There’s something to be said for depth, but with his 2012 recruiting class, Michigan Wolverines head coach Mike Bottom is really pushing those boundaries.
His latest commitment according to the Mail Tribune is one of the top recruits out of the state of Oregon (who has another strong class this year) Aaron Ghiglieri, who is a great sprint freestyler and all-around butterflier. He swims for Superior Stingray Swimming at the club level and Cascade Christian High School.
The sprint freestyling is something that the Wolverines badly need. Ghiglieri comes in with bests of 20.95 and 45.65 in the 50 and 100 freestyles; those won’t immediately jump onto the free relays, but those same relays next year will be heavily-senior, so by the time Ghiglieri is a sophomore, he could step into the spotlight.
In the butterfly events, however, even with the graduation of All-American Dan Madwed, this addition puts the deepest butterfly group in the country in Ann Arbor. Ghiglieri has yards bests of 48.90 in the 100 and 1:52.72 in the 200; this gives the Wolverines at least 12 swimmers next year who are under 49-seconds in the 100 fly. Ghiglieri joins a class that also includes Reid Elliott out of Austin (47.97); Dylan Bosch from South Africa (53.79 in long course); and Peter Brumm the top-ranked swimmer out of North Carolina (48.32).
It’s going to be a tough fight for any of them to wrestle relay spots away from the incumbents Sean Fletcher (45.98) and John Wojciechowski (46.56), but the Wolverines don’t have to be too concerned about recruiting butterfliers for a few years.
Remember that this is the junior and senior seasons of the classes where the Wolverines signed 30 + athletes over a two-year period. That group has been whittled down to 20, but it’s an outstanding 20 swimmers and they need their freshman class to make an immediate-impact. At some level, they’ll be hoping that comes at the NCAA level (Elliott and Bosch should certainly do that), but additionally at the Big Ten level, which would protect that championship while allowing their NCAA scorers to focus on the NCAA meet.