2020 Men’s Pac-12 Championships Fan Guide: Bears Hunting Threepeat

2020 MEN’S PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIPS

The Cal Golden Bears are the 2-time defending Pac-12 Champions, and the heavy favorites to make it a threepeat at the 2020 Pac-12 Championships. Things could get interesting in the runner-up race. Stanford has taken that position over the last 2 years, but they could be battling closely with Arizona and Arizona State.

SCHEDULE

WEDNESDAY

  • 800 Freestyle Relay
  • 400 Medley Relay

THURSDAY

  • 500 Freestyle
  • 200 Individual Medley
  • 50 Freestyle
  • 200 Freestyle Relay

FRIDAY

  • 400 Individual Medley
  • 100 Butterfly
  • 200 Freestyle
  • 100 Breaststroke
  • 100 Backstroke
  • 200 Medley Relay

SATURDAY

  • 1650 Freestyle
  • 200 Backstroke
  • 100 Freestyle
  • 200 Breaststroke
  • 200 Butterfly
  • 400 Freestyle Relay

STARS

ARIZONA

STARS: Thomas Anderson (senior IM/backstroker), Brooks Fail (junior freestyler), Marin Ercegovic (sophomore sprinter), Jorge Iga (senior sprinter), Sam Iida (junior breast/IMer), Isaac Stump (junior back/IMer), Brendan Meyer (senior fly/freestyler), Eric Correa (sophomore diver), Etay Gurevich (senior fly/IMer), Casey Ponton (junior diver) – The Wildcats return most of their top scorers, but are without Pac-12 medalist Chatham Dobbs as he’s now graduated. David Schlict, the runner-up in both IMs in 2019, is taking a redshirt. Fail has been a star for this team, picking up several winning triples in dual meets this season. He’s a big threat for the distance titles and leads the Pac-12 this season. The Wildcats should also get a boost from their IM depth with Anderson, Gurevich, and Iida.

ARIZONA STATE

STARS: Zachary Poti (senior backstroker), Jack Dolan (freshman freestyler), Evan Carlson (junior sprinter), Carter Swift (junior freestyler), Ben Olszewski (senior distance freestyler), Cody Bybee (sophomore fly/freestyler), Liam Bresette (sophomore freestyler), Youssef Selim (senior diver) – The biggest loss to graduations for the Sun Devils are diver David Hoffer, and Grant House is taking a redshirt, but they should still get plenty of points on the boards from Selim. He’s the team’s top returning scorer and the reigning 1-meter and platform champion. They also return Pac-12 champ Poti, one of their top swimming scorers in 2019. Freshman Dolan is a key addition an could come up big for them on relays.

CALIFORNIA

STARS: Hugo Gonzalez (redshirt sophomore back/IMer), Zheng Quah (senior back/butterflier), Pawel Sendyk (senior sprinter), Ryan Hoffer (junior sprinter), Reece Whitley (sophomore breaststroker), Sean Grieshop (junior IMer), Trenton Julian (junior free/fly/IMer), Bryce Mefford (junior free/backstroker), Michael Jensen (senior freestyler), Daniel Carr (junior backstroker) – Though they’re now without All-Americans Seliskar, Norman, and Thomas, the Bears still have a loaded lineup. Gonzalez joins them this season after transferring from Auburn. The SEC champion is a big threat here in the IMs and 200 back. Sprinters Jensen, Hoffer, and Sendyk will continue to light up the relays. Cal is loaded in a ton of areas, including the sprints, backstrokes, and IMs.

STANFORD

STARS: Matthew Hirschberger (junior distance freestyler), Conor Casey (sophomore diver), Shane Blinkman (freshman breast/IMer), Jack LeVant (somphomore fly/freestyler), Alex Liang (junior fly/IMer), Noah Vigran (sophomore diver), Grant Shoults (senior freestyler), Hank Poppe (senior breaststroker), Johannes Calloni (junior IM/freestyler), James Murphy (senior distance freestyler), Brennan Pastorek (junior breast/IMer), Daniel Roy (sophomore IM/breaststroker) – NCAA Champion Abrahm DeVine has now graduated, but Pac-12 champ Shoults returns after missing last season due to injury. Shoults’ return is also a big help as All-American distance swimmer True Sweetser is taking a redshirt this season. They should still bring in a good distance hall between Shoults, Murphy, LeVant, and Calloni. Another one of the Cardinal’s strengths is their depth in the breaststrokes with Roy, Pastorek, and Poppe. With Casey and Vigran on the boards, they should get a big boost from diving.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

STARS: Victor Johansson (sophomore distance freestyler), Nikola Miljenic (sophomore sprinter), Alexei Sancov (sophomore freestyler), Mark Jurek (senior fly/IMer) – USC will have to make up for some big losses now that Vissering, Valente, Grissom, and Mulcare have graduated. That leaves a lot of spots to fill from last season’s relays as well. They return Pac-12 champion Johansson and should bring in a lot of freestyle points as Sancov also has the potential to final in 3 freestyle events. Sprinter Miljenic was the team’s top scorer last season.

UTAH

STARS: Tony Chen (sophomore diver), Liam O’Haimhirgin (senior sprinter), Rahiti De Vos (senior distance freestyler), David Fridlander (redshirt-sophomore backstroker), Ryan Little (sophomore diver), Andrew Britton (sophomore breaststroker), Cooper Deryk (transfer sophomore freestyler) – The Utes are now without a couple of last season’s top scorers: Daniel McArthur and Austin Phillips. They’ll also have to fill their shoes in the relays. O’Haimhirgin is a returning championship finalist in 2 events. Deryk, a transfer from FSU, is a key addition for relays and sprint points.

