Week #9: Wolverines Ready for NCAA Championships

March 20, 2017

» After finishing 12th last season, Michigan looks to get back in the top 10 at the NCAA Championships, sending eight individual qualifiers and five relays to Indianapolis.
» Among the eight qualifiers are four freshmen: Felix Auböck (the No. 1 seed in both the 500- and 1,650-yard freestyles), Jacob Montague, Charlie Swanson and Miles Smachlo. The last time Michigan sent four-or-more freshmen to the NCAA Championships was 2015 (five).
» The Wolverines have crowned a national champion (individual or relay) in 23 of the last 29 NCAA Championships.

Wed-Sat., March 22-25 -- at NCAA Championships (Indianapolis, Ind.), 10 a.m./6 p.m.
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Twelve members of the University of Michigan men's swimming and diving team will end their seasons at the 2017 NCAA Championships, held Wednesday through Saturday (March 22-25) at IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis, Ind. The meet begins with the 800-yard freestyle relay at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, with the following three days seeing preliminaries begin at 10 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m.

The roster is comprised of eight individual qualifiers: senior Chris Klein; juniors Paul Powers, PJ Ransford and Evan White; and freshmen Felix Auböck, Jacob Montague, Miles Smachlo and Charlie Swanson. In addition, four swimmers -- Mokhtar Al-Yamani, James Jones, Jack Mangan and Tristan Sanders -- will travel as relay-only participants.

The NCAA and the Indiana Sports Corporation will live stream every session except for the finals sessions on Friday and Saturday, as those will be shown live via ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. ESPNU will air a tape-delayed version of the meet on Wednesday, April 5, at 5 p.m. ET.

Wednesday, March 22
800-yard Freestyle Relay

Thursday, March 23
200-yard Freestyle Relay
500-yard Freestyle -- Felix Auböck, PJ Ransford
200-yard IM -- Evan White, Jacob Montague, Chris Klein
50-yard Freestyle -- Paul Powers
400-yard Medley Relay

Friday, March 24
400-yard IM -- Charlie Swanson
100-yard Butterfly -- Evan White
200-yard Freestyle -- Felix Auböck
100-yard Breaststroke -- Jacob Montague, Chris Klein
200-yard Medley Relay

Saturday, March 25
1,650-yard Freestyle -- Felix Auböck, PJ Ransford
100-yard Freestyle -- Paul Powers
200-yard Breaststroke -- Chris Klein, Jacob Montague
200-yard Butterfly -- Miles Smachlo
400-yard Freestyle Relay

The top eight times (places 1-8) in each preliminary race, including relays, will advance to the evening's finals and earn NCAA All-America (the only exception is the 1,650-yard freestyle, which is a timed final). The next eight times (places 9-16) will swim in the 'B' final and earn NCAA All-America honorable mention. The top 16 finishers will score points for their team.

HISTORY: U-M has won 12 NCAA championships (1937-41, 1948, 1957-59, 1961, 1995, 2013) -- tying them Texas for the most of any collegiate swimming and diving program. The Wolverines won an additional seven before the NCAA officially sanctioned the sport in 1937 (1927-28, 1931-32, 1934-36). Michigan is also the only program in the country to win national titles under four different head coaches -- Mike Bottom, Matt Mann, Jon Urbanchek and Gus Stager.

CHAMPIONS: In its history, 108 U-M athletes have accounted for 165 national individual, diving or relay championships. Michigan has crowned at least one national champion in 23 of the last 29 NCAA Championships (none in 1998, 2002, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016).

LOCATION: Michigan's last two national team championships came at IUPUI Natatorium (2013, 1995).

BEST EVENTS: The program's best event at the NCAA Championships has been the 100-yard freestyle, where 10 U-M swimmers have won a total of 16 national titles. The Wolverines have had at least one individual national champion in every race but three: 100-yard backstroke, 100-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard IM. Michigan's most successful relay team has been the 400-yard freestyle relay, winning that race 14 times (last in 1959). Prior to the 200-yard medley relay team's win in 2013, the last U-M relay team to win a national championship was the 800-meter freestyle relay team in 2004.

LAST SEASON: The Wolverines finished 12th at last season's meet, held in Atlanta, Ga. Paul Powers, Dylan Bosch, Anders Nielsen and the 200- and 800-yard freestyle relays all claimed NCAA All-America honors.

BIG TEN CHAMPIONS (Feb. 22-25): Three swimmers won titles and all 25 men on the roster scored to lead the Wolverines into a tie for second place (with Ohio State). Felix Auböck swept the 500- and 1,650-yard freestyles and took third in the 200-yard freestyle en route to being named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Charlie Swanson won the 400-yard IM and Paul Powers won his third consecutive title in the 50-yard freestyle.


• Half of Michigan's individual qualifiers (four of eight) are freshmen. The last time the program sent four or more freshmen individual qualifiers to the NCAA Championships was in 2015 (five: Paul Powers, PJ Ransford, Tristan Sanders, Aaron Whitaker, Evan White). That year, Powers and Ransford were NCAA All-Americans in individual events, while Sanders, Whitaker and White were NCAA All-America honorable mentions.

• Freshman Felix Auböck enters the NCAA Championships as the top seed in both the 500-yard freestyle (4:10.63) and 1,650-yard freestyle (14:29.25). He was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year after winning both events and finishing third in the 200-yard freestyle at the Big Ten Championships.

• Last month at the Big Ten Championships, junior Paul Powers became the second man in program history to win three consecutive Big Ten titles in the 50-yard freestyle (other: Merton Church, 1943-45). Powers is also the first Big Ten swimmer to win that event in three consecutive years since Olympian Matt Grevers (Northwestern) did it from 2005-07.

• Junior Evan White is headed to his third NCAA Championships after claiming back-to-back NCAA All-America honorable mentions in the 200-yard butterfly. Though he didn't receive an official berth in that event this year -- he was 30th, one shy of qualification -- he may still have a chance to swim it due to having already qualified in two other events (100-yard butterfly, 200-yard IM) and having an NCAA 'B' cut. White is also aiming to get in a scoring position in the 200-yard IM after finishing one spot short (17th) in each of his first two years.

• Senior Chris Klein is making his return to the NCAA Championships as an individual qualifier after only going on the medley relays last season. Klein, who was 24th in the 200-yard breaststroke and 35th in the 100-yard breaststroke, is seeded 9th and 29th, respectively, this year. He set career bests and finaled in both events (and in the 200-yard IM) at the Big Ten Championships.

• Freshmen Jacob Montague and Charlie Swanson will inject some youth into their respective events at the NCAA Championships. Montague is the highest-seeded freshman in both the 100-yard breaststroke (10th overall) and 200-yard breaststroke (12th), while Swanson is the highest-seeded freshman in the 400-yard IM (eighth). Both men are members of the 2016-17 U.S. Junior National Team.

• Junior PJ Ransford will swim alongside Felix Auböck in the timed final of the 1,650-yard freestyle and will look to duplicate his success as a freshman when he nearly won the event from an outside lane. Ransford goes into the race seeded seventh (of eight). He is on the 2016-17 U.S. National Team after finishing sixth in the 1,500-meter freestyle at U.S. Olympic Trials last June.

Communications Contact: Brad Rudner