Oh boy, that Stanford diving lead is going to be annoyingly hard to erase. Golden Bears continue to dominate the swimming part of this meet, but still face a 95 point deficit with 12 more swimming events to go.
Thursday saw the Bears win 3 more Pac-12 titles.
The night started with Stanford building up their lead in the 500 Free thanks to their number of distance swimmers. Stanford freshman Grant Shoults won this event over teammate True Sweetser. Stanford’s Liam Egan finished 4th. Cal’s lone finalist was Ryan Kao who finished 5th, just ahed of another Stanford freshman in James Murphy.
Sophomore Andrew Seliskar held off Ryan Murphy to defend the 200 IM title. His time of 1:41.24 is the fastest in the country this year. Cal sophomore Michael Thomas finished 6th. Stanford’s Abrahm Devine finished 3rd while Max Williamson finished 8th.
Cal freshman Pawel Sendyk took the 50 Free title over Stanford’s Sam Perry. Golden Bears also placed two in a tie for 3rd as Justin Lynch and Michael Jensen shared the podium.
Golden Bears conclude the night by taking the Gold in 200 Free Relay, winning all 3 relays thus far. The Cal quartet of Sendyk, Jensen, Lynch and Murphy got the job done ahead of Stanford.
1 CAL-PC 'A' 1:16.94 1:16.46 40
1) Sendyk, Pawel FR 2) Jensen, Michael FR 3) Lynch, Justin JR 4) Murphy, Ryan SR
19.29 18.99 19.11 19.07
Including that 117 point diving lead by Stanford, here are the top 3 teams in the standings through Day 2 (9 events, 6 swimming, 3 diving):
Stanford - 387
USC - 305
Cal - 292
Looking ahead, Stanford will likely gain points on Cal in the 1650 Free on Saturday, but the Bears should be in position to pick up points here and there in the rest of the events. 100 Breast and 200 Breast may be the two events that really cut into that Stanford lead.
Stanford is build more to win this Pac-12 title than the NCAA since their diving points edge will be so much more diluted at the NCAA.
ROLL ON YOU BEARS!
WEDNESDAY NIGHT RECAP:
Two events down, two convincing Cal wins, and a pair of records.
The California Golden Bears won the Pac-12 championship opening 200 Medley relay with a time of 1:22.31 - a new American record and a Pac-12 record. Senior Ryan Murphy opened with the backstroke, junior Connor Hoppe followed with the breaststroke, junior Justin Lynch swam the Butterfly, and freshman Pawel Sendyk finished it off with the freestyle. The Bears quartet challenged the NCAA record set by Michigan in 2013 - 1:22.27. Golden Bears have a good shot of breaking that record as Ryan Murphy is capable of cutting 0.50+ off his leadoff backstroke time. Cal finished ahead of Arizona and Stanford in this event.
1 CAL-PC 'A' 1:23.76 1:22.31 40
1) Murphy, Ryan SR 2) Hoppe, Connor JR 3) Lynch, Justin JR 4) Sendyk, Pawel FR
20.78 23.13 19.81 18.59
In the 800 Free Relay, Long Gutierrez, Andrew Seliskar, Michael Jensen, and Ryan Murphy set a new meet record with a time of 6:12.07. The Bears finished ahead of Stanford and USC. Bears scored 40 more big points.
1 CAL-PC 'A' 6:16.22 6:12.07 40
1) Gutierrez, Long SR 2) Seliskar, Andrew SO 3) Jensen, Michael FR 4) Murphy, Ryan SR
21.72 45.13 1:09.07 1:33.44
20.91 44.39 1:07.85 1:32.35
20.68 44.10 1:08.16 1:33.38
21.15 44.92 1:08.82 1:32.90
By the way, the diving points from the 3 concluded events are the following:
1. Stanford Swimming 154
2. University of Southern Calif 123
3. Arizona State University 88
4. Utah, University of 41
5. Univ of California, Berkeley 37
Golden Bears need to continue winning events to slowly but surely delete that sizable Stanford lead from diving.
ROLL ON YOU BEARS!
Just like how I described the (lack of) importance of the Pac-12 Championships for the Cal Women’s Swimming and Diving last week, a similar focus on the NCAA Championships in three weeks (March 22-25 from Indianapolis, IN) exist for the top ranked Cal Men’s Swimming and Diving team. Unlike last year, when the key members of the team with Olympic aspiration (Ryan Murphy, Josh Prenot, Jacob Pebley, etc.) competed in a Pro Arena long course (like the Olympic Trials and Olympic Games) event, 2017 will see the full strength Cal Men’s Swimming team in action up at Federal Way, Washington.
