Michigan senior swimmer Felix Auboeck has recorded a salute to his fellow Michigan athletes in the class of 2020.
In a message addressed toward his fellow Wolverines, but applicable to tens of thousands of athletes around the country, Auboeck says that he felt the same disappointment about the cancellation of athletics around the country due to the global coronavirus pandemic, but with some distance has shifted his focus to the friendships and the journeys throughout his 4 years at Michigan, and not just the final destination.
Auboeck entered the 2019-2020 season as the defending NCAA Champion in the 1650 free. After winning his fourth-straight Big Ten title in both the 500 free and 1650 free, he was on track to finish on a high note. As a junior, before winning that 1650 free, he missed scoring altogether in the 500 free earlier in the meet. There, he finished 35th with a prelims swim that was 9 seconds slower than his seed. While a disappointing result, that set up for an even bigger surprise when he bounced back later in the week to win the mile.
He emerges from his college career as part of a long Michigan distance legacy, and now the Austrian turns his focus to his professional career and the 2021 Olympic Games. At the World Championships last summer, his best finish came via a 3:48.78 in the 400 free that was good for 13th. He also swam an 8:02.26 in the 800 free for 24th place.
Auboeck has been as fast as 3:44.19 in the 400 free and 7:49.24 in the 800 free. That time in the 400 would have qualified him for the final in Gwangju. Now, without the strain of the collegiate season dividing his focus, he’ll be able to wind up with a full-season approach for Tokyo.
Most of the Austrian national swimming squad was able to return to the water on April 20th, much earlier than many of their peers. Auboeck, who is currently in Austria, returned to his home country on April 30th and is able to train 8 sessions per week in a 50 meter pool.
— Michigan Swimming & Diving (@umichswimdive) May 3, 2020