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4 Golds on last day close out 6 Golds, 11 medals Pan Pac for Cal Swimming Bears

Golds for Ryan Murphy (200m Back, 4x100 Medley Relay), Kathleen Baker (200m Back), and Nathan Adrian (4x100 Medley Relay) conclude the Pan Pac championships on a high note for the Golden Bears.

Pan Pacific Swimming Championships - Day 4
Kathleen Baker adds a 200m Backstroke Gold at the Pan Pacific games to her growing list of International accolades.
Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

Here are the Cal medals from the first two days of the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships from Tokyo, Japan:

SILVER - Andrew Seliskar, USA - Men’s 200m Freestyle

BRONZE - Kathleen Baker, USA - Mixed 4x100m Medley Relay

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

As expected, the large California Golden Bears contingent - mostly on Team USA, added to that total with some splendid swimming on the final day of competition. This came after some rough results on Saturday.

Saturday (8/11) -

For the men’s 400m Free prelim, Cal sophomore Sean Grieshop finished 10th (5th best American swimmer) with a time of 3:52.04. Thanks to a scratch ahead of him (thanks to Robert Finke), Greishop swam the B-Final and finished 3rd with a time of 3:51.52. Cal alum and Canadian national team member Jeremy Bagshaw scratched this swim.

Cal senior Katie McLaughlin had the 5th best prelim swim (58.34) in women’s 100m Fly. As the 3rd best American, she advanced to the evening’s B-Final and promptly won that with a time of 57.80.

Cal sophomore Jarod Hatch, representing the Philippines, had the 20th best time of 54.75 in the men’s 100m Fly. I have been told on Twitter by a Cal swimming alum both about my omission of Hatch in the original post and that this swim set a new national record.

One of the bigger disappointment on the day is how Kathleen Baker, winner of the 200m IM at the US Nationals, missed out on the A-Final in the 200m IM with a 6th place overall finish (2:11.26...0.08 seconds off the 2nd American finisher which was 5th place) in the prelim behind two Americans (Stanford’s Ella Eastin and Georgia alum Melanie Margalis). Baker opted to skip the B-Final.

For Men’s 200m IM, Jarod Hatch scratched this swim while Andrew Seliskar was DQ’ed.

For the night’s closing relays of the 4x100m Relay, Team USA opted to use Mallory Comerford, Margo Geer, Kelsi Dahlia (formerly Worrell), and Simone Manuel over Cal’s Abbey Weitzeil; the American quartet took Silver.

Despite a great anchor swim by Cal alum Nathan Adrian to come from behind, Team USA men were DQ’ed in the 4x100m Relay for the middle two swimmers swimming out of order. This rather embarrassing outcome is probably blamed on the coach.

The video above cuts off before the announcement that the Americans have been DQ’ed.

California Golden Bears were shut out from the podium on Day 3.

Sunday (8/12) -

Canadian Cal alum Jeremy Bagshaw finished 12th overall in the men’s 800m free with a time of 8:03.38.

While the 100m Backstroke has been her stronger event, new Team Speedo member (now that she’s a pro) Kathleen Baker has been working hard to improve her 200m Backstroke. The work paid off with a Gold in this event. Baker just edged fellow American Regan Smith with a time of 2:06.14.

On the men’s side, Ryan Murphy dominated in the prelim by setting a new meet record. Unfortunately, his training partner and fellow Cal alum Jacob Pebley was just edged by another American in Austin Katz. Despite having the 3rd best prelim time, Pebley was relegated to the B-Final which he promptly won with a time of 1:57.12. Luckily for Pebley, Katz’s swim in the final was not as good as Pebley’s time of 1:55.68 in the US Nationals. Consequently, Pebley will get to swim this event along side Ryan Murphy comes the 2019 Worlds next year.

In the A-Final, Ryan Murphy made it 2 for 2 in the two backstroke events by posting a time of 1:53.57, which is the 2nd best time in this event in the world this year behind Russia’s Evgeny Rylov and his 1:53.36.

In the women’s 50 Free, Cal junior Abbey Weitzeil finished 5th overall with a time of 24.58. Australia’s Cate Campbell edged Stanford alum Simone Manuel for the win.

Interestingly, Cal alum Nathan Adrian decided to scratch his 50m Free prelim swim in the morning. This meant that he will not swim in this individual event at the 2019 Worlds next year since his US Nationals time was not good enough. He will still compete at the 2019 Worlds as a relay only swimmer, however.

