Coben, Vanderkaay Victorious on Day One of Big Tens

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- On a day in which five meet records fell, the No. 10 University of Michigan men's swimming and diving team completed the first day of action at the Big Ten Conference Championships in second place, as the Wolverines scored 187 points Thursday (Feb. 26) in the Boilermaker Aquatic Center. Minnesota is the day-one leader as the Golden Gophers finished with 210.5 points through six events.


Vanderkaay (right), Ketchum (center) and Hurd finished 1-2-3 in the 500 free.

Pacing the efforts for the Maize and Blue were sophomore Peter Vanderkaay (Rochester, Mich./Adams HS) and senior Jason Coben (Newtown Square, Pa./Marple Newtown HS), as each Wolverine set a Big Ten meet record in his event victory. Vanderkaay successfully defended his Big Ten crown in the 500-yard freestyle with a Big Ten meet-record time of 4:15.02, while Coben earned his first-ever championship on the one-meter springboard with a meet-record score of 373.85.

In one of their signature events -- the 500-yard freestyle -- the Wolverines totaled 81 points as they finished 1-2-3-7-9-14-15. Vanderkaay's victory marked the eighth straight time a Michigan swimmer has won the event. Dating back to 1993, U-M has won the race 11 of 12 years.

Taking the top three spots in the 500-yard freestyle, the Wolverines jumped out to a team total of 105 points, 48 points ahead of their nearest competition, the Golden Gophers, who had 57 after two scored events. Leading way was Vanderkaay, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year at last year's meet, who set a new Big Ten meet record with his NCAA automatic qualifying time of 4:15.02.

Vanderkaay, swimming in lane six, swam nearly the entire race by himself as he was 10 meters ahead of the field from the 150-yard mark on. In the two lanes to his right fellow Wolverines Dan Ketchum (Cincinnati, Ohio/Sycamore HS) and Andrew Hurd (Oakville, Ontario/Oakville Trafalger HS) paced one another the entire way through and battled down the stretch for second and third. Ketchum won the two-man Michigan competition as he out-touched Hurd 4:20.38 to 4:20.42. Sophomore Jorge Carral (Mexico City, Mexico/The Bolles School, Fla.) earned his first career points at a Big Ten meet when he placed eighth in the event with a time of 4:26.70.

In the consolation final of the 500-yard freestyle, junior Zayd Ma (Ann Arbor, Mich./Clonlara HS) pulled out a narrow win for the Wolverines, touching the wall in a personal-best time of 4:27.11. The ninth-place finish is Ma's highest career finish in the race as his previous best finish was 23rd at the 2003 Big Ten meet. Also earning points in the 500-yard race were senior Tim Wera (Villa Hills, Ky./Beechwood HS) and junior Nicholas Douville (Dayton, Ohio/Archbishop Alter HS). Wera placed 14th in 4:29.70, while Douville followed quickly behind in 15th with a mark of 4:30.64.

Coben, the two-time defending Big Ten champion on the platform, stepped up for the Wolverines with the board a little closer to the water and earned his first career Big Ten crown on the one-meter springboard with a Big Ten meet-record performance of 373.85 in a six-dive total. Though a league meet record, the score is not a personal best, as he set the Big Ten Conference record in the event in his last outing with a score of 379.35 in a dual meet victory over Michigan State (Feb. 6).

Michigan needed Coben's Big Ten title performance, following Minnesota's 77.5-point showing in the 50-yard freestyle to pull ahead of U-M by a score of 167.5-133.

Also scoring points for U-M were sophomores Chris DeJong (Holland, Mich./Holland HS) and Davis Tarwater (Knoxville, Tenn./Webb School) and junior Chuck Sayao (Mississauga, Ontario/Cawthra Park HS), who finished 5-8-14 in the 200-yard individual medley. Competing in the event for the first time at the Big Ten meet, DeJong posted an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 1:46.41 for fifth place in the event.

In relay action the Wolverines nearly set a school record in the 400-yard medley relay, as the foursome of DeJong, Christian Vanderkaay (Rochester, Mich./Adams HS), Tarwater and Ketchum clocked in with an NCAA automatic qualifying mark of 3:11.82 for second place in the race. The time was just 0.31 seconds shy of the U-M mark of 3:11.51 set in 1993.

U-M opened the meet with a sixth-place showing in the 200-yard freestyle relay as the foursome of DeJong, Vanderkaay, Hurd and Ketchum clocked in at 1:20.95.

The Wolverines continue their campaign to defend their Big Ten team title when they return to action Friday afternoon for the preliminaries of day two action in the Boilermaker Aquatic Center. The preliminary session gets under at noon, while the finals begin at 7 p.m.

