2021 Men’s Pac-12 Championships: Day 1 Finals Live Recap

2021 MEN’S  PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIPS

It’s a rare Sunday night start for the 2021 Men’s Pac-12 Championships from Houston, as the Cal men look to follow up on the women’s team success and claim a fourth straight conference title.

The meet will open with timed finals of the 800 free and 400 medley relays, where the Bears would have to be favored to win both.

They’ve won five straight titles in the 800 free, dating back to 2016, while Stanford comes in as the defending champs in the 400 medley relay after Cal was disqualified in 2020 (the Bears touched first by about four seconds before the DQ for an early takeoff).

There will be a lengthy 45-minute break between the two relays as well.

It’s also important to note that the diving portion of the meet has already wrapped up. Utah holds the points lead at 133, followed by Stanford and Arizona.

TEAM SCORES (THROUGH DIVING)

  1. Utah, 133
  2. Stanford, 107
  3. Arizona, 86
  4. USC, 64
  5. Cal, 22

And, in case you forgot, Arizona State won’t be competing after the team decided to redshirt the entire roster due to the pandemic back in July.

800 Free Relay Timed Final

  • Pac-12 Record: 6:07.31, Cal, 2019
  • Pac-12 Championship Record: 6:10.94, Cal, 2019
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 6:17.18
  • 2020 Champion: Cal (Quah, Mefford, Carr, Julian), 6:11.47
  1. Cal, 6:11.98
  2. Stanford, 6:12.83
  3. Arizona, 6:16.30

The Cal men won a tight battle with Stanford to open the meet in the 800 free relay, with senior Trenton Julian unloading a massive 1:31.52 split swimming third.

The three teams racing in the second heat (Cal, Stanford and Arizona) were virtually even on the opening leg, with Cal’s Destin Lasco and Stanford’s Luke Maurer locked at 1:33.28. Crazily enough, both Lasco and Maurer tied at Stanford and Cal’s dual just over a week ago, both setting what is now their former best time at 1:33.99.

Another Cardinal freshman, Preston Forst, dropped a 1:31.68 split swimming second to launch Stanford to the lead by over two seconds at the halfway mark. Daniel Carr was 1:34.22 on Cal’s second leg, almost two seconds slower than he was last season.

Then, it was Julian who brought Cal up to a .06 lead on Stanford heading to the anchor, with Arizona still within striking distance less than two seconds back.

In a battle of seniors, Zach Yeadon got the job done for Cal, splitting 1:32.96 for a final time of 6:11.98. This is the sixth straight win in the event for the Bears, and their time ranks them third in the NCAA, trailing Texas (6:07.28) and Texas A&M (6:11.63).

Stanford’s Grant Shoults split 1:33.75 to bring them in for second in 6:12.83, and Arizona held on to beat USC’s opening heat-winning time for third in 6:16.30. The time for the Cardinal narrowly misses their school record of 6:12.66 set in 2017 (a team that featured Shoults as a freshman).

Three swimmers split 1:33 for Arizona, with junior Daniel Namir the fastest of the bunch on the lead-off in 1:33.40, under his previous best set at last year’s meet (1:33.66).

USC won Heat 1 in a time of 6:17.04, led by junior Alexei Sancov who recorded a 200 free time of 1:32.69 on the opening leg. That ranks him 11th in the nation this season, and marks his first best time in the event since entering college. Sancov’s previous best of 1:32.80 was set back at the 2018 Austin Sectionals.

400 Medley Relay Timed Final

  • Pac-12 Record: 3:01.28, Cal, 2016
  • Pac-12 Championship Record: 3:03.30, Cal, 2009
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 3:05.95
  • 2020 Champion: Stanford (Ho, Poppe, Liang, Gonzalez), 3:06.81
  1. Cal, 3:02.60
  2. Arizona, 3:05.35
  3. Stanford, 3:06.14

The Bears looked sharp as they roared to the 400 medley relay win in 3:02.60, lowering their 12-year-old meet record of 3:03.30 from 2009.

