July 12, 2013
KAZAN, Russia -- University of Michigan senior men's swimmer Sean Ryan (Hixson, Tenn./McCallie School) won a gold medal for Team USA in the 1,500-meter freestyle (14:57.33) at the World University Games on Friday evening (July 12), held inside the Aquatics Palace.
Ryan's win in the 1,500-meter freestyle gave Team USA its first gold medal of the Games. He was in fifth of eight swimmers after 300 meters but picked up the pace as the race went on, ascending to first at 750 meters with a three-body length lead he did not relinquish. He became the ninth swimmer in the world to break the 15-minute mark this year. Additionally, his time from Friday now ranks as fifth best in the world. The only American ahead of him on the list is teammate Connor Jaeger (Fair Haven, N.J./Rumson-Fair Haven) at 14:53.34. Ex-Michigan swimmer Ryan Feeley (2010-13) was in the lane beside him, finishing sixth (15:20.75).
Two other swimmers nabbed fourth-place finishes in event finals, each narrowly missing out on a medal for Team USA. Senior Kyle Whitaker (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton) pulled off a tough double, first qualifying for tomorrow's final in the 200-meter butterfly after finishing with the seventh-best time in the semifinals. No more than 20 minutes following that race, he was back in the water again, taking fourth in the final of the 200-meter individual medley (2:00.42). Senior Michael Wynalda (Wyoming, Mich./Grandville) was the other, taking fourth in the 200-meter freestyle (1:47.65).
Junior Richard Funk (Edmonton, Alberta/Strathcona) was also in action for Canada, taking seventh in his semifinal heat of the 200-meter breaststroke (2:14.99). He did not advance to the finals.
The swimming events at the World University Games continue through Tuesday (July 16).
Q U O T E S (Via USA Swimming)
Team USA/U-M Senior Sean Ryan
On his race ... "I had a great swim two weeks ago at World Championship Trials and put up a good time despite not being fully rested. Tonight, I wanted to stay relaxed and swim my own race and I was able to do that. I let some of the guys get ahead of me in the beginning, but around the halfway mark, I made my move and was able to separate from them for the rest of the race."
On standing on the podium and seeing the American flag raised ... "It was something special. It was the first time I won a medal in an international competition. It's something I've always dreamed about. To see it actually happen, to see the American flag the highest of them all, was pretty awesome."
Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423