This article was contributed by University of Michigan student, and Michigan Daily reporter Simon Kaufman. Follow Simon Kaufman on Twitter here.
University of Michigan swimming and diving coach Mike Bottom only had plans to go for one World Record on Saturday, but decided he would go for two as long as the carnival was in town — the Michigan Water Carnival that is.
There wasn’t a ferris wheel nor cotton candy or funnel cakes, but there was a three-ring circus going on inside the Canham Natatorium in Ann Arbor, Mich. as the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, along with the women’s water polo team, hosted the second annual Michigan Water Carnival.
The event, which started last year as a way to showcase the different aquatic sports, also featured the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Oakland Golden Grizzlies.
Events in swimming, diving, and water polo simultaneously entertained the crowd, while the Michigan pep band, cheer, and dance teams kept people pumped during the course of the two-hour event.
The Water Carnival featured some events that fans don’t get to see too often. Water polo played 3-on-3 and the wore flippers, the swimmers competed in the 100-yard kick with a kickboard, and the divers slid headfirst off the 5m and 7m platforms into the pool.
Other events included a 25 freestyle knockout, where the winner of each heat advanced, the 100 breaststroke with two underwater pullouts, the 50 butterfly and breaststroke with a flip turn, the 200 freestyle with fins, the 200 any oreder IM, and a number of nontraditional relays. Kyle Whitaker also repeated as the 50 underwater with fins champion, swimming to a time of 17.21!!!
But the most anticipated event came at the very end of the meet when the teams attempted to break the world record for the 200 short course meters mixed-medley relay. A team of Michigan sophomore Ali DeLoof, senior Angela Chokran, senior John Wojciechowski, and junior Bruno Ortiz placed first by posting a time of 1:43.75, crushing the old record by more than six seconds. However, the record wouldn’t stand because all the swimmers on a team need to represent the same country and Ortiz swims internationally for Spain. As a result, Iowa — whose team of seniors Dustin Rhoads, Andrew Marciniak, Haley Gordon and sophomore Olivia Kabacinski — earned the new World Record with a time of 1:46.61. The previous World Records were set this week in Bloomington, Indiana by the Indiana Men’s and Women’s teams at the Indiana Relay Rally.
The teams couldn’t settle for just one World Record attempt, so they went for a second in the short course meters mixed-freestyle relay. This time, Michigan set the record and got to keep it. Senior Michael Wynalda, sophomore Zoe Mattingly, Deloof, and senior Kyle Whitaker took down the old record with a time of 1:36.78. All of the World Records are unofficial until ratified by FINA.
“We started off with fast swimming, we ended up with world records,” Michigan coach Mike Bottom said. “In the middle of that you got people diving off the towers … and then you have your water polo going at it. It was brutal.”
One of the people diving off the towers was Dick Kimball, the former Michigan diving coach for 43 years and Olympic diving coach. Kimball coordinated a diving show which featured divers jumping off the boards with umbrellas and brooms, and he even belly flopped off the 10-meter board himself.
“It’s a madhouse in here,” former Michigan swimmer and Olympic gold medalist Tyler Clary said as he watched from the deck. “It’s really cool because it brings a lot of interest into the aquatic sports. The swim team here is probably one of the most successful programs on campus and the more interest we can generate around that is a really good thing.”