Calympian and physics major Josh Prenot broke the event record in the prelim, however, he was unable to improve on that time in the A-Final. Disappointingly, Prenot, the 2016 Rio Silver medalist in this event, finished 5th with a time of 2:08.44. His prelim time of 2:08.02 would have only been good enough for the Bronze as Japan’s Ippei Watanabe and Australia’s Izaac Stubblety-Cook both surpassed that mark.

Prenot had a tough year in 2017 due to an injury, but had bounced back stronger in 2018. He will work toward having an even better 2019 and 2020 to win another Olympic medal.

Kathleen Baker is the obvious choice to swim the leadoff backstroke leg of the women’s 4x100m Medley relay for Team USA. Baker didn’t have a particularly strong swim to put the USA in a close 4th place after her first leg. Unfortunately, the USA quartet of Baker, King, Dahlia, and Manuel finished behind Australia to only claim the Silver.

In the exciting final event of this meet, a pair of Cal swimming legends got it done for Team USA. With Ryan Murphy leading off in the backstroke and Nathan Adrian anchoring, USA won the men’s 4x100m Medley Relay with a time of 3:30.20 just over Japan (3:30.25). USA were 0.07 seconds behind Japan going into the last leg of freestyle, but Calympian veteran Nathan Adrian was able to make up the difference in the last 25m to give the American a big relay victories over the host nation. Cal sophomore Jarod Hatch swam the butterfly leg for Philippines, who finished 6th in this race.

GOLD - Ryan Murphy, USA - Men’s 200m Backstroke

GOLD - Kathleen Baker, USA - Women’s 200m Backstroke

SILVER - Kathleen Baker, USA - Women’s 4x100 Medley Relay (backstroke)

GOLD - Ryan Murphy, USA - Men’s 4x100 Medley Relay (backstroke)

GOLD - Nathan Adrian, USA - Men’s 4x100 Medley Relay (freestyle)

In summary, out of 11 Golden Bears at this meet (9 on USA, 1 on Canada, 1 on Philippines), 5 Golden Bears (all American) won 11 medals at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships.

Kathleen Baker led the way with 4 medals (1 Gold, 1 Silver, 2 Bronze.

Ryan Murphy dominated the backstroke to come away with 3 Golds, which is the same number of Golds as Stanford’s recent pro and swimming superstar Katie Ledecky (who won 1500m Free, 400m Free, and 800m Free...Ledecky also has a Silver in the 4x200m Free relay)

Andrew Seliskar got one individual Silver and one Gold.

Nathan Adrian, captain for Team USA for this meet, earned a relay Gold - but it should have been two Golds.

Katie McLaughlin got one relay Silver.

Congratulations to all of the Cal Bears winners!

Looking ahead, many Golden Bears clinched a spot in the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championship from Gwangju, South Korea with their performances in this meet. That meet, scheduled for July 12th - July 28th, 2019, is also the next big swim meet on the International calendar, two years away from the next Summer Olympics, the 2020 Tokyo games.

Of course, other Cal Bears alumni, such as the 12 Bears Hong Kong women’s relay squad of Calympians Stephanie Au and Camille Cheng will compete in the Asian Games, which is coming up next week; they have a shot at a Bronze medal.

However, we will conclude this post by focusing on the performances of the current Cal Bears. One of the biggest surprise in this past month has been the performance of Cal senior Andrew Seliskar, who has finally lived up to his potential after a switch from Fly/IM to Freestyle, winner of a Silver in 200m Free and Gold in 4x200m Free relay. Seliskar is still waiting to win his first NCAA individual title. Gaining valuable experiences going into their sophomore years are Sean Greishop on Team USA and Jarod Hatch on Team Philippines.

On the women’s side, Cal senior Katie McLaughlin was finally able to make a splash internationally, particularly after her freak neck injury her freshman year; McLaughlin leaves Tokyo with a relay medal. Cal junior sprinter and 2016 Rio Calympian Abbey Weitzeil may have fallen a bit behind Stanford alum Simone Manuel (the two were in a dead heat going into the 2016 Rio Olympics), but she is still someone who is capable of pulling ahead to be the top female sprinter in Team USA. Nonetheless, it was slightly disappointing to not see Weitzeil on the USA 4x100 freestyle relay roster. Both will no doubt be impact swimmers for the California Golden Bears in their 2018-19 season.

For both the men and the women, California Swimming (and Diving) will again be one of the very few contenders for the 2019 NCAA team national championship.