Live Updates: Cal Men's Swimming and Diving Rising to the Team Lead in Day 2
The Golden Bears are hunting after their title defense.
Cal and Texas being atop the podium in men’s collegiate swimming together seem almost as certain as peanut butter and jelly on a sandwich together. The Bears, despite losing the Pac-12 Championships to Arizona State just a couple of weeks ago, are in a prime position to defend their national title. Follow here as we will keep you all updated with the results.
Live Team Standings (Through 7/21 Events)
Arizona State 154
NC State 151.5
Thursday Finals Session
After swimming as though a piano was on his back during the second half of his race this morning, Henveaux completely changed his strategy to swim a faster back half, bringing him to first in the B-final (4:10.50 - new PB). Jett, on the other hand, certainly appeared to have his turn shouldering the piano during his swim in the A-final (4:12.52 - 6th place). The Texas duo of Hobson, who has really evolved into a mid-distance freestyle wunderkind, and junior David Johnston took the lead from the beginning of the race and never let go.
Nice job to Jett and Henveaux on their 6th and 9th place finishes, respectively!
Change from psych sheet projections (running total): -14
200-yard individual medley
Swimming is simple. Marchand jumps into the pool and he breaks records (1:36.34). His utter dominance in collegiate swimming is akin to what Michael Phelps did to the world in 2007 and 2008, and Marchand has the talent to attempt similar levels of supremacy on the world stage over the next year. Despite ASU’s NCAA record swim and top-three finishes in the consolation finals, it wasn’t enough to overtake Cal in the standings. Lasco and fifth-year Hugo Gonzalez finished in 2nd (1:38.10 - American Record) and 3rd (1:39.00), respectively.
Change from psych sheet projections (running total): -12
Bell continued his wrecking path in swimming’s shortest event by breaking 19 seconds for the first time in his career (18.96 - 13th) while Seeliger (18.67 - 3rd) and Alexy (18.87 - 6th) held their own in the A-final. The 33 points here brought Cal to 1st in the team battle for the first time this championship.
Change from psych sheet projections (running total): +10
200-yard freestyle relay
Destin Lasco joined the Cal trio of 50 Free scorers to form a record-breaking 200 Free Relay. The quartet broke the previous NCAA record, but their 1:13.82 was behind that of the Florida Gators (1:13.35). Seeliger improved on his 50 Free final time with a 18.59 leading off, but that was again 3rd behind Florida (Liendo) and Tennessee (Crooks). Cal took over second in the second leg by Alexy and never looked back.
As for the team race, the big news here is that Texas gained a large amount of points from the psych sheet with their 1:15.58 1st heat (seeds 17th-23rd) winning time that turned out to be 7th overall for 24 points. Cal Bears still find themselves in first place going into Day 3, where they will have plenty of opportunities to better the psych sheet projections.
Change from psych sheet projections (running total): +16
Wednesday Finals Session
200-yard medley relay
The proper way for a championship meet that is expected to have as closely contested of a top-five to start is to be absolutely stunning. Cal, despite breaking their school record (last year’s 3rd-place finish) and being just .11 seconds off the NCAA record, finished in 4th place behind the shocking victor NC State (1:20.67 - new NCAA record), 2nd-place Arizona State (1:21.07), and 3rd-place Florida (1:21.14). Notably, Texas finished 12th (1:22.94), which is a disappointing result for last year’s runner-up. The most stunning result to come out of this race was from Arizona State sophomore Leon Marchand, who split 22.27 seconds in the breaststroke leg (the fastest in history). Something to note is that the reaction times for the Cal squad were relatively slow, which could be an indicator that the Bears aren’t willing to risk a relay disqualification. Their reaction times added to .82 seconds, which would have made the difference between fourth and first if Cal matched Alabama’s relay starts (reaction times added up to 0.01 seconds).
Congratulations to junior Bjorn Seeliger, senior Liam Bell, junior Dare Rose, and sophomore Jack Alexy on their 4th-place swim and new school record!
