Cal Men's Swim wins three silvers on NCAA Day 2
Golden Bears are still in a good position to win the team gold by the end of the meet on Saturday
On 2022 NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Day 2, TWO is the magic number for the California Golden Bears.
Two is also the number of teams ahead of Cal at the one-third mark of the meet (7 of 21 events completed). Of course, as I wrote in my preview, Cal is a much stronger team in the back half of this meet, especially on Saturday. The Golden Bears will most likely win/lose this team championship title on Saturday morning’s prelim session. They will also need to avoid DQ in the final session, as a Texas Longhorn did on Thursday night.
Top 10 Team Standings after 7 Events:
NC State 124
Arizona State 111
Virginia Tech 69
Two as in 2nd place was also Cal Bears’ best results in 3 of 5 events on Thursday. By some pretty narrow margins, Golden Bears could only earn the Silvers as the second to touch the wall. You should check out these exciting races in the embedded YouTube videos below.
Somewhat disappointingly, 5th-year senior Sean Grieshop did not take a big jump between the Pac-12 and the NCAA. Just last year, Grieshop finished 7th in this event with a time of 4:11.82. The time he posted on Thursday (4:14.38) might be similar to when he swam that time back in 2019 to take 5th, but this meet is a lot faster with the record book constantly being rewritten.
Freshman Gabriel Jett should get better as his collegiate career progresses.
Cal scored 0 while Texas finished 3rd (freshman Luke Hobson), 6th (sophomore David Johnston), and 15th (sophomore Coby Carrozza). Georgia took 1st and 2nd with freshman Matthew Sates setting a new meet record of 4:06.61 ahead of teammate Jake Magahey.
Caeleb Dressel’s record (1:38.13) is broken by Arizona State’s French freshman Leon Marchand with a time of 1:37.69, the Pac-12 Swimmer of the Meet a few weeks ago. Cal sophomore Destin Lasco, who had the fastest time in the prelim, finished 2nd with his personal record time of 1:38.21.
This was a great event for the Cal Bears as they also got 5th place from Spanish “Calympian” Hugo Gonzalez (1:39.82) and 7th place from Trenton Julian (1:40.47).
Texas had the Foster brothers in the A-Final, but they finished 6th (sophomore Carson, who is a threat to win the 400y IM) and 8th (junior Jake, the older sibling).
In the B-Final, Cal junior Jason Louser, who is seeded much higher for the 400y IM, finished 6th (14th overall), just in between Texas’s Caspar Corbeau, a breaststroke specialist, and Braden Vines.
Cal sophomore and Swedish “Calympian” Bjorn Seeliger had the top time in the prelim. Seeliger finished 2nd behind teammate Ryan Hoffer last year. He had to settle for 2nd again this year, mostly due to a slow start. Seeliger touched the wall in 18.59 seconds, just 0.03 seconds behind LSU junior Brooks Curry.
Maybe it is good that Bjorn Seeliger took it safe on his start. Texas’ Cameron Auchinachie was DQ’ed and lost at least 10 points for the Longhorns. Texas does have a second A-Finalist in Drew Kibler who finished 6th. But instead of the two A-Finalists outscoring Cal’s Seeliger by himself, Cal picked up points on Texas in this event.
The two Texas divers finished 21st (Andrew Harness) and 24th (Noah Duperre) to be outside the top-16. As expected, Texas diving is on a rebuilding year, particularly after the suspension of their USA Olympian Jordan Windle, the highest-scoring Texas Longhorn last year.
Texas A&M’s Kurtis Mathews won this event. Florida had one diver, but he finished 38th.
200y Free Relay
Bjorn Seeliger may not have an NCAA title in 2022 yet, but he might just need to believe that his individual race is merely the first leg of a relay. On Wednesday, Seeliger led off Cal’s 200y Medley Relay with a 20.08 backstroke leg, breaking the record previously held by Cal and Team USA legend Ryan Murphy.
On Thursday, Seeliger led off Cal’s 200y Free Relay with an 18.27 first 50y. Had he done that an hour ago in 50y Free (where he clocked 18.59 behind the winner’s 18.56), he would have easily won that event. Caeleb Dressel’s pretty incredible record time of 17.63 is safe, however.
Cal went with a lineup of sophomore Seeliger, freshman Jack Alexy, 5th-year senior Daniel Carr, and sophomore Destin Lasco. Both Seeligre (50y Free runner-up) and Lasco (200y IM runner-up) were swimming their second event of the evening session. The Bears had the lead at the halfway point, but Florida Gators’ quartet of Adam Chaney, Eric Friese, Will Davis, and Kieran Smith (1:14.11) finished just ahead of Cal’s 1:14.36. On a rare occasion, the record for this event was not broken.
Texas (Kibler, Danny Krueger, Corbeau, Auchinachie) finished 3rd with a 1:14.41. Redeeming for his DQ in 50y Free earlier, Auchinachie had an unreal 18.14 split as the anchor to allow Texas to pass NC State, Virginia, and Arizona State on the last leg.
With three out of five relays done, Florida has won two and Texas the other. Cal has so far finished Tie-3rd, 4th, and 2nd. Cal’s best relay would be the meet ending 400y Free Relay, where the NCAA team title may be on the line.
The epic showdown between Cal and Texas (and Florida) will continue on Friday. With the possible exception of 100y Fly and, of course, 3-meter diving, Cal should have multiple finalists (preferably all in A) in the other four individual events. Maybe the Bears can even pick up their 1st individual NCAA title (perhaps in the 100y Back?).
The Bears will be in the penultimate 400y Medley Relay heat, but should still be in the fix for a top-8 finish there.
I expect Texas to stay ahead by the end of Friday, but the only thing that matters is who is ahead by the end of Saturday.
ROLL ON YOU BEARS!