Michigan eyes first title since 1995, leads NCAA championship after two days
INDIANAPOLIS -- A national championship and record-setting performance by the 200-yard medley relay team helped keep the No. 1-ranked Michigan team in first place after Day 2 of the NCAA championships on Friday at IU Natatorium. The Wolverines have 336 points after two days, leading second-place California by 34.5 points (301.5) heading into tomorrow's final day.
The Wolverines rewrote the record books early, shattering four records in the 200-yard medley relay. The quartet of Miguel Ortiz, Bruno Ortiz, Sean Fletcher and Zachary Turk set NCAA, U.S. Open, NCAA championships and school records, finishing first at 1:22.27. U-M was in command from right off the starting blocks and never seriously threatened, winning the race by nine tenths-of-a-second over second-place California (1:23.17). The splits for each of the four swimmers were extremely fast, including 20.83 from M. Ortiz (backstroke), 23.07 from B. Ortiz (breaststroke), 19.92 from Fletcher (butterfly) and 18.45 from Turk (freestyle).
The Wolverines received points from two swimmers in the 400-yard IM, including Dylan Bosch. Bosch snuck into the final by virtue of finishing eighth in the preliminaries, but moved up one spot in the finals, finishing seventh (3:42.95). Michigan also picked up points in the consolation final from Kyle Whitaker, who won the heat, officially finishing ninth (3:43.15).
Just 30 minutes after their win in the 200-yard medley relay, M. Ortiz and Fletcher were back in the water for the finals of the 100-yard butterfly. Fletcher took seventh in preliminaries, but moved up four spots to finish third (45.54), which is a new career-best time and also a time that's second-fastest in school history. Ortiz had a big time drop from his seed time (46.79), swimming fast in the preliminaries (45.69 -- a new career high by over a full second) and eventually finishing fourth in the finals (45.79). Both men pulled double duty on Saturday night, also swimming in the 100-yard backstroke. Ortiz took fourth (45.49), while Fletcher finished 18th (46.75).
Michigan had seven entries in the 200-yard freestyle and got two of them back for the 'A' final. Junior Michael Wynalda took fifth (1:33.38 -- a new career-best time), while junior Connor Jaeger (Fair Haven, N.J./Rumson-Fair Haven) finished eighth (1:33.85).
Richard Funk led Michigan in the 100-yard breaststroke, taking third (51.84), re-establishing his previously-held school record (went 51.91 at 2013 Big Ten Championships). B. Ortiz swam in the 'B' final, taking 16th (55.15).
The Wolverines wrapped up the evening with a second-place finish in the 800-yard freestyle relay (6:15.54). The quartet of Wynalda, Jaeger, Anders Lie Nielsen and Hassaan Abdel Khalik each picked up NCAA All-America honors in the race. Florida won at 6:13.27
Michigan looks to wrap up its 12th national championship Saturday during the final day of the NCAA championships. The events that will be contested include the 1,650-yard freestyle, 200-yard backstroke, 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard breaststroke, 200-yard butterfly, platform diving and the 400-yard freestyle relay.