Night 3 of the men’s Pac-12 championship gets underway at 8 PM Pacific Time in Federal Way, Washington. A whole slate of great races are set up for tonight, the busiest night of individual racing of the championships. Cal freshman star Ryan Murphy is the top seed in the 100 back and will also compete in the A final of the 100 fly. In that backstroke, though, he’ll have to overcome Stanford’s Dave Nolan, himself a former high school star who made the trek to California to compete in the Pac-12 conference.
USC’s Cristian Quintero continues to impress, and he’s a real factor in the 200 free tonight. He took the top seed, unlike the 500 free last night where he had to come back from a low seed to cut major time and take the conference title.
Also keep an eye on the 100 breast, with record-smasher Kevin Cordes leading the way, new Cal transfer Chuck Katis entering Pac-12 action from the Ivy League and Arizona junior college transfer Brad Tandy also joining the hunt after going 18.8 in the 50 free last night.
Tonight’s events will include the 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back and 400 medley relay.
Prelims recap here
- Dates: Wednesday, March 5th – Saturday, March 8th; Prelims 11AM/Finals 6PM (Diving February 26th-March 1st with women’s Pac-12s)
- Location: Federal Way, WA (Pacific Time Zone)
- Defending Champion: California (results)
- Live Results: Available
- Championship Central
Defending champ Josh Prenot won the event for Cal, dropping two seconds from prelims. His 3:42.20 is still a half-second off what he went in winning this race as a freshman, but it does move him inside the top 10 in the NCAA this season. Prenot did most of his damage on breaststroke, where he split 1:01.0.
The Golden Bears got a 1-2 finish from Prenot and Adam Hinshaw, who held onto the second seed, going 3:44.00. That included a strong 56.2 on back and a 52.0 on freestyle coming home, the field’s fastest final leg.
Stanford freshman Max Williamson took third just a half-second back of Hinshaw at 3:44.47. A pair of Arizona Wildcats finished next – Eric Solis in 3:45.22 and Sam Rowan in 3:46.42. Kristian Kron rode a huge freestyle split into 6th place, and USC’s Cary Wright and Stanford’s Drew Cosgarea rounded out the championship field.
Arizona sophomore Michael Meyer put up a nice time in winning the B final; he went 3:44.66, which should be enough to garner an NCAA invite and would have been fourth in the A final.
In prelims, California’s Tony Cox was the top seed and the only man under 46. At finals, that torch passed on to another senior, Arizona’s Giles Smith. Smith went 45.92 to top the 100 fly field, while Cox added a few hundredths to slip back above 46, going 46.01.
That time is well off Smith’s season-best, but is still a very positive sign for Arizona, which likely didn’t have Smith fully rested for this meet. After struggling for most of the second semester, Smith seems back on track now and poised to take over as the reigning NCAA butterfly king for graduated Golden Bear Tom Shields.
Cal got second and third in the race with Marcin Tarczynski rolling in behind Cox in 46.42. Arizona State’s star Sun Devil Alex Coci took fourth with a 46.50, just touching out Maclin Davis of USC.
Stanford’s Connor Black and Cal’s Seth Stubblefield battled it out for sixth, with Black topping Stubblefield 46.61 to 46.63. Ryan Murphy went just about the same time as he did in prelims to remain 8th at 46.86.
Cristian Quintero stayed on a roll this week, taking the 200 free in 1:32.81. That’s a very strong time, ranking 3rd in the NCAA, and should also put him in the conversation for the NCAA 200 free title with defending champ Joao de Lucca and Michigan’s 800 free relay stunner Michael Wynalda. Depending on how much all three men have left up their sleeves for NCAAs, that 200 free could easily become the race of the meet.
USC took home the 1-2 in the event thanks to Dimitri Colupaev. The senior went 1:33.46 to follow his teammate to the wall – those two were well ahead of the rest of the field.
The next two finishers came from Cal: Trent Williams (1:34.01) and Long Gutierrez (1:34.47). Both are young swimmers (Williams a sophomore, Gutierrez a freshman) which bodes well for Cal in these longer freestyle events moving forward.
Arizona’s Matt Barber also put up a 1:34.90 to be the last swimmer sub-1:35 in the race. USC freshman Reed Malone, who nearly beat out Quintero for the 500 free title Thursday, took sixth in 1:35.17. His teammate Chad Bobrosky finished just .01 behind, and Stanford’s Thomas Stephens wound up 8th.
Another Tom from Stanford won the B final – this one was Tom Kremer, who went 1:34.36 to run away from Cal’s Will Hamilton.
Already the best short-course breaststroker of all-time, Arizona junior Kevin Cordes on the Pac-12 Championships record book in the 100 breast. He went 51.23 to wipe away the championships record set by Cal’s Damir Dugonjic back in 2009. That mark was 51.41. Cordes was his typically great self in the back half, coming home in 26.81.
