Wolverines Take First in Both Day-One Relays at Big Tens
800-yard freestyle relay with Coach Josh White

Feb. 27, 2013

Photo Gallery  | Championships Central
• Postmeet Video (YouTube): 800 Freestyle Relay | Coach Bottom

Site: Bloomington, Ind. (Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center)
Event: Big Ten Championships (Day 1 of 4)
U-M Team Standing: 1st of 10 Teams (80 points) after Day 1
Next U-M Event: Thursday, Feb. 28 -- at Big Ten Championships - Day 2 (Bloomington, Ind.), 11 a.m./6:30 p.m.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The No. 3-ranked University of Michigan men's swimming and diving team sits in first place after the first day at the 2013 Big Ten Championships on Wednesday (Feb. 27) following record-setting wins in the 200-yard medley relay and 800-yard freestyle relay inside the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center.

The Wolverines set new pool, Big Ten, Big Ten Championships and school records in both races, beginning with the 200-yard medley relay. In addition to both times being NCAA 'A' cuts, U-M is now has the No. 1 time in the nation in both races.

The 200-yard medley relay was the first of two races on Wednesday. The quartet of senior Miguel Ortiz (Tokyo, Japan/St. Mary's International), sophomore Bruno Ortiz (Tokyo, Japan/St. Mary's International), senior Sean Fletcher (Vienna, Va./James Madison) and graduate student Zachary Turk (Akron, Ohio/St. Edwards), who established the school record not even two weeks ago, finished first at 1:23.25. They were third following the first leg (backstroke), but B. Ortiz put them in front for good in the second leg (breaststroke), swimming an extremely fast 23.23 split.

The men of the 800-yard freestyle relay led wire to wire, with the foursome of freshman Anders Lie Nielsen (Vanloese, Denmark), junior Michael Wynalda (Wyoming, Mich./Grandville), junior Connor Jaeger (Fair Haven, N.J./Rumson-Fair Haven) and junior Kyle Whitaker (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton) touching the wall first at 6:13.70. The Wolverines opened their lead during the second leg after a 200-yard split of 1:32.30 from Wynalda. Lie Nielsen set a Big Ten Championships record, too, setting the meet record in the 200-yard freestyle (1:33.77), based on his leadoff leg on the relay.

The Big Ten Championships enter its second day tomorrow (Thursday, Feb. 28) with five more events: the 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard IM, 50-yard freestyle, one-meter diving and the 400-yard medley relay. Preliminaries will begin at 11 a.m., with event finals at 6:30 p.m.

Team Standings (After Day 1)

 1. Michigan           80
 2. Indiana            66
    Ohio State         66
 4. Minnesota          54
    Iowa               54
 6. Penn State         52
 7. Wisconsin          48
 8. Purdue             40
 9. Northwestern       38
    Michigan State     38

Event Winners/U-M Finishers (Day 1)

200-yard Medley Relay
1. MICHIGAN              1:23.25*%@+~
  (Miguel Ortiz, Bruno Ortiz,
   Sean Fletcher, Zachary Turk)
800-yard Freestyle Relay
1. MICHIGAN              6:13.70*%@+~
  (Anders Lie Nielsen, Michael Wynalda,
   Connor Jaeger, Kyle Whitaker)
* NCAA automatic qualifying time
% Pool record
@ University of Michigan record
+ Big Ten Championships record
~ Big Ten Conference record


Zachary Turk (200-yard medley relay) and Anders Lie Nielsen (800-yard freestyle relay) picked up their first career Big Ten titles on Wednesday.

• The 200-yard medley relay team beat second-place Ohio State by a full second and a half (1:23.25 to 1:24.79). The 800-yard freestyle relay beat second-place Indiana by close to six seconds (6:13.70 to 6:19.68).

• In the 200-yard medley relay, the previous school record was set Feb. 16 at the Michigan First Chance Meet (1:24.69). The previous pool record was 1:25.73, set by Indiana in 2006. The previous Big Ten and Big Ten Championships record was 1:24.41, set by Minnesota in 2009. Michigan swam 1:23.25 on Wednesday, besting all those records by over a second.

• In the 800-yard freestyle relay, the previous school, Big Ten and Big Ten Championships record was set by Tyler Clary, Andre Schultz, Charlie Houchin and Dan Madwed in 2010 (6:15.80). The pool record was 6:22.73, set by Michigan back in 2006.

• U-M's time of 1:23.25 in the 200-yard medley relay would have won at the NCAA Championships last season. Arizona won the race last year (1:23.53).

• The previous meet record in the 200-yard freestyle was 1:33.90, held by Dan Madwed in 2009.


Michigan Head Swimming Coach Mike Bottom
On the first day's performance ... "These guys put it together as a team, and that's what we've been preaching all year long. It's about the team. They got up there and no name was mentioned. It was all 'Go Blue.' Guys swim fast when they understand who they are swimming for."

On Bruno Ortiz ... "Bruno came up to me after his race, and I told him his split. He goes, 'I could be faster,' without even a smile on his face. That's the best thing about these guys. They want to put out the best they have for Michigan, and they're doing it. They know what they do right, and they're getting better. We'll continue to get better throughout this meet."

On Michael Wynalda and the 800-yard freestyle relay ... "I don't think there's ever been a leg that fast. I don't know of any. That was the team. Anders [Lie Nielsen] led us off, and he's doing a great job. He's understanding what it's like to be here. We anchored with Kyle Whitaker. He did a great job, too. Then you throw your Olympian in the middle there somewhere. A great performance."

On previewing Thursday ... "Tomorrow morning, we'll know whether we'll win this meet or not. Indiana had great performances tonight. They're going to get a lot of diving points at this meet. We know that. They have nine divers that count as a half-a-swimmer. They're going to get a lot of points there. We are in a battle. It looks like we're swimming well, and we are. So are they. If we are qualifying guys in the morning heats, we'll be in good shape."

U-M Junior Michael Wynalda
On his second-leg relay split ... "The last 50 yards, I was hurting but having the team behind you definitely gets you going. I can't even describe how that felt. It hurt but doing it for the team and knowing they're behind you always feels good."

On if the relay accomplished their goals ... "Yeah, I think so. Personally, I just wanted to go faster than last year. I was 1:33.0 in the relay last season, second behind Dan Madwed, so that was an improvement. We're getting into the mindset with NCAAs coming up soon and with us shooting for the top spot, we've got to step up."

Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423