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A college sports blog from The Oakland Press, dedicated to covering Michigan and Michigan State athletics as well as former Oakland County athletes at other schools.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Local names dominate U-M's top-ranked men's swim recruiting class

In his third year as the head coach of the storied University of Michigan men's swimming and diving program, Mike Bottom continues to remake the Wolverines' roster in his own image, but the image isn't really all that unfamiliar.

Despite all the new faces he's brought in with the last two recruiting classes — 14 last year and 20 more this year, in a class that was ranked the nation's best by — a lot of those faces are very familiar around here, as nearly half of this year's class are from the state, and a handful of those are from right here in Oakland County.

And the results are just as familiar. Led by two-time national champion Tyler Clay (400 IM), last year's eight-man senior class led the Wolverines — who've lost just one dual meet in two seasons under Bottom — to a runner-up finish at the Big Ten Championships and a seventh-place finish at the NCAA meet, extending the program's streak of top-10 finishes to a full decade.

Bottom wasn't simply trying to replace quality with quantity, though, as he nabbed the No. 3-ranked recruit in the nation (Indiana's Kyle Whitaker, the national high school record-holder in the 200 IM), along with the top recruit in Arizona (John Wojciechowski) and the No. 2 recruit in both Washington (D'Voreaux Cann) and Michigan (Grandville's Eric Wynalda).

In all, the nine Michiganders in the class combined to win six MHSAA state titles in individual or relay events this spring, including one apiece by South Lyon's Adam Oxner (100 breaststroke in D-1) and Walled Lake Northern's Riley Cole (100 butterfly in D-2).

Bottom's yet-to-be-hired diving coach will have six new divers to work with, four of them from this state. Lake Orion's Chris Fraga took ninth at the MHSAA D-1 meet this spring, while NISCA All-American Chris Ervasti of Madison Heights Lamphere — the county dive champ in 2008 and '09 — was third at the MHSAA D-3 meet.

Jonathon Ekleberry, a Rochester Adams grad who swam for Auburn Hills Avondale as a freshman and sophomore before concentrating solely on club swimming with the Oakland Live Y'ers, signed on with the class in the fall. He was ranked the No. 6 recruit in the state by, giving the recruiting class five of the state's top 20 recruits, according to the website.

"We are really happy with the additions to the Michigan swimming and diving program with this group of men," Bottom said in a press release announcing the class in May. "We added more depth to both our swimming and diving teams while keeping the top talent in the state of Michigan from leaving."

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