Cal’s Chuck Katis took home second place with a 52.69. Though a ways behind Cordes, that time was also well ahead of the rest of the field, and isn’t quite at Katis’s lifetime-best, meaning the Harvard transfer may have more to drop come NCAAs.
Arizona’s transfer Brad Tandy took third, going 53.14. That’s just a bit off what he went this morning.
USC’s Andrew Malone went 53.23 for fourth, just a hundredth off what he went this morning. Based on last year’s NCAA invite time, that kind of race should get Malone into the national championships, but with how deep the breaststrokes are turning out this year, he might wind up on or near the bubble, depending on how his 200 goes tomorrow.
Stanford senior Mason Shaw was fifth in 53.31 before another slight dropoff. USC’s Morten Klarskov (53.62), Cal’s Ryan Studebaker (53.79) and USC’s Sergio Lujan-Rivera (53.83) closed off the heat.
Arizona’s Andrew Sovero cut a half-second to emerge from the 3-way prelims tie for 9th place as the consolation champ. He went 53.42, and his teammate Kevin Steel had a nice finals drop of his own to go 53.50 for 10th.
This turned out to be the race of the night, with Stanford junior Dave Nolan and Cal freshman Ryan Murphy going to battle well ahead of the rest of the field. Nolan got out to a lead of two tenths, but Murphy, the noted 200 back star, roared back to touch out Nolan by .07 and take his first Pac-12 title. Murphy went 45.59, perhaps even more impressive considering he swam the 100 fly just a few events earlier. Nolan took second with a 45.66.
Murphy’s Cal backstroking partner-in-crime Jacob Pebley took third with a 46.34, edging out yet another Golden Bear, Tony Cox, who also was coming off a 100 fly swim. Cox went 46.76 in this race.
Arizona’s Mitchell Friedemann took fifth, sitting just on the edge of a 46-second swim at 47.01. Stanford sophomore Ryan Arata touched out USC’s Dylan Carter for sixth, and Sven Campbell rounded out the field as the fourth Cal Bear in the championship heat.
Arizona State’s top freshman Richard Bohus turned in a nice B final swim, going 47.16 for 9th place overall.
400 Medley Relay
Arizona won this relay, though it turned into a tighter battle than some might have predicted as Cal put up a season-best time in pushing the Wildcats. The Golden Bears led early on a 45.8 from Ryan Murphy (Arizona’s Mitchell Friedemann was just 47.11). Kevin Cordes put Arizona back on top with a 50.81 split to Chuck Katis‘s 52.3. But then Marcin Tarczynski came up big for Cal, splitting 45.5 to outdo Zona’s Giles Smith (45.8) and take things down to the final leg. That was where Arizona was happy to have newly-eligible transfer Brad Tandy to seal things: he split 41.9 to outrun Tyler Messerschmidt (42.2) to the wall.
Arizona went 3:05.68 – the scary thing is how much faster they could be, and how much faster they’ve already been this season. The Wildcats put up a 3:03.73 back in December that still leads the NCAA after all the conferences have wrapped up, and that relay was without Tandy. With their new anchor, a fully-healthy Giles Smith and a better leadoff from Mitchell Friedemann, this team could be the best 400 medley squad we’ve ever seen, with a shot at the American and NCAA records.
Cal was 3:05.95, a very solid time for them that ranks 7th in the NCAA this year. Murphy will almost certainly be faster at NCAAs, where the 400 medley doesn’t fall on a day he’s already swimming two individual events, and Tarczynski’s butterfly leg had to be a promising sign in what some have speculated is their weakest medley leg so far this year. The Golden Bears will probably have to get more out of Katis, though, as he was just a couple tenths faster than his open 100 breast.
Stanford took third in 3:09.10. Dave Nolan showed some major fatigue, going just 47.08 on the backstroke leg after putting up a 45.6 individually. They were still able to beat out ASU, which got a big-time fly split from Alex Coci in 45.84.
USC, the second seed coming in, was disqualified on what was likely a false start. Live results show two exchanges in danger of disqualification, a -.04 on butterflyer Maclin Davis and a -.08 on anchor Cristian Quintero. Quintero split a quick 41.5, although he was aided some by that fast exchange. USC would have been third just ahead of Stanford, and also got a solid 52.4 on the breaststroke leg from Sergio Lujan-Rivera.
As diving happened last week with women’s Pac-12s, these scores will look a little different than what you might find on Meet Mobile or live results. We’ve manually added in all of the diving events to get the most up-to-date scores possible.
After the third night of racing, Cal has officially made up the points they lost to Stanford in diving. The Golden Bears now lead the meet by 50 with one day to go. That’s still a small enough margin for the Cardinal to overcome tomorrow, but it’ll take a big prelims session to set up for a final-day comeback.
In addition, Arizona has emerged from its tie with USC and now sits third with a 28-point cushion on the Trojans. That’ll be another great team battle to watch tomorrow.
1. Cal 556
2. Stanford 506
3. Arizona 447
4. USC 419
5. ASU 223
6. Utah 210
7. UCSB 131
8. Cal Poly 113