Through two days of racing, several Cal Bears have already reached the podium of the Pan Pacific Championships from Tokyo, Japan this week. For the most part, the bulk of the Cal Bears alum at this meet are the 9 Golden Bears who qualified at the US Nationals two weeks ago to represent USA. Cal alum Jeremy Bagshaw is the lone Canadian team member with Cal ties. I did not see any familiar Cal names on team Japan, Australia, China, nor Philippines.
Thursday (8/9) -
The first Cal Bears to make the podium is rising senior Andrew Seliskar in the 200m Freestyle. The winner at the USA Nationals two weeks ago, Seliskar (1:45.70) finished just behind Texas Longhorn alum Townley Haas (1:45.56) for the Silver.
In a relatively new event that will make its Olympic debut in the 2020 Tokyo Games, the 4x100 Mixed (gender) Medley Relay saw Team USA going with Kathleen Baker to swim the leadoff backstroke leg. The quartet of Baker, Michael Andrew, Caeleb Dressel, and Simone Manuel finished 3rd for the Bronze with a time of 3:41.74 behind Australia (3:38.91) and Japan (3:40.98).
In the consolation final for the women’s 200m freestyle, rising Cal senior Katie McLaughlin won that race with a time of 1:57.34 - after swimming a personal best of 1:56.88 in the prelims. Entering Cal with as much fanfare as Kathleen Baker, McLaughlin’s college career hit a speed pump when she suffered a freak neck injury in her freshman year while training. She has since bounced back and will be a big contributor again at the NCAA for the Golden Bears.
Cal alum Josh Prenot had the 8th best heat time but only the 3rd best USA time in the 100m Breaststroke. He ended up racing in the consolation B-Final and placed 3rd. Prenot’s better event (one that saw him take the Olympic Silver in Rio) is the 200m Breaststroke.
SILVER - Andrew Seliskar, USA - Men’s 200m Freestyle
BRONZE - Kathleen Baker, USA - Mixed 4x100m Medley Relay
FRIDAY (8/10) -
With the 4th best time by a US swimmer in the Men’s 100m Freestyle, Nathan Adrian only made the consolation final. Adrian, who is one of the Team USA captain for this meet, ended up finished 2nd in the B-Final.
Two weeks after setting a new World Record with a time of 58.00 flat in the Women’s 100m Backstroke, Kathleen Baker was not able to duplicate that feat. Baker’s time of 58.83 was only 3rd best in the A-Final behind Canada’s Kylie Masse (58.61) and Australia’s Emily Seebohm (58.72). Baker’s swim at the USA Nationals broke Masse’s record set within the past year. It was a very tight race with Baker having the slim lead at the turn, but Masse and Seebohm touched the wall ahead of her in the end.
On the men’s side, Cal alum Ryan Murphy continues to dominate men’s backstroke. Murphy’s time of 51.94 (not quite as good as his World Record of 51.85 set in 2016) was good enough for the Gold in the Men’s 100m Backstroke. Murphy was better than his World Record pass until the last couple of strokes.
For the Women’s 4x200 Freestyle Relay, the Team USA quartet of Allison Schmitt, Leah Smith, rising Cal senior Katie McLaughlin, and Katie Ledecky took the Silver with a time of 7:44.37 behind Australia (7:44.12). McLaughlin has the 2nd best split out of the four USA swimmers, behind just anchor Ledecky.
For the USA men, they took the Gold with rising Cal senior Andrew Seliskar swimming the leadoff leg. The quartet of Seliskar, Blake Pieroni, Zach Apple, and Townley Haas finished with a time of 7:04.36 to just edge Australia (7:04.70). Haas’ anchor split of 1:43.78 was the difference.
BRONZE - Kathleen Baker, USA - Women’s 100m Backstroke
GOLD - Ryan Murphy, USA - Men’s 100m Backstroke
SILVER - Katie McLaughlin, USA - Women’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay
GOLD - Andrew Seliskar, USA - Men’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay
Looking ahead at Saturday (more like Friday night, given the time difference) and Sunday (ditto, Saturday night), more Golden Bears will be in the position to medal.
Recent swimming pro, Kathleen Baker will try to continue to establish herself as more than a backstroker. The 200m IM, an event that she also won in the USA Nationals recently, is on Saturday. She will also swim the 200m Backstroke on Sunday.
Katie McLaughlin could be in the mix in the 100m Butterfly on Saturday.
Nathan Adrian and Abbey Weitzeil should both be in the mix for Team USA for the 4x100m Freestyle relays, for their respective genders. Those relays are on Saturday.
A veteran leader on the Canadian team, Jeremy Bagshaw will swim the 400m and 800m Freestyle events on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Ryan Murphy will go for the double in the two backstroke event. The 200m Backstroke is on Sunday. Also in that event is training partner and fellow Cal alum Jacob Pebley.
Josh Prenot will try to pick up a medal in the 200m Breaststroke on Sunday as well.
The Cal sprinters of Nathan Adrian and Abbey Weitzeil should also be in the mix for the 50m Freestyle events on Sunday.
While it is a bit unclear who will race these events, Ryan Murphy and Kathleen Baker are likely candidate for the event closing 4x100 Medley Relays for their respective gender.
You can find the results of this meet through this link here.
The Olympic Channel has the TV coverage of this meet.
Friday — Day 2 Finals, Olympic Channel, 3 a.m. PT (delay), 3 p.m. PT (re-air)
Saturday — Day 3 Finals, Olympic Channel, 3 a.m. PT (delay), 5 p.m. PT (re-air); Finals, NBC, 1 p.m. PT (taped)
Sunday — Day 4 Finals, Olympic Channel, 2 a.m. PT (delay), 5 p.m. PT (re-air); Finals, NBC, 1 p.m. PT (taped)