Team Standings (After Day 1)

 1. Minnesota 210.5 2. MICHIGAN 187 3. Northwestern 150 4. Indiana 132.5 5. Wisconsin 109.5 6. Penn State 100.5 7. Purdue 85 8. Ohio State 71 9. Iowa 59 10. Michigan State 51

Event Winners/U-M Finishes (Day 1)
(Preliminary time in parentheses if faster than finals time)

200-yard Freestyle Relay

 1. Minnesota 1:18.28*$% (Terry Silkaitis, Neil Osten Ales Volcansek, Igor Cernsek) 6. Michigan 1:20.95 (Chris DeJong, Peter Vanderkaay Andrew Hurd, Dan Ketchum) 

500-yard Freestyle

 1. Peter Vanderkaay, U-M 4:15.06*!% 2. Dan Ketchum, U-M 4:20.38# 3. Andrew Hurd, U-M 4:20.42# (4:19.58*) 7. Jorge Carral, U-M 4:26.70# (4:26.02#) 9. Zayd Ma, U-M 4:27.11# 14. Tim Wera, U-M 4:29.70 (4:29.33) 15. Nicholas Douville, U-M 4:30.64 (4:29.36) 26. Winston Chico, U-M 4:32.83 37. Brendan Neligan, U-M 4:36.28

200-yard Individual Medley

 1. Louis Paul, Purdue 1:45.56*%! 5. Chris DeJong, U-M 1:46.14* 8. Davis Tarwater, U-M 1:48.16# (1:48.06#) 14. Chuck Sayao, U-M 1:49.49 (1:49.37#) 18. Christian Vanderkaay, U-M 1:49.99 19. Jim Kibbe, U-M 1:50.31

50-yard Freestyle

 1. Matt Grevers, Northwestern 19.58* (19.44*%!) 48. Michael Galindo, U-M 21.21 52. Mike Porth, U-M 21.29 60. Andrew Hack, U-M 21.49

One-meter Diving

 1. Jason Coben, U-M 373.85^%! 19. Jake Boehm, U-M 228.45 21. Jon Donadee, U-M 221.30 25. Dusty Garwood, U-M 189.10 26. Pat Noyes, U-M 171.35

400-yard Medley Relay

 1. Northwestern 3:10.55*! (Matt Grevers, Mike Alexandrov, Mark Hamming, Tony Swanson) 2. Michigan 3:11.82* (Chris DeJong, Christian Vanderkaay, Davis Tarwater, Dan Ketchum) * NCAA automatic time # NCAA consideration time ^ NCAA zone diving qualifying mark $ Big Ten Conference record % Big Ten meet record ! Boilermaker Aquatic Center record


Peter Vanderkaay's victory in the 500-yard freestyle marks the eighth consecutive year a Michigan swimmer has claimed the event title. Vanderkaay has actually won the event the last two years as he claimed the top spot last year in Ann Arbor. Dating back to 1993, U-M has won the race 11 of 12 years. Minnesota's Bernie Zeruhn won the title in 1996.

Peter Vanderkaay's time of 4:15.02 not only earned him an automatic berth into the NCAA Championships, it also broke the Big Ten Conference meet record previously held by fellow Wolverine John Piersma (1994-97), who posted a time of 4:15.55 in 1995.

Peter Vanderkaay's clocking of 4:15.02 moves him into fourth place on Michigan's all-time top performers list for the 500-yard freestyle. Prior to his event victory time, Vanderkaay held the fifth place spot with a time of 4:15.69. Vanderkaay jumped Marcel Wouda's time of 4:15.55 set in 1993.

Jason Coben set a Big Ten meet record on the one-meter springboard as he marked a winning score of 373.5. Coben six-dive championship total eclipsed Tom Davidson's (Indiana) 2001 total of 369.60. In Coben's last efforts on the one-meter board, he set the Big Ten Conference record when he marked a total of 379.35 in a dual meet victory over Michigan State (Feb. 6).

Michigan nearly set a school record in the 400-yard medley relay as the foursome of Chris DeJong, Christian Vanderkaay, Davis Tarwater and Dan Ketchum clocked in with an NCAA automatic qualifying mark of 3:11.82. The time was just 0.31 seconds shy of the school mark set in 1993 when Royce Sharp (1993-95), Eric Wunderlich (1989-93), Thomas Hay (1990-94) and Gustavo Borges (1992-95) touched the wall in 3:11.51.

Following a one-year hiatus from the 500-yard freestyle Dan Ketchum returned to the event and earned a runner-up showing. As a sophomore in 2002 Ketchum won the event, en route to being named the Big Ten Swimmer of the Meet.

After day one of last year's meet the Wolverines were second with 200 points, trailing first-day leader Minnesota (206) by six points.

Contact: Gene Skidmore (734) 763-4423