2021 Men’s Pac-12 Championships: Day 2 Finals Live Recap

2021 MEN’S  PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIPS

The first set of individual finals will be contested on Night 2 of the Men’s Pac-12 Championships, with the 500 free, 200 IM and 50 free on the slate, along with the 200 free relay.

Cal and Stanford had strong preliminary showings this morning, and project to take over the top two spots in the team race after Utah held the early lead from diving.

Stanford’s Grant Shoults has a chance to become the first male swimmer to win the Pac-12 title in the 500 free four times tonight, though he’ll have his hands full with Arizona’s Brooks Fail and the Cal duo of Trenton Julian and Zach Yeadon all qualifying faster than him in the heats.

Cal’s Hugo Gonzalez is now the huge favorite to win the 200 IM after clocking 1:41.82 in the prelims, and fellow Bears Bjorn Seeliger (18.88) and Ryan Hoffer (19.00) should have a close battle in the 50 free.

Cal will also look to win a fifth-straight conference title in the 200 free relay. Hoffer has been a member of the last three winning squads, while the other three from the past two years (Pawel Sendyk, Michael Jensen and Zheng Quah) have all now graduated.

TEAM SCORES (THRU DAY 1 + DIVING)

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

500 FREE FINAL

  • Pac-12 Record: 4:08.92, Jean Basson (ARIZ), 2009
  • Pac-12 Championship Record: 4:10.67, Grant Shoults (STAN), 2017
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 4:11.82
  • 2020 Champion: Grant Shoults (STAN), 4:12.45
  1. Trenton Julian (Cal), 4:09.49
  2. Zach Yeadon (Cal), 4:10.61
  3. Brooks Fail (Arizona), 4:11.29

It was a gutsy performance from Cal senior Trenton Julian, as he opened up a big lead early in the 500 free final. Despite strong pushes late from Zach Yeadon and Brooks Fail, Julian held strong to win comfortably in 4:09.49, breaking the Pac-12 Championship Record of 4:10.67 set by Grant Shoults in 2017.

This is Julian’s second individual conference title after winning the 200 free last season. He had placed second in the event each of the past two years.

The Los Angeles native’s time also sets a new Cal school record, lowering Sean Grieshop‘s 4:10.29 from 2019. After coming into the meet with a best of 4:11.30 (set at the 2019 NCAAs), Julian now ranks fourth in the NCAA this season, joining Kieran SmithJake Magahey and Drew Kibler under 4:10.

Yeadon closed in a blistering 24.29 to get by Fail, clocking 4:10.61 to narrowly miss his personal best of 4:10.39 set at last season’s ACCs. In third, Fail also put up the second-fastest swim of his career in 4:11.29.

Shoults, who has won this event three times, ran down Stanford teammate Preston Forst to snag fourth in 4:13.73, while Forst dropped three seconds from his PB (set in prelims) for fifth in 4:13.81.

Stanford senior Johannes Calloni pulled away late to top the consolation final in a time of 4:17.61, his fastest showing since setting a best of 4:15.58 at the 2019 NCAAs.

200 IM FINAL

  • Pac-12 Record: 1:38.14, Andrew Seliskar (CAL), 2019
  • Pac-12 Championship Record: 1:40.07, David Nolan (STAN), 2015
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:41.34
  • 2020 Champion: Daniel Carr (CAL), 1:41.79
  1. Hugo Gonzalez (Cal), 1:41.05
  2. David Schlicht (Arizona), 1:42.18
  3. Daniel Carr (Cal), 1:42.34

Hugo Gonzalez took over the lead on breast and then pulled away on free, winning the Pac-12 title in the 200 IM in a time of 1:41.05, ranking him second in the country this season. This is also the Cal junior’s second-fastest swim ever, trailing his 1:40.67 from the 2018 SECs when he was at Auburn.

Arizona sophomore David Schlicht, an Australian native, held off defending champ Daniel Carr to claim second in 1:42.18, two-tenths under his best time from 2019.

Carr, a senior at Cal, has looked a little flat in his first few races, likely saving his full taper for NCAAs, but really stepped up here, blitzing a 24.54 backstroke leg before pushing Schlicht all the way to the wall with a 24.87 closing split. His finishing time of 1:42.34 is just over half a second slower than his winning time from last season (and personal best time, 1:41.79).

The Stanford Cardinal picked up some big points from the middle of the heat, with freshman Jonny Affeld, senior Alex Liang and sophomore Shane Blinkman fourth, fifth and sixth, all slightly slower than the prelims.

Cal senior Bryce Mefford topped the ‘B’ final in a time of 1:43.49, eclipsing his previous best of 1:43.57 set at the 2020 Pac-12s.