Bryce Mefford was just over a tenth off his 100 back best time leading off in 45.51, and then Reece Whitley dropped a monstrous 50.83 breast split to put them in complete command in the final heat.

Ryan Hoffer (45.05) and Bjorn Seeliger (41.21) closed the show as Cal takes over the #2 time in the nation behind Texas (3:02.11).

(Cal touched in a time under the 2009 record last season, 3:02.85, before getting DQed due to Hoffer’s -.04 reaction on the fly leg.)

Stanford took second in the heat in 3:06.14, ultimately finishing third. Sophomore Daniel Roy had a solid 51.54 breast split and freshman Ethan Hu was 45.11 on fly.

Arizona beat USC head-to-head in Heat 2, putting up a time of 3:05.35 which ended up being good for second overall. The Wildcats had strong splits throughout from Ogi Maric (45.90), Ryan Foote (52.04), Noah Reid (45.11) and Marin Ercegovic (42.30). USC kept pace with them after falling behind on back, with Sancov hitting a 45.50 on fly and Nikola Miljenic anchoring in 41.92.

In fifth, Utah clocked 3:07.65, just .16 off their school record, with junior Andrew Britton dipping under 52 on the breast leg (51.98).

Amongst the relay teams swimming as exhibition, Arizona had senior Sam Iida put forth an encouraging 51.74 breast split on its ‘B’ squad.

TEAM SCORES (THRU DAY 1 + DIVING)

  1. Utah, 189
  2. Stanford, 173
  3. Arizona, 152
  4. USC, 124
  5. Cal, 102

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Just A Swammer
1 year ago

Enjoy your lead while it lasts Utah!

Seli Lover
1 year ago

Is Jason Louser with the Cal Team?

swimfan210_
Reply to  Seli Lover
1 year ago

Louser raced at some meets this season but doesn’t appear to be entered in Pac-12s. His times this season don’t seem fast enough to make NCAAs.

Swimmer
1 year ago

41.21 by Seeliger on the freestyle!
That’s a great swim by another freshman.
Is that the fastest split in the nation this year?

Bub
Reply to  Swimmer
1 year ago

yup. Just ahead of Kieran’s 41.28

swimfan210_
Reply to  Swimmer
1 year ago

No, Daniel Krueger split 41.18 for Texas.

swimfan210_
1 year ago

Good 400 medley relay, all of the teams besides Utah were faster than last year (Cal also faster than their DQed time.)
Cal looks great now, nice split from Seeliger (3 tenths faster than Sendyk’s split last year, they got a replacement just in time). Arizona hits an A-cut too, good for them. Stanford has a good relay in the making, just needs a faster backstroke leg.

SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
Reply to  swimfan210_
1 year ago

Seeliger is the key to Cal’s postseason success.

USC also needs a backstroker.

Willswim
1 year ago

Could Carr and Mefford possibly trade spots when these two relays are swum next month?

Grant Drukker
Reply to  Willswim
1 year ago

I think Carr will for sure be on the 400 medley. Would also make more sense to have Mefford on the 800 free relay.

Murphy is my dad
Reply to  Grant Drukker
1 year ago

Don’t sleep on Lasco

SwimminIsGood
Reply to  Murphy is my dad
1 year ago

I’d say Lasco on 4 M.R. + 8 F.R., and maybe 4 F.R. Carr on 200 M.R, 200 F.R. 400 F.R, and 800 F.R. Car will be used/needed on all other relays, and Lasco can easily “cover” on 400 M.R., if not B Mefford. I’d say Lasco on that one…

As “Swimmer” intimated, Seeliger swim was huge. Cal needed a key closer on that free leg. With Lasco on back leg and Carr on all other relays, Seeliger’s relay legs will be key.

Just love how all conferences are able to swim! Great for fans, but even better for all the athletes, and for them to be able to race and enjoy the fruits of their labors. Wishing… Read more »

Willswim
Reply to  SwimminIsGood
1 year ago

I mostly agree, but I don’t think Carr will be on the 800. I think it will be Julian, Lasco, Mefford, and Yeadon.

Jay Ryan
Reply to  Willswim
1 year ago

Yeah remember that Mefford was an A finalist in the 200 Free as a freshman at 1:32+

Joe
Reply to  Willswim
1 year ago

I think they were on the relays they were tonight because Carr will swim 1 back and Mefford will swim 2 free this meet, so they can both get times in both. I agree it would make sense to trade them probably but let’s see how everyone looks at the end of this meet.

swimfan210_
1 year ago

Stanford didn’t let Cal dominate the 800 free relay. Their freshmen have been transitioning nicely. Preston Forst looks especially on fire with a 1:31 split. Excited to see him race Trenton Julian in the individual 200, and see what he can do in the 200 fly (probably his best event pre-college.)
Grant Shoults still recovering from his injury. 1:33.75 about a second off from his 1:32.48 split last year, when Stanford went 6:15.79. So they improved almost 3 seconds this year. Note: all of last year’s relay legs besides Shoults didn’t return this year.

New Cal Dad
1 year ago

Go Bears!!!

bobthebuilderrocks
1 year ago

Anybody catch Hugo’s 200 breast time?

Daeleb Cressel
Reply to  bobthebuilderrocks
1 year ago

1:53.5 I think

bobthebuilderrocks
Reply to  Daeleb Cressel
1 year ago

Oh okay, thanks. I made the mistake of not taking my phone out to time it, I figured the times would at least be said out loud after each swim.

Bigboy21
Reply to  bobthebuilderrocks
1 year ago

You had better add Kieran Smith in the battle for 400 IM champion for NCAAs

ArtVanDeLegh10
Reply to  Bigboy21
1 year ago

Why would he swim the 4 IM over the 2 Fr?

Bobthebuilderrocks
Reply to  Bigboy21
1 year ago

Is this about something else I’ve said? I’m pretty sure Kieran does 200 free at NCAA’s.

Bigboy21
Reply to  Bobthebuilderrocks
1 year ago

Yes, well you proclaimed that the 400 IM was a race between 2 , Carson Foster and Casas, and I think that there might be more, especially if Smith swims the 400 IM as he did at SECs and older brother Jake. Also Hugo has a faster PB than anyone in the field and his 200 breast time trial was impressive, which is his weakest stroke.

bobthebuilderrocks
Reply to  Bigboy21
1 year ago

I’m fairly certain Kieran Smith will stick with the event in which he is leading the nation (200 free) and also no, Carson Foster has been 3:35.27, Hugo has been 3:35.76. But honestly, I didn’t think he was still doing 400 IM, he hasn’t done the race very often this season, so I figured he might have been switching his events up this season, but I saw him entered in the event for this week, so yeah it’ll likely be between Foster, Casas, and Gonzalez, should they be entered, with Jake Foster a dark horse for top 3. Also, I think Hugo was a 1:51 last year in a time trial. Although he might be in a different stage of… Read more »

swimfan210_
Reply to  Bigboy21
1 year ago

Foster’s PB is a little faster than Gonzalez’s (3:35.27 to 3:35.76). Gonzalez is a pretty good breaststroker in yards, he time trialed a 1:51.6 in the 200 breast last year. There is a chance that Smith and/or Casas won’t swim the 400 IM. Both Foster brothers should swim the event and will be title contenders. Gonzalez had some good LCM times in December (only rejoined Cal midseason) and should be in contention for the NCAA title.

Taa
Reply to  swimfan210_
1 year ago

I expect Casas to do the 100 back. Its his best shot a the Olympic team and why wouldn’t he do it at the last big meet before trials.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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