Change from psych sheet projections (running total): +2
800-yard freestyle relay
Barely more than 100 yards into the race, Texas sophomore Luke Hobson had already established a full-body length lead on the rest of the field. It never got closer for the remainder of the race even as Marchand (1:28.42 - fastest split in NCAA history) and junior Destin Lasco (1:29.53 - fastest split in Cal history) created history in their attempts to chase down Texas anchor, junior Carson Foster. Sophomore Gabriel Jett, who was among the group that quickly fell behind Hobson, hit a new personal best (1:31.35), which bodes well for the rest of his meet. However, the surprising chess move from a brilliant tactician head coach Dave Durden was slotting fifth-year Lucas Henveaux into the relay. Henveaux had never swum a 200-yard freestyle in the short pool in his career so what he could provide on this relay was unknown. Yet, he delivered a much-needed sub-1:32 split to keep the Bears in contention for a top-three finish so kudos to Henveaux for the speedy swimming and Coach Durden for the prophetic decision.
Congratulations to Jett, Henveaux, fifth-year Patrick Callan, and Lasco on their 3rd-place swim and new school record!
Change from psych sheet projections (running total): +4
Day 2 Morning Prelims
Total A/B Finalists: Cal - 5A/2B, Texas - 4A/2B, Florida - 3A/1B, NC State - 2A/5B, ASU - 2A/4B
500-yard freestyle - Decent start for Cal. Jett looked really good. Henveaux took it out really fast and faded hard toward the end, so he ended up 9th overall, just barely missing the A-Final. Callan looked rough. Cal - 1A/1B, Texas - 2A/1B, Florida - 2A/0B, NC State -1A/1B, ASU - 0A/1B
200-yard IM - Lasco and Gonzalez got the job done and cleared their spot in the A-final. Louser, who is much better in longer swims, seemed to not have the necessary stroke turnover to keep up. Cal - 2A/0B, Texas - 2A/1B, Florida - 0A/1B, NC State - 1A/1B, ASU - 1A/3B
50-yard freestyle - Bell with ~.3 seconds time drop from his PB in the 3rd heat was a real stunner. A really nasty swim to qualify in 16th-place. Whether or not he moves up tonight doesn't really matter because 4 of the first 5 out swam for ASU/Florida, which is so massive in the team battle. Seeliger did just about what you'd expect, but Alexy dropped almost ~.4 seconds to get into the A-final. Alexy has some real on top of the water speed (in short course, lots of swimmers such as Ryan Hoffer take advantage of the underwaters). Cal - 2A/1B, Texas - 0A/0B, Florida - 1A/0B, NC State - 0A/3B, ASU - 1A/0B
Cal - Exactly what the Bears needed to kickstart the first prelims. Other than Bell sneaking into the 50-free B-final, Cal performed right about where you'd expect (Louser missing the B-final in the 200-yard IM was probably the "biggest miss" of the morning).
Texas - Really strong morning (the 50 free is definitely one of Texas' weaker events especially with Daniel Krueger having an off-year) and exactly the kind of moving up that they needed to keep Texas in the hunt for top 3.
Florida - A bit underwhelming, but their first night relay swims suggest it is more likely just misjudging how fast you need to be in the prelims. I suspect they'll rebound, but this was not what you want if you had a chance of usurping Cal.
NC State - Good morning session picking up second swims from seed, but they really needed a couple of the B-finalists to jump up especially since they won't have any diving points like some of the other teams that are in the hunt for 3rd-6th place.
ASU - Despite all the talk by Coach Bowman that the taper focus was on NCAAs, it really does look like a lot of their swimmers peaked for Pac-12s. It's still just the first prelims, but I'm leaning towards ASU being out of the title hunt (they should still be in the close fight for 2-5). They still have Marchand, who at this point seems like he'll break a record every time he jumps into the pool.
Will give a Day 3 prelims update shortly. Cal had a pretty good morning (only real miss was Seeliger making A final in the 100 back), Texas made the most of what they had available for what turned out to be a decent morning, and ASU had arguably the best morning. These 3 are starting to distance from Florida/NC State. Feeling pretty good about Cal’s position, but if ASU/Texas had a sub-45 flyer, this meet would be so so so much closer and fun.