Michigan Men Defend Big Ten Team Title, Earns 42nd Title in Program History



  1. Michigan – 1401
  2. Indiana – 1357
  3. Ohio State – 1322
  4. Purdue – 732
  5. Wisconsin – 729
  6. Northwestern – 722
  7. Penn State – 619.5
  8. Iowa – 566.5
  9. Minnesota – 564
  10. Michigan State – 196

The 2021 Big Ten Men’s Championships was charged with a tight battle for the team title between Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio State. Before the action in the pool, the Ohio State and Indiana squads all picked up hefty diving points from the 1-meter, 3-meter, and platform finals. On day one, Michigan had built momentum by sweeping the 200 medley relay (1:22.35) and 800 free relay (6:13.00), despite remaining in 4th with the diving portion completed.

Into the second day, Ohio State kept up their own momentum from diving by earning wins in the 200 IM (Paul DeLakis, 1:41.71) and 50 free (Semued Andreis, 19.05). In the 50 free, Michigan’s four B-final swims alone allowed them to jump Purdue for 3rd place. From there, the Wolverines attacked with a 1-2 finish from Jake Mitchell (4:12.92) and Patrick Callan (4:13.10), positioning them 13.5 points behind Indiana for 3rd place. However, Indiana’s win in the 400 medley relay (3:02.57) widened the gap between them and Michigan. Meanwhile, Ohio State had still maintained their lead.

Indiana made their move on day three with a monster 1-2-4 finish in the 100 fly, led by Tomer Frankel (44.91), putting the Hoosiers in striking position to pass Ohio State for the lead. The 400 IM featured Penn State’s Michael Daly pick up the title at 3:41.09, ahead of Michigan’s Daniel Berlitz and Jared Daigle. While Ohio State’s DeLakis earned a second individual win in the 200 free (1:32.28), Indiana and Michigan scored major points in the final. Behind DeLakis, Michigan finished 2-4-5-6, led by Callan, Mitchell, Gus Borges, and Wyatt Davis. At the same time, Indiana’s Frankel placed 3rd in the final. At this point, Michigan and Indiana had taken over Ohio State for the led, with just 4.5 points separating the lead duo.

On day four, Indiana opened with a 1-3 finish in the 100 back, led by Gabriel Fantoni (45.34) and Jacob Steele. In the same event, the Wolverines maintained their led by finishing 4-5-8, led by Davis. Minnesota’s Max McHugh then won the 100 breast (50.59), with Michigan’s William Chan and Indiana’s Zane Backes rounding out the top three. Indiana then had a big attack in the 200 fly, led by Brendan Burns‘ Big Ten meet record of 1:39.22. Indiana had also scored a 1-2-4 finish in the event with Corey Gambardella and Van Mathias, propelling them into the lead. The Hoosiers carried their momentum into winning the 200 free relay (1:16.24), re-affirming their lead into the final day.

To start off the final session, James Brinegar won the 1650 free (14:38.26) for Indiana, with teammate Mikey Calvillo placing 6th overall. At the same time, Michigan’s mile crew of Mitchell, William Roberts, and Berlitz finished 2-5-7. Michigan’s extra A-finalist over Indiana put them into the lead heading into the final four events. Ohio State’s Andreis then swept the sprint events with his 100 free win (42.23), with teammate Hunter Armstrong joining him on the podium. Behind him was a three-way tie for fourth place from Indiana’s Frankel and Michigan’s Borges and River Wright.

In the 200 back, Indiana’s Burns (1:39.27), Steele, and Fantoni finished 1-3-6. Shortly after, Minnesota’s McHugh swept the breaststroke events with his 200 breast win (1:50.93) over Ohio Sate’s DeLakis. Michigan’s Chan, AJ Bornstein, and Mason Hunter led a 5-6-8 finish to further their lead over Indiana, locking in the team championship title. As a last hurrah, Indiana picked up their third relay win in the 400 free relay (2:49.20), capping off a well-fought runner-up finish. With 1,401 points, the Michigan Wolverines successfully defended their 2020 Big Ten team title, with Indiana (1,357) and Ohio State (1,322) wrapping up the top three teams.

Previously, the Michigan Wolverines won Big Ten swimming championship titles from 1927-1929, 1931-1935, 1937, 1939-1942, 1944-1945, 1948, 1958-1960, 1986-1995, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2008-09, 2011-2016, 2020, and now 2021. Michigan’s 2021 title also marks their 8th winning streak in program history. Their longest streak ran from 1986-1995, winning 10 consecutive titles. Their most recent streak was from 2011-2016, where they won 6 straight titles.

Michigan continues to hold the most championship titles in conference history with 42 total titles. Meanwhile, head coach Mike Bottom earned his 8th men’s team title, breaking a tie with Minnesota’s Dennis Dale to have the 6th-most titles by a Big Ten coach. Legendary Indiana coach James Doc Counsilman has the most titles all-time with 23 titles spanning throughout his 1957-1990 coaching career.

Most Big Ten Team Titles – By Team

  1. Michigan, 42**
  2. Indiana, 27
  3. Ohio State, 13
  4. Northwestern, 10
  5. Minnesota, 9
  6. Iowa/Illinois/Chicago, 3
  7. Michigan State/Penn State, 1

Most Big Ten Team Titles – By Coach

  1. James Doc Counsilman, IND, 23
  2. Matt Mann, MICH, 17
  3. Jon Urbanchek, MICH, 13
  4. Michael Peppe, OSU, 12
  5. Tom Robinson, NU, 9
  6. Mike Bottom, MICH, 8**
  7. Dennis Dale, MINN, 7
  8. Ray Looze, IND, 4
  9. Joseph Henry White, CHI, 3
  10. Augustus P. Stager, Jr., MICH, 3
  11. E.J. Manley, ILL, 2
  12. Glenn Patton, IOWA, 2
  13. Niels Thorpe, MINN, 2

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Coach Rob
3 months ago

Congratulations to the Michigan men! What a stand up team and arsenal of coaches. Unlike another team that I know of… IU *cough cough*

Reply to  Coach Rob
3 months ago

In reality, Indiana did “stand up” and I really didn’t see many instances where they could have been much better. Michigan just had too much depth and also had an awesome meet. Congrats to the Wolverines and Coach Bottom and staff. But remember, with our team and current coaching staff, the future is very bright in Bloomington, Indiana for the IU Hoosiers!

Reply to  Guerra
3 months ago

Remember…they also didn’t have Bruno Blasovic!

Reply to  NMCoach
3 months ago

I know. No excuses though. I am so proud of the team at how hard they fought after losing Bruno. It speaks volumes about the heart and character of this team and it’s future.

Reply to  NMCoach
3 months ago

and Michigan didn’t have their Top Distance swimmer in Vargas…

the reality is that the Michigan men really stepped up… many swimmers had tremendous meets and breakout performances… eg Bora Unalmis, Jared Daigle. Across the board, the team performed very well… and even overcame the DQ in the 100 Fly which could have cost them the meet.

Last edited 3 months ago by #MFan
3 months ago

Congrats to Michigan! Great to see them winning the team race after all of their recent challenges.

3 months ago

Strange times

About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro started swimming at age 11, instantly becoming drawn to the sport. He was a breaststroker and IMer when competing. After joining SwimSwam, the site has become an outlet for him to research and learn about competitive swimming and experience the sport through a new lenses. He graduated in …

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