fist toward the Wolverine cheering
Not only did he earn his second
consecutive NCAA title in the 500-
yard freestyle, he also broke former
Michigan swimmer Tom Dolan's
11-year-old American and NCAA
record by .15 seconds.
"I looked up, and, first, I had to
double-check in my head that I went
under the record," Vanderkaay said.
"But once I realized that I'd done it,
I was really happy."
From the start of the 20-lap race,
Vanderkaay overpowered the eight-
man field and maintained a half-
body lead, inching farther from
his competition with every stroke.
By the halfway point, Vanderkaay
was the recognized winner and the
only question on people's minds
was: "Could he break the Ameri-
can record?"
"The race felt good," Vanderkaay
said. "I knew I was going fast when
I opened up with a body-length lead.
For the last 100 yards, I could see
my team jumping up and down and
going nuts, so I knew I was either
killing (the record) or I was right
on. I'm still not sure how it ended up
like that, though."
Michigan coach Bob Bow-
man acknowledged that he and
Vanderkaay had been looking at
the record for the past two years,
strategizing about how to break it.

Before last night's race, Bowman
and Vanderkaay had a brief meeting
where all Bowman said was, "You
know what to do."
And Vanderkaay got it done.
"I saw Tom Dolan do that time
in 1995, and I remember thinking,
'Wow, nobody will do that time
again,' " Bowman said. "But I hon-
estly believed it was doable for Peter.
To be a part of that race and keeping
the record in the Michigan family
means a lot. I was thrilled for him."
Adding to the excitement of the.
race, Vanderkaay swam against
his younger brother and teammate,
Alex Vanderkaay, in the same
heat. The sophomore placed sev-
enth in the race (4:17.88), earning
All-American status.
"It was so special that Peter could
do that in front of so many people
and have his brother at his side,"
the Vanderkaays' mother, Robin
Vanderkaay, said.
Immediately after hitting the wall,
Alex jumped out of the pool and
embraced his older brother amid a
crowd of family, teammates, neigh-
bors and friends from high school
and college.
"It meant a lot for me to have
him swimming next to me," Peter
Vanderkaay said.
Michigan also qualified its 400-
yard medley relay squad of senior
Chris DeJong, sophomore Grant
Burtch, senior Davis Tarwater and
Peter Vanderkaay for the consola-
tion heat and earned an 11th-place
finish (3:11.35).
The Wolverines are currently
ranked 12th of the 32 teams com-
peting in the championships this
weekend. Competition continues
tomorrow at 12 p.m. with finals
scheduled for 7 p.m.