In 2016, then freshman Andrew Seliskar won 3 events (200 Fly, 200 IM, 400 IM) at the Pac-12 en route to earn the Swimmer of the Meet honor. Seliskar has really blossomed in his sophomore year. Bears will also bring back Justin Lynch who won 100 Fly last year and Connor Hoppe who won 100 Breast last year. Oh, Ryan Murphy is also present this year to dominant the backstroke races. Now that the Bears are competing with the full squad (that depth is really important for the team scoring), there is little doubt that they are the favorites at this meet.
In recent Pac-12 history, Stanford won the Pac-12 title in 2016; USC won it in 2015. Golden Bears won back-to-back Pac-12 titles in 2013 and 2014.
Cal is merely racing for their 5th unified Pac-12 team title in program history, after 1980, 1981, 2013, and 2014. Back in the ancient history when the Pac-8 title was split between North and South, Cal won the southern title only in 1941. Stanford have traditionally dominated the Pac-12 title, thanks in large part to their overall depth and diving.
For comparison, the California Golden Bears have won 5 NCAA Swimming and Diving titles - 1979, 1980, 2011, 2012, 2014.
For the first time (and really, it’s about time!), the Pac-12 Swimming and Diving Championships will be streamed live during the week until the Saturday night finals are broadcasted live on the Pac-12 Networks. Pac-12 Networks have done the broadcast via tape delay in the past few years - when all the results are spoiled via Twitter. The prelims on Thursday/Friday/Saturday will start at 10:30 AM PT. Final for all 4 days will start at 6 PM PT.
The meet starts on Wednesday night with two relays - the 800 Free relay and the 200 Medley relay.
The Thursday finals include: 500 Free, 200 IM, 50 Free, and 200 Free Relay.
The Friday finals include: 400 IM, 100 Fly, 200 Free, 100 Breast, 100 Back, and 400 Medley Relay.
The Saturday finals include: 1650 Free, 200 Back, 100 Free, 200 Breast, 200 Fly, and the final event: 400 Free Relay.
The diving portion of the competition took place last week during the Pac-12 women’s swimming and diving championships. Cal freshman Connor Callahan was the lone Cal representative but managed to make the finals in all three events. Callahan placed 6th in both the 1-meter and platform; he took 8th place in 3-meter.
For the men’s Pac-12 championships, points are only scored for swimmers in the A- and B- finals (they do race a C-Final for kicks). For the A-finalists - the winner gets 20 points, runner-up get 17 points, 3rd place get 16 and then 15, 14, 13, 12, 11. The B-final winner earns 9 points, 2nd place earns 7 points, then it goes like 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
In the relays, 40 points goes to the winner - then the runner-ups earn 36 points. Since there only 6 teams in Pac-12 men’s swimming (Cal, Stanford, USC, Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah), the rest of the field earns 34, 32, 30, and 28 points.
By the way, congratulations to Calympian superstar Ryan Murphy on his academic achievements. Murphy is in the prestigious Haas school of Business at Cal. Check out this interview with Haas School News from after the Rio Olympics.
KG: Why did you want to come to Haas and what are your plans for the future?
RM: I’m someone who likes being around successful people whether that’s in athletic standpoint or in the classroom. I think it might be Steve Jobs who said that talented people attract talented people. The more "A" people I'm around, the closer I get to being an "A" person. I just wanted to challenge myself. Business opens opportunities. It keeps a lot of paths open to me because I’m not sure what my long-term plans are in terms of a career. Right now my plan is just to continue to swim and try to get endorsements through swimming. The longer I swim, the more likely I am to continue doing something that includes swimming—combining the business background with my swimming experiences.
He was also just named the Pac-12 Men’s Swimming and Diving Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Murphy, a business administration major who boasts a 3.54 GPA, has been a mark of consistency for the Golden Bears over the course of his career. He is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and is the current world record holder in the 100-meter backstroke after emerging as one of the stars of Team USA at the 2016 Rio Olympics. He is a six-time NCAA individual champion, having won the 100 and 200-yard backstroke each year he has competed, and also owns four NCAA relay titles. He is the two-time defending Pac-12 Swimmer of the Year, he is a two-time Pac-12 All-Academic selection and, in 2016, was named a first team at-large Academic All-American by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
2017 Pac-12 Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships
Date: Wednesday - Saturday, March 1st - 4th
Time: Prelim (Thurs - Sat), 11 AM PT; Finals (Wed - Sat): 6:00 PM
Live Stream: Pac-12.com, Wed - Saturday Prelim
TV: Pac-12 Networks (Saturday night at 6:30 PM PT)