After allowing Stanford to narrowly win two events to start the day - Stanford’s Grant Shoults won 500 Free over Cal’s Sean Greishop and Stanford’s Abraham DeVine won 200 IM over Cal’s Andrew Seliskar, Golden Bears bounce back with wins in 50 Free (by senior Justin Lynch) and in 200 Free relay. Bears have now won all 3 relays, where the points are doubled. After 9 events, Golden Bears are in 1st place and appear to be a strong bet to stay there through the end (Saturday night). Bears have an 18 point lead on Stanford going into Day 3.
The Golden Bears are 2 for 2 in the swimming portion of the Pac-12 Championships. Rather easily, the Bears won the 200 medley relay and followed it up with a 800 free relay victory. After 5 events, Bears have nearly overcame the diving deficit to USC. USC has 177 points; Cal has 162 points; Stanford has 156 points.
ROLL ON YOU BEARS!
No.2 Golden Bears may be coming off a shocking Big Meet loss to rival Stanford to close the regular season, but they are still a legit contender for the NCAA Championship from Minneapolis, MN in three week. This week, though, the goal would be to “swim fast” (as head coach Dave Durden says in the interview below) at the Pac-12 Championship from Federal Way, Washington. If the Bears can do that, expect them to bring home a lot of hardwares. Last year, the Bears won 4 relays and 7 individual titles (out of 18 swimming events) but had to settle for 2nd place in the team competition.
Despite the graduation of superstar Ryan Murphy, Dave Durden has again brought in the top ranked recruiting class in the country to replenish the squad to challenge for the NCAA team title. It is paradoxical to think that the Bears may be much more of a contender in 2018 without Murph, but that is probably a fair assessment, particularly in the NCAA forecast given how Texas squad has only been good but not great.
By the way, the Bears will be adding this hyped Team USA superstar, Reece Whitley, to the team next year. Whitley is already talking about how training at Cal will make him a future Calympian for 2020.
"If Trials were tomorrow I wouldn’t be ready. I’m not there yet. But 2020 after a couple years at @calmenswim ? I think I’ll be in a better position..." @_reecewhitley | Part ✌️— USA Swimming (@USASwimming) February 27, 2018
Unlike women’s swimming and diving, there are only 6 teams in the Pac-12. Stanford has managed to win the team title in the past two years (then be a non-contender at the NCAA). Cal last won back-to-back Pac-12 titles in 2013 and 2014. Somewhat surprisingly, Bears have only won the Pac-12 title 5 times in history, 4 times since there was just one unified champ for the entire conference. By comparison, the program has won 5 NCAA team titles. Nevertheless, 2018 appears to be an year where the Bears have a strong enough depth in addition to top talent to win both. 1980 and 2014 are the only times in Cal history where they have won both the Pac and the NCAA team championships.
The diving portion of the meet has already took place last week during the women’s swimming and diving championships. Daily Cal has a nice recap of the diving action. For the NCAA diving zone qualification, Cal will send sophomore Connor Callahan (who made the NCAA last year) and freshman Johnny Robinson. Cal’s contingent collected 82 team points across the three events last week (according to the CalBears.com preview); that’s a lot more points than usual for the Bears from diving and is a direct result of the new Legends Aquatic Complex and having 3 freshmen divers to go with the 1 sophomore. SwimSwam has the diving total as the following:
USC 115, Stanford 94, Cal 82, ASU 72, Utah 71, Arizona 28
Stanford has two senior divers who are both in the top 5 for all three events, including a platform win. For once, Cal’s diving depth means that Stanford only has a slim point edge going into the swimming portion of the Pac-12 championships. According to the roster rule, Cal using more divers do mean that they have to use less swimmers (for the NCAA, each diver counts as half of a swimmer). Nonetheless, this is the right strategy since the Bears, for once, do not trail by about 100 points going into swimming.
Just like the Cal women’s team last week, a big part of the Pac-12 championships is the extra opportunities for swimmers to post NCAA A-qualification time to make the NCAA Championships. Bears already have a healthy number of swimmers that have qualified, but let’s hope that more Bears can get the opportunity to experience the national championship first hand. Additionally, those Cal swimmers who have already qualified with an A-time in an event can also compete in other events where they post a B-time.
I will periodically update this post the results through the end of this meet. By the way, the women’s NCAA invite list will come out on Wednesday. I will add a blurb about that information once it’s released.
200 Medley Relay
800 Free Relay
200 Free relay
400 Medley Relay
400 Free Relay
Although Stanford earned the No.1 ranking after narrowly edging the Bears, Cal is still the favorite per the psych sheet.
Bears have by far the top time in all 5 relays - which are huge points-wise at both this meet and at the NCAA.
Individually, 4 Bears are at the top of 50 Free (freshman Ryan Hoffer, sophomore Pawel Sendyk, senior Justin Lynch, and sophomore Michael Jensen). Matthew Josa and Lynch are the top two seed for the 100 Fly. Connor Hoppe is the top seed for 100 Breast. Lynch, Hoffer, and Jensen are 1, 3, 4, respectively in the 100 Free. Seliskar is the top seed in 200 Breast (a new event for the junior this year). Quah, Thomas, and Lynch are 2 through 4 in the 200 Fly.
For 200 IM, junior Andrew Seliskar is 2nd but a strong contender. Junior Michael Thomas, Seliskar, and freshman Sean Grieshop are 2nd through 4th in the 400 IM. Freshman Daniel Carr is 3rd in 100 Back and 200 Back with Jack Quah and Matthew Josa also serious contenders in the 100 Back and fellow freshman Bryce Mefford a contender for the 200 Back.
Out of the 18 swimming events, don’t be shocked if the Bears win more than half of them.
2018 Pac-12 Titles won by the Cal Bears
- 200 Medley Relay - Daniel Carr, Connor Hoppe, Justin Lynch, Ryan Hoffer
1) Carr, Daniel FR 2) Hoppe, Connor SR
3) Lynch, Justin SR 4) Hoffer, Ryan FR
21.16 44.26 (23.10) 1:04.28 (20.02) 1:23.14 (18.86)
- 800 Free Relay - Andrew Seliskar, Michael Thomas, Zheng Quah, Michael Jensen
1) Seliskar, Andrew JR 2) Thomas, Michael JR
3) Quah, Zheng SO 4) Jensen, Michael SO
21.71 45.35 (45.35) 1:08.65 (1:08.65) 1:32.12 (1:32.12)
1:53.50 (21.38) 2:17.78 (45.66) 2:42.48 (1:10.36) 3:07.18 (1:35.06)
3:28.22 (21.04) 3:51.80 (44.62) 4:15.69 (1:08.51) 4:39.49 (1:32.31)
5:00.33 (20.84) 5:24.10 (44.61) 5:48.46 (1:08.97) 6:13.30 (1:33.81)
- 50 Free - Justin Lynch, 19.00
- 200 Free Relay - Justin Lynch, Pawel Sendyk, Ryan Hoffer, Michael Jensen
1) Lynch, Justin SR 2) Sendyk, Pawel SO
3) Hoffer, Ryan FR 4) Jensen, Michael SO
19.06 37.86 (18.80) 56.99 (19.13) 1:15.78 (18.79)
HOW TO WATCH
Pac-12 Networks will have the live coverage on Saturday night at 6:30 PM PT on Pac-12 Washington (I guess the Women’s Basketball tournament takes priority?)
Daily prelims start at 10:30 AM PT. Finals start at 6 PM PT.
The prelim and the daily finals will be streamed online at HERE
Live stats (if they work) can be found HERE