Carr must shake thin s
SAN ANTONIO - Orange Bowl also rank among hss carer1'hlghts. It wo dhe
T he image is unforgettable. unfair to say he hasn't earned himself another chance to right the
A long line of hulking football players, dressed in full ship, providing, of course, he doesn't rest on his laurels.
battle gear, slowly filed into the locker room. Jerseys were It's also impossible to deny Carr's prowess on the recruiting
torn and scuffed, helmets scratched. trail. He has amassed a wonderful collection of talent for the
Hordes of media and team personnel hovered in the hallway, program. He's always come across as a kind, funny, stand-up guy.
cluttering thebowels of the Alamodome while snapping photos On a personal level, Michigan couldn't do much better.
and readying digital recorders. Still, there are plenty of reasons to worry. Much has been
But the most striking aspect of the scene made of Carr's 1-4 record against Ohio State with Jim *.
wasn't visual. It was the deafening silence. Tressel onthe Buckeyes' sideline, and for good reason.
As the Wolverines dropped their yellow Michigan has now lost at least three games for six
mouth guards into a bin outside the locker room straight seasons. It won't get any easier next year. The
doorway following Michigan's tremendously Wolverines play Notre Dame, Penn State and Ohio State
disappointing 32-28 loss to Nebraska in the on the road, in addition to tough home contests against
Alamo Bowl, you could've heard apin drop. Wisconsin, Michigan State andlIowa. Fans have every
On Dec. 28, another Michigan season right to be concerned following Carr's worst season yet,
ended in dead quiet. There wasn't anything especially considering the fact that seemingly crucial
to shout about. flaws weren't ironed out over the course of the schedule.
Michigan had a month to prepare for this GABE In the Alamo Bowl, as has been the case all season,"
game against an unranked Co uskers team; EDELSON the defense gave up points when it mattered most. While
the Wolverines were double-digit favorites; defensive coordinator Jim Herrmann - perhaps the
Mike Hart admitted that he felt like he was Honest most-criticized coach in school history - deserves
playing at 100 percent for much of the game; Gabe much of the blame,responsibility ultimately rests with
the Nebraska linebacking corps was decimated Carr.The same goes for therunning game,which failed
by injuries. miserably in San Antonio and repeatedly during the year.
There is no excuse for losing this game. And the blame should But the most frustrating part of the loss to Nebraska was the
fall on one man - Lloyd Carr. inordinate amount of preparation time Carrhad to ready his
Carr has his share of apologists, and even more crit- troops for their lackluster performance. Sure, the officiating was
ics. I probably won't satisfy either of these groups in this horrible. The Sun Belt crew seemed clueless when itcame to
column, and for that I'm sorry. I've chosen to take the less- instant replay and missed plenty of calls, most of which came
traveled middle ground. at Michigan's expense. Yes, the offensive line was missing key
You see, I'm not going to demand that the coach be fired. And components due to injury. But at a certain point, Wolverine play-
I certainly won't defend him, either. But Carr and those inside the ers,coaches and fans have to stop pointing the finger at outsiders
athletic department need to realistically evaluate this program and do some soul-searching of their own. This is a game the Wol-
and the man who runs it. verines should have won.No excuses. Down 7-0 late in the first
The Wolverines seem to play afraid. Afraid of making mis- quarter? Tied at 14 at halftime? Michigan looked like a team that
takes, afraid of failure, afraid of losing to teams that aren't nearly either (a) wasn't ready or (b) didn't respect its opponent.
as talented. In reality, playing loose would do far more to prevent Perhaps it wasn't all that surprising. Not a single persons-
outcomes such as the one a week ago. The coach has the single I talked to before the game predicted Michigan to cover the
biggest influence on the attitude of his team. When Michigan's spread. But shouldn't this program be in a position where it
coach gets tense or angry on the sideline, his players inevitably at least seems possible?
do the same. For that reason,Carrmight want to consider shak- No, I won't call for Carr's head. But takea look at what
ing things up. Whether that means evaluating the entire coaching Miami coach Larry Coker did after his Hurricanes lost an
staff with a more critical eye, becoming less predictable on the embarrassing 40-3 decision to Louisiana State in the Peach
field or instilling some swagger, I'm not the one to decide. But Bowl: He fired four long-time assistants with a combined
complacency and inertia are not the answers. 59 years of experience in the program. Even Art Kehoe, the
I will graduate from the University having seen the Wolver- well-respected assistant head coach and offensive line spe-
ines go 1-3 against Ohio State, 1-3 against Notre Dame and 1-3 cialist who served as a member of the Miami coaching staff
in bowl games. If you would've told me that when I enrolled in for five national-championship seasons, was let go.
2002,1 probably would have laughed in your face and told you to Though Coker's actions may seem drastic, they might be just
make sure the word "State" didn't come right after "Michigan" what that program needs to instill the idea that nothing short of
But alas, here we are. perfection is acceptable in Coral Gables.
Don't get me wrong. Carr has led Michigan to great heights It's hard to dispute the popular argument that coaches have '
since taking over for the embattled Gary Moeller in 1995. His come to feel abit too secure at Michigan. Now more than ever,
.750 career winning percentage in Ann Arbor is still impressive. fans are looking for answers and a sense of accountability.
Carr cemented his reputation as aMichigan legend by winning For now, we'll just have to wait and see if a response ever
the 1997 national championship - the Wolverines' first in 50 materializes. It certainly didn't during that silent march to the
years - in just his third season, a feat Bo Schembechler failed locker room in Texas.
to accomplish in 21 years coaching the Maize and Blue. Carr's
back-to-back Rose Bowl trips and solid showing in the 2000 - Edelson can be reached atgedelson@umich.edu.


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