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

2021 MEN’S  PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIPS

The first full day of racing at the 2021 Men’s Pac-12s is set to get underway from Houston, with heats of the 500 free, 200 IM and 50 free on the schedule for this morning.

Cal had a strong start to the meet on opening night, winning both relays — included lowering a 2009 meet record in the 400 medley. However, with the diving portion of this meet having already been contested, the Bears still sit in last place, though that shouldn’t last for long.

Stanford senior Grant Shoults enters the day with a chance to win a fourth title in the 500 free, having also won in 2017, 2018 and 2020 (having taken a redshirt in his junior year). Dating back to the first Pac-12 Championship meet in 1961, several swimmers have won this event three times, but no one has ever had four.

Shoults will have his work cut out for him with top seed Trenton Julian appearing to be on top form in last night’s 800 free relay, while Zach YeadonBrooks Fail and freshman teammate Preston Forst will also likely be in the mix.

The 200 IM looks to be pretty wide open. Cal’s Daniel Carr is the defending champion, while Arizona sophomore David Schlicht holds the top seed at 1:42.97.

Cal’s Ryan Hoffer will look to defend his 2020 title in the 50 free, with freshman teammate Bjorn Seeliger figuring to be a factor after his 41.21 100 free relay leg on Night 1.

TEAM SCORES (THRU DAY 1 + DIVING)

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

500 Free Prelims

  • 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. Brooks Fail (Arizona), 4:13.81
  2. Trenton Julian (Cal), 4:14.54
  3. Zach Yeadon (Cal), 4:14.59
  4. Grant Shoults (Stanford), 4:15.48
  5. Sean Grieshop (Cal), 4:15.79
  6. Preston Forst (Stanford), 4:16.90
  7. Colby Mefford (Cal), 4:18.62
  8. True Sweetser (Stanford), 4:19.43

Arizona senior Brooks Fail won the first circle-seeded heat in 4:13.81, ultimately earning him the top seed for tonight’s final. Fail went well under his season-best of 4:15.35 from December, moving into 12th in the national rankings.

Last season’s third place finisher also negative-split the race, out in 2:07.46 at the 250 before closing in 2:06.35. Out of the eight finalists, his front-half was only sixth-fastest. He’ll also be the only non-Cal or Stanford swimmer in the championship heat.

Stanford freshman Preston Forst touched second in the heat in 4:16.90 for sixth overall, establishing a new PB after going 4:17.32 at November’s Stanford Invite.

A trio of seniors led Heat 3, with 2020 ACC champion Zach Yeadon — who transferred to Cal from Notre Dame in the summer — pacing defending champ Grant Shoults and Cal’s Sean Grieshop in 4:14.59. Yeadon holds a best time of 4:10.39 from the 2020 ACC Championships, and had been as fast as 4:14.90 this season back in November. He qualified third overall, with Shoults fourth and Grieshop fifth.

In the final heat it was Cal’s Trenton Julian, last season’s runner-up, winning easily in 4:14.54 to claim Lane 5 tonight. The 22-year-old senior was slightly faster in 4:14.08 on Feb. 19 in the Bears’ dual with Stanford, so he should have more in the tank for the final.

200 IM Prelims

  • 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), 1:41.82
  2. Alex Liang (Stanford), 1:43.24
  3. Jonny Affeld (Stanford), 1:43.42
  4. Shane Blinkman (Stanford), 1:43.53
  5. David Schlicht (Arizona), 1:43.68
  6. Sam Iida (Arizona), 1:43.78
  7. Ogi Maric (Arizona), 1:44.52
  8. Daniel Carr (Cal), 1:44.91

Cal junior Hugo Gonzalez dropped the third-fastest swim of his career (and quickest since 2018) to lead the 200 IