Sport: Men's Swimming (200 Back)
Birthday: September 17th, 1993 (age 22)
Hometown: Corvallis, Oregon
Cal affiliation: California Golden Bears alum (psychology major)
Years at Cal: 2012 - 2016
Olympic appearances: 2016 Rio is Jacob Pebley’s first Olympic games
Jacob Pebley has been a big contributor on Cal Men’s Swimming for four years. He contributed points (4th place finish in the 200 Back) on the 2014 NCAA winning team. Being on the same team as Ryan Murphy means that Jacob Pebley’s backstroke prowess is constantly overshadowed. Nevertheless, Pebley still compiled a long list of impressive feats during his time at Cal.
Here is a full list from his Cal Bears bio:
Extremely important four-year contributor for the Bears closed his career with a bang at the 2016 NCAA Championships, placing second behind only teammate Ryan Murphy in the 200 backstroke. Also finished sixth in the 100 back and made the "B" final in the 200 IM.
Did not compete at the 2016 Pac-12 Championships as he instead opted to continue training for the Olympic trials by racing at the Orlando Arena Pro Series event where he finished second in the 200-meter backstroke to Murphy.
Versatile performer held Cal's second-fastest times in the 100 and 200 backstroke as well as the fourth-fastest time in the 200 free and 200 IM in 2016.
Competed in both the 100 and 200 backstroke as well as the 200 IM at the 2015 NCAA Championships. Finished fifth in the 200 back.
Took bronze in the 200 backstroke at the 2015 Pac-12 Championships.
As a sophomore was fourth in the 200 back (1:39.59) at the 2014 NCAA Championships.
As a true freshman placed third at the 2013 NCAA Championships in the 200 back with a then school record 1:39.71.
Also finished seventh in the 100 back at the 2013 NCAA meet with a time of 46.11
Has the school's second-best all-time mark in the 200 back (1:39.59) and fifth-best mark in the 100 back (45.90).
Jacob Pebley first made the US Junior National Team in 2009. He competed on the Junior National Team for 3 year before the 2012 US Olympic Trials. Pebley placed 16th in the 100 Back and 7th in 200 Back.
Jacob Pebley’s main international experiences beyond World Junior Championships came from the World University Games (2013 and 2015) where he’s won several medals.
Here is a full list of national and international achievements from his Cal Bears bio:
Is a member of the U.S. National Team in the 200 backstroke for the 2015-16 season. Has also been a Team USA member in the 100 back.
Won gold in the 200 backstroke at the 2015 World University Games in South Korea. Also won silver as part of Team USA's 400-meter medley relay.
During the 2014 Phillips 66 National Championships had a fourth-place finish in the 200 back and was fifth in the 100 back.
At the 2013 World University Games captured a bronze medal in the 100 and 200 back, as well as the 400 medley relay (backstroke leg).
As a member of the USA National Junior Team and was a three-time gold medalist at the 2011 World Junior Championships, winning the 100 and 200 back, and was a member of the gold medal-winning 400 medley relay.
In the 200 back, set a new World Championships record (1:58.73) en route to a gold medal
Placed first in both the 100 and 200 back at the 2010 Junior Short Course Nationals.
More on Jacob and his Rio outlook:
Kind of the forgotten men (see headline below) amongst the 2016 Cal Men’s Swimming stars, Jacob Pebley joined his teammates and friends as 1st time Calympians to Rio with an impressive 200 Back swim at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials.
One of the most emotional moment in the entire 2016 Olympic Swimming Trials was when Jacob Pebley qualified for the Olympic games in the 200 Back by finishing 2nd behind teammate Ryan Murphy (who had already qualified for the Olympics in 100 Back).
It was an emotional moment for the Pebley family.
The Pebleys couldn't hold it in when Jacob realized his Olympic Dream!!! pic.twitter.com/fsZOjZ1mF9— cathy durden (@CathyDurden) July 2, 2016
And for Jacob Pebley himself. In the post race interview, Pebley said how he was thinking about his mother, who had passed away from cancer when he was entering 7th grade. Jacob has said that his mother’s 2.5 year battle with cancer has inspired him to live life with the same determination and compassion.