SHOWDOWNS

500 FREE – After winning the event as a freshman, USC’s Victor Johansson will look to defend his title. Teammate Alexei Sancov didn’t swim this event last season, but his lifetime best is about a second off last season’s winning time. Stanford’s Grant Shoults, a 2-time Pac-12 Champion in this event, is back after redshirting last season. The event could get very crowded as it’ll also include the Cardinal’s Jack LeVant, Matthew Hirschberger, James Murphy, and Johannes Calloni. Cal’s Trenton Julian and Sean Grieshop are returning medalist. Arizona’s Brooks Fail is back after just missing the podium last season and is the current Pac-12 leader for the season.

100 BACK – Arizona State returns reigning champion Zach Poti in this race. He has a good shot to repeat, but it’s no guarantee as Cal’s Daniel Carr is also a sub-45 backstroker and leads the Pac-12 this season. The Bears’ Bryce Mefford has been close with a 45-low best time. Arizona’s Thomas Anderson also has an outside shot to win it with a 45-high best.

100 FREE – Cal could wind up with a podium sweep here, with sprint stars Ryan Hoffer, Pawel Sendyk, and Michael Jensen all battling for the win. Last season, Sendyk just edged out Jensen for the title. Arizona’s Marin Ercegovic and Arizona State’s Carter Swift are also in the title conversation as they’ve been 42-mid this season. Returning finalists Liam O’Haimhirgin (Utah), Jorge Iga (Arizona), and Nikola Miljenic (USC) will also factor in.

SELECTIONS

The Swimulator meets our expectations of Cal taking the title. We could see a 3-team fight for the 2nd place spot. Arizona is projected to finish as the runner-up, with in-state rival ASU less than 100 points back. Stanford is a distant 4th in the Swimulator rankings, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see them perform significantly better. USC is projected 6th, and will need some of their freshmen to step up in order to fight for another top 3 finish. Diving points, which are not included in the Swimulator, will probably play a big role in the outcome between those 3 teams.

SWIMULATOR PICKS

California 825.5
Arizona 567.5
Arizona St 505.5
Stanford 364.5
Utah 339.5
Southern Cali 310.5

SWIMSWAM PICKS

We have to take some things into consideration when looking at the Swimulator rankings, which are based on the fastest times posted this season ahead of the meet. It’s worth noting that we’ll actually have the diving scores well before the meet even starts, as the men’s divers compete during the women’s championships a week prior. Considering the diving points that will factor into play, Stanford could be given an edge before the meet even starts. They return 98 points between their top 2 divers from last season. Relays are also likely to shake up from their midseason standings.

  1. Cal
  2. Stanford
  3. Arizona
  4. Arizona State
  5. USC
  6. Utah

In This Story

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Togger

Suspect Cal will be focussed on NCAAs. Whether that ends up costing them probably depends how much Stanford/ASU show up.

AJW

Even mostly unrested Cal should still easily win

Horninco

Such a joke that Cal swims in such a joke conference that they don’t even have to bother with caring about their conference meet. If they had to compete in a real conference like the SEC they’d be so emotionally exhausted that they’d finish no better than 4th since they would have had to full taper just to win the conference meet.

AuggieBuschFan

I mean they lost 3 years ago so really not sure how much of a joke the conference really is

Joe

I love the sarcasm in your name

Excuse me

I can’t tell if Hornico is being sarcastic or not? Have you ever seen the results from Texas at big 12s?

JCO

I’m guessing he’s being sarcastic and just saying what a lot of people have been saying about how easy Texas has it at their conference meet each year

h2olover

I doubt that either Cal or Texas would change their training focus if they competed in the SEC. The big prize is NCAAs. I have no idea who was the SEC champ last year or any year for that matter. Let me know when the SEC fields an NCAA men’s swimming champion. For what it’s worth (not much) Pac 12 men’s conference competition is well ahead of what passes for competition in the Big 12.

slevetat

Tell that to Texas…. when was the last time they had to taper at all for their conference meet?

Sean Justice

Does anyone know if the coaches have told each other who’s wearing racing suits? Is that in the coaches meeting?
Don’t want a team to have an unfair advantage.

Max C

Wouldn’t it be assumed to wear the best suits at a conference championship?

Swimmer

It wouldn’t really be “unfair” – everyone has the option to wear racing suits.

Dbswims

I would assume they all will. However, I think the real topic needing to be discussed is making sure that everyone has no more than one logo on their suit.

Horninco

underrated comment

swimminisgood

Definitely an interesting perspective. Braden and/or Lauren, is it correct that A. Coci from ASU was DQ’d in the B final at NCAAs in the 200 fly in 2014 for a suit infraction of some sort? Do you recall which coach it was that made the officials aware of the infraction? I don’t remember, but perhaps that would be an interesting fact. Thanks for all your tireless efforts to keep us all up to date during this great time of the year for college swimming! Lots to celebrate and admire with all these athletes doing amazing things year-in, year-out!

Dbswims

I was actually referring to the Minnesota Invite where Texas got their 400 free relay DQ because of a suit infraction.

Big swimmer dude

Y’all sleeping on ASU frfr

Horninco

Most over-used response on this website

Don Megerle

I disagree, the moronic Dean Farris comments are so played…..

Horninco

But he’s been on Hiatus so they’ve been toned down the last 9 months. Both those comments and the schooling comments will rise again this summer.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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