50 FREE FINAL

  • Pac-12 Record: 18.58, Ryan Hoffer (CAL), 2019
  • Pac-12 Championship Record: 18.80, Brad Tandy (ARIZ), 2014
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 18.96
  • 2020 Champion: Ryan Hoffer (CAL), 18.87
  1. Ryan Hoffer (Cal), 18.81
  2. Bjorn Seeliger (Cal), 18.84
  3. Marin Ercegovic (Arizona), 19.22

Ryan Hoffer, sporting some visible facial hair, used a devastating turn to edge out Cal teammate Bjorn Seeliger and successfully defend his conference title in the 50 free, clocking 18.81 to rank him second in the country this season and miss the meet record by .01.

At this meet last season, Hoffer, now a senior, went 18.87 to win. Cal has now won the event five straight times.

Seeliger, who became the fourth freshman to break 19 seconds this season in the prelims at 18.88, resets his best time again in 18.84, ranking him third in the country behind fellow first-year Adam Chaney (18.76) and Hoffer.

Arizona junior Marin Ercegovic (19.22) and Utah third-year Cooper DeRyk (19.46) both established personal best times to take third and fourth, with DeRyk now just a tenth off the Utes’ school record of 19.36. Ercegovic moves up one spot from a year ago, while DeRyk jumps up from 11th in 2020. USC’s Nikola Miljenic repeats as the fifth-place finisher in 19.60.

Cal senior Nate Biondi, son of multi-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist Matt Biondi, notably placed sixth in 19.63, his fastest swim since 2019. Biondi finished 20th last year.

TEAM SCORES (THRU 50 FREE)

  1. Stanford, 309
  2. Cal, 294
  3. Arizona, 239
  4. Utah, 207
  5. USC, 156

200 FREE RELAY TIMED FINAL

  • Pac-12 Record: 1:14.46, Cal, 2019
  • Pac-12 Championship Record: 1:15.54, Stanford, 2019 / Cal, 2020
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:17.17
  • 2020 Champion: Cal (Sendyk, Hoffer, Jensen, Quah), 1:15.54
  1. Cal, 1:15.80
  2. USC, 1:17.37
  3. Arizona, 1:17.86

The Cal men soared to a fifth straight victory in the 200 free relay, putting up a time of 1:15.80 that ranks third in the NCAA this season.

The Bears opted to put their two strongest legs in the middle, as Bjorn Seeliger (18.66) and Ryan Hoffer (18.55) handed Daniel Carr a sizeable 1.41-second lead heading into the anchor leg. Carr also cracked 19 in 18.98, and lead-off man Nate Biondi (19.61) was faster than his individual swim as Cal has now won all six swimming events through two days of the meet.

USC (1:17.37) edged out Arizona (1:17.86) for second, with strong back-half splits from Alexei Sancov (19.29) and Billy Cruz Zuniga (19.14). The Wildcats had the fastest opening split in the field from Marin Ercegovic (19.40), who was coming off of finishing third in the individual 50 free.

Stanford won Heat 2 in 1:17.92, narrowly missing getting on the podium with a team full of underclassmen. That also missed the NCAA Provisional Time (aka “B” time). Because Stanford has an “A” cut in the 800 free relay, they can also swim at NCAAs any races in which they have a “B” cut, but only relays in which they have a “B” cut. They missed that “B” cut by just .06 seconds, so we’ll likely see a time trial either at or after this meet.

Stanford freshman Luke Maurer broke 20 for the third time today leading off (19.87), and fellow first-year Jonny Affeld had the team’s top flying split in 19.21.

TEAM SCORES (THRU DAY 2)

Cal has essentially erased their early diving deficit, climbing from fifth to five points off the lead heading into Day 3.

  1. Stanford, 339
  2. Cal, 334
  3. Arizona, 271
  4. Utah, 235
  5. USC, 190

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Kitajima Fan
3 months ago

Wow… the effort they put into this livestream is commendable!

Rudy
3 months ago

Live stream not working?

Joe
3 months ago

Great swims by Julian and Yeadon. Yeadon would probably go faster if he held his streamline longer off his walls 🙂

bobthebuilderrocks
Reply to  Joe
3 months ago

Totally agree. 500 free at NCAA’s is going to be insane. SOOO many sub 4:10’s this season.

Waader
Reply to  bobthebuilderrocks
3 months ago

The A-final is probably going to be the fastest ever, but I don’t think it will be an exciting race, since Smith is so far ahead of everyone (except magahey) and he’ll be faster at ncaa’s. But the scoring between cal and Texas should be interesting.

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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