It was also an emotion moment for Pebley’s girlfriend, former Cal Softball pitcher Nikki Owens.
Pebley may have been a surprise Olympian to some, but he is ready to make a name of himself at his lone Rio event. Ryan Murphy and Jacob Pebley has gone 1 and 2 at the 2016 NCAA 200 (yard) Back and the Olympic Trials 200 (meter) Back. They will be sure to try to claim the Rio 200 Back as Bear Territory.
The psychology major with an anthropology minor has said that he is inspired by Cal head coach Dave Durden to consider going into coaching once he is done swimming competitively. Read more from his 2015 20 Questions interview (I find his take on the Cal brand to be kind of refreshingly different.)
4. How is school going and what’s your major?
Jacob: I’m doing psychology with an anthropology minor. The thought behind those is that I came here to swim but more importantly to get a very good degree. I took a psychology class and it really made me think. Now, after seeing Dave coach, I am thinking I might go down that road after swimming. And I think my major prepares me for that because the psychology aspect of the sport is so important, and understanding culture is another key part of it. Dave talks a lot about the culture of a team and program, and I have grown to understand that.
5. What did you think when you met Coach Durden?
Jacob: Whenever I talked to him at first, I was thinking he would be very intimidating because he’s so accomplished and smart, but it wasn’t the way I envisioned it at all – he is very chill. He is so proud of all of his student-athletes. You come in and have a good attitude and work hard, and you end up viewing him more like a Dad. He also knows more about swimming than I could ever imagine. He can look at someone and know exactly what their time is going to be. He understands the sport.
6. How has his style affected you?
Jacob: It has really helped me because I think my struggles in the sport were more on the mental side. So when I can get on top of it mentally, I can think everything through and do it right. When I start to overthink it is when I shut down, so the psychology classes I have taken have helped me understand that much better.
7. How much did Cal’s reputation help – and as a side note, how distinctive is that logo and the Cal brand?
Jacob: Academics were the big selling point for me – how recognized this school is internationally. And that extends to a literal recognition as well: One of our guys is from Poland and in Europe he found these really cool Cal caps and suits I had never seen before. The school has done a very good job managing its brand.
8. Did you have any classes with Missy Franklin since she’s in that area of study too?
Jacob: I took a sociology class with her. That was really fun. Ryan Murphy was in there too. The thing about Missy is she really is who you see – always energetic and always a positive attitude. She’s that way in the pool, and brings that positive energy to the classroom.
20. At Cal, are the classes pretty intense?
Jacob: It’s actually really incredible. I think that’s where I have grown the most, because you come to college to grow up and understand the world better – and how you fit in it. Josh introduced me to a one unit class that meets once a week. There are people from all over in the class, and we talk about politics and everything. I have learned as much from that class as I have in anything. And I never really followed politics before I got here, but at Cal, people are very involved and there is always a demonstration or something going on. And whether you agree with this side or that side, the important thing is to be involved, have those discussions, and learn. That is where the growth and well-thought opinions come from. Looking back, coming to Cal, I didn’t know what was in store for me. I had great expectations, but it’s already been so much more than that. You come here to the swim and academic programs, and you start to understand the process, what the true goal is, and it’s always about getting all the information, understanding it, processing it, and doing your best. Dave and Yuri are trying to get us ready for something much bigger than swimming, but what we experience on the team is a big part of preparing us for what’s ahead, in the rest of our lives.
Judging from social media of Jacob Pebley and his roommate Josh Prenot, they are an fun loving and entertaining duo.
Even with no Pokemon Go in Brazil, something tell me that Jacob Pebley and his Cal teammates and friends Josh Prenot and Ryan Murphy will all enjoy their time as 1st time Olympians in Rio.
Even though his ceiling is not as high as that of Ryan Murphy, who can and probably will set new world records, Jacob Pebley should still be a contender to medal in the 200 Back.
Best of luck to Jacob in Rio and GO BEARS!