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Live Updates: Cal Men's Swimming and Diving wins 2 more Pac-12 titles on Friday
The Golden Bears are seeking a 6th-consecutive conference title
Cal is aiming for their 6th-straight conference championship to kick off the post-season where the Golden Bears will hope to defend its national championship crown. This year, however, Cal will have to withstand the challenge of Arizona State, a team that both beat the Bears in a dual meet and has the best collegiate swimmer in Leon Marchand (who has a case for the best swimmer in the world with Michael Phelps-like versatility and excellence). Follow here as we will keep you all updated with the results.
Live Team Standings (Through 15/21 Events - Includes Diving)
Arizona State 6637.5
Friday Finals Session
400-yard individual medley
With 7 swimmers from Cal and Arizona State in the championship final (2 more for each in the consolation final as well), this event was going to be lots of points for both teams. In NCAA-record-setting fashion, Leon Marchand (3:31.57) led the Arizona State contingent to first, third, fifth, seventh, ninth, and twelfth-place finishes. Reigning NCAA champion in this event Hugo Gonzalez finished second (3:37.65) alongside 4th-place Jason Louser (3:39.27), 8th-place Lucas Henveaux (3:42.67), 10th-place Tyler Kopp (3:43.75), and 14th-place Chris Jhong (3:46.98). That nets the Sun Devils 23 more points than what the Bears gained in this event.
This was the Stanford show as their swimmers finished 1st, 2nd, T-3rd, 8th, and 11th. That earned them 69.5 points in the team race, which helped Stanford overtake Cal for 2nd place overall. With just Dare Rose (6th - 45:51) and Matthew Jensen (9th - 45.57, PB) for the Bears, Cal earned 22 points while Arizona State gained 51.5 points.
It was Arizona State’s turn to sweep the podium en route to 77 more team points. Robin Hanson finished 4th (1:33.21), Gabriel Jett finished 8th (1:35.31), Dylan Hawk finished 10th (1:32.79), and Patrick Callan finished 13th (1:34.54). Cal gained 38 team points
Wanting the last word on podium sweeps, Cal finished 1st (Reece Whitley - 51.12), 2nd (Matthew Jensen - 51.42, PB), 3rd (Liam Bell - 51.58), 6th (Luke Rodarte - 52.15), 7th (Jacob Soderlund - 52.24), and 10th (Forrest Frazier - 52.59). That outgains Arizona State by 80 points in one race.
Cal’s backstroke supremacy continues to reign as the clearly unshaven Destin Lasco (44.57) took the crown in this event once again. Lasco, notorious for being a back-half swimmer, masterfully used his final flip-turn and underwater kicking to accelerate his way to first. Bjorn Seeliger (5th - 45.33), Jack Alexy (8th - 46.14), and Sebastian Somerset (10th - 46.32) rounded out the Bears’ scoring group in this event.
400-yard medley relay
If you can’t already tell, Leon Marchand is an ELITE swimmer. Despite Cal having the lead after Destin Lasco’s lead-off backstroke leg, Marchand’s strong breaststroke kicks propelled Arizona State to a lead that Max McCusker and Grant House confidently held onto and even extended. Their time of 3:01.39 is a new meet record, but it certainly seems like Reece Whitley, Dare Rose, and Bjorn Seeliger may have more to give on this relay if rested longer. Cal’s 2nd-place finish (3:02.46) means that the Bears have closed the 106.5-point deficit yesterday to 103.5 points.
Thursday Finals Session
Golden Bears picked up their first win of the championship when sophomore Gabriel Jett (4:09.66) touched the wall ahead of teammate graduate student Lucas Henveaux (4:11.16). Jett swam his career-best 500 Free and nearly broke the meet record set by former Cal Bear Trenton Julian (4:09.49) in 2021.
Patrick Callan finished 4th (4:12.45) to give Cal a 1-2-4 finish. Arizona State went 3-5-6-8 in the A-Final.
200-yard individual medley
Cal’s Hugo Gonzalez (1:38.72) bested Leon Marchand’s Pac-12 Championship record from 2022 (1:39.65). Unfortunately, the 2023 Leon Marchand went 1:37.81 to set a new meet record.
Cal also got a 4th place finish from Destin Lasco, who was overtaken in the back half by Stanford’s Ron Polonsky, the brother of Cal Women’s Swimming’s Leah, who won this event last week.
ASU’s Jack Dolan (18.86) pulled off a mild upset in winning the 50 Free over Cal’s Bjorn Seeliger (18.91). Cal sophomore Jack Alexy went 19.13 for 4th place.
Arizona State ended up with 1-4-6-8 in this A-Final.
200-yard freestyle relay
With sophomore Gabriel Jett as the anchor, Cal (1:15.40) won the 200 Free relay over a Leon Marchand-less ASU (1:15.75).
In a rematch against ASU’s Dolan, Cal’s Bjorn Seeliger (a split of 18.87) gave the Bears an early lead that they would not relinquish. Jack Alexy (18.54) and Destin Lasco (18.81) kept the lead until the unconventional choice of Jett (19.18) touched the wall just ahead of ASU’s Grant House. Gabriel Jett and his unconventional hairstyle got to talk to the Pac-12 Networks for a second time on Thursday.
Even with the two wins to bookend Thursday's Finals session, Cal is still more than 100 points behind ASU with 12 more swimming events to go. Looking at the Psych Sheet, ASU will have an advantage in 400 IM, but Cal will likely gain points in 100 Breast and 100 Back. 100 Fly and 200 Free are more evenly matched on paper. Essentially, Cal would need to replicate what ASU did on Thursday prelim on Friday to get back into this team race. Cal certainly got the quantity and quality of swimmers to pull that off.
Wednesday Finals Session
200-yard medley relay
It didn’t take long for Arizona State sophomore Leon Marchand to announce his presence. The squad of Jack Dolan, Marchand, Max McCusker, and Jonny Kulow stormed to first place with a time of 1:21.69, which is the second-fastest time in the country this year and ties Cal’s conference record. The Bears, on the other hand, were disqualified during the race as a result of a take-off .06 seconds too quick from junior Dare Rose. That nets Cal 0 points for this event (if it’s any consolation, Stanford’s relay quartet was also disqualified) instead of 34 points for their runner-up finish over a second behind the Sun Devils.
800-yard freestyle relay
Arizona State made it 2-for-2 to start the first night of competition with Marchand, Grant House, Patrick Sammon, and Julian Hill clinching the longest relay event in swimming. Their time of 6:06.30 breaks the meet and conference records, stands as the top time of the country by 2.34 seconds, and surpasses Cal’s relay by 3.45 seconds. Cal’s group of Patrick Callan, Gabriel Jett, Robin Hanson, and Destin Lasco finished with a time of 6:09.65, which improved their seed time from the midseason invitational by .7 seconds and comfortably keeps the Bears as the 4th-fastest squad in the country. With the last 3 legs being holdovers from last year’s school-record holding squad (6:06.90), Cal appears to have some more room for time drops in a couple of weeks at the NCAA Championship.