April 18, 2017
Team Captains: Julian Ballestas, Colin Eaton, Jackson Goethe, Chris Klein, Jack Mangan, Luke Papendick, Cameron Stitt, Vinny Tafuto
Record: 5-1 (3-1 in Big Ten)
Big Ten Championships: T-2nd (1,382 points)
NCAA Championships: 17th (82 points)
The University of Michigan men's swimming and diving team completed its 96th year of varsity competition in 2016-17, tying for second at the Big Ten Championships and finishing 17th at the NCAA Championships.
The Wolverines replaced key losses from a year ago with a large and heralded freshman class that made immediate impacts. They lose eight seniors to graduation, but with a roster filled with underclassmen -- 20 of 33 student-athletes were freshmen or sophomores -- the program is in good shape to bounce back next season.
The Wolverines went 5-1 in dual meets, scoring victories over Louisville (Oct. 7-8), Penn State and Virginia (Nov. 4-5), Ohio State (Jan. 27) and Michigan State (Feb. 4). The program's lone loss came on the road to then-No. 5 Indiana on Jan. 13, which snapped its dual-meet win streak at 55.
In an uncommon finish, Michigan tied Ohio State for second at the Big Ten Championships, both teams scoring exactly 1,382 points. Despite the runner-up finish, every member of the team -- swimmers and divers -- scored, setting 47 new personal bests and achieving 69 NCAA cuts. Over the four-day meet, three swimmers combined to win a total of four individual titles (Felix Auböck in the 500-yard freestyle and 1,650-yard freestyle, Paul Powers in the 50-yard freestyle, Charlie Swanson in the 400-yard IM).
Thirteen student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten recognition, which accounts for 65 percent of those eligible on the roster (sophomores, juniors, seniors). Junior PJ Ransford was one of 12 winter honorees in the conference to have maintained a 4.0 cumulative GPA.
Freshman Felix Auböck made quite an impression in his rookie season, becoming the second swimmer in program history to win both Big Ten Swimmer of the Year and Big Ten Freshman of the Year in the same season. He swept the distance races at the Big Ten Championships, winning the 500- and 1,650-yard freestyles, and had top three-finishes in both events one month later at the NCAA Championships. Auböck, a 2016 Olympian for Austria, finished runner-up in the 1,650-yard freestyle at the NCAA Championships, clocking the second-fastest time in history (14:22.88).
Junior Paul Powers proved to be the best sprinter in the Big Ten for the third year in a row, winning his third consecutive Big Ten title in the 50-yard freestyle. He became the second swimmer in the 96-year history of the program to accomplish that feat, joining Merton Church, who did it from 1943-45. Additionally, Powers is the first Big Ten swimmer to win the event in three consecutive years since Olympian Matt Grevers (Northwestern) accomplished the feat from 2005-07. Powers also became the sixth swimmer in U-M history to be an NCAA All-American in the 50-yard freestyle in three consecutive seasons, joining Gustavo Borges (1992-95), Dick Weinberg (1947-49), Church (1943-45), Charley Barker (1939-41) and Walt Tomski (1937-39).
Junior PJ Ransford earned his second career NCAA All-America honor in the 1,650-yard freestyle, finishing sixth. During that swim at the NCAA Championships, he also set the school record in the 1,000-yard freestyle. Ransford also earned the 2017 Elite 90 Award, given annually to the participating student-athlete with the highest grade-point average at each of the NCAA's 90 championships.
The Wolverines saw immediate returns from its 13-person freshman class. Outside of Auböck, several others made an impact in their rookie seasons: Jacob Montague, a native of nearby Grosse Pointe, had three individual top-five finishes at the Big Ten Championships; Charlie Swanson won the Big Ten title in the 400-yard IM; and Miles Smachlo finaled in both the 100- and 200-yard butterfly at the Big Ten Championships. All four swimmers, along with James Jones, swam at the NCAA Championships.
Honors and Awards
Big Ten Awards
Big Ten Swimmer of the Year: Felix Auböck
Big Ten Freshman of the Year: Felix Auböck
All-Big Ten (First Team): Felix Auböck, Paul Powers, Charlie Swanson
All-Big Ten (Second Team: Chris Klein, Jacob Montague, Tristan Sanders, Vinny Tafuto
Big Ten Postgraduate Scholarship: Cameron Stitt
Sportsmanship Honoree: Jackson Goethe
Academic All-Big Ten
Colin Eaton, Sr., Biomolecular Science
Jackson Goethe, Sr., Biopsychology, Cognition & Neuroscience
Chris Klein, Sr., Mechanical Engineering
Blake Maczka, So., Business Administration
Jack Mangan, Sr., Economics
Luke Papendick, Sr., Economics, Spanish
Paul Powers, Jr., Mechanical Engineering
PJ Ransford, Jr., Mechanical Engineering
Tristan Sanders, Jr., Psychology
Ryan Sebastian, Jr., Mechanical Engineering
Cameron Stitt, Sr., Chemical Engineering
Vinny Tafuto, Sr., Sport Management
Evan White, Jr., Movement Science
Communications Contact: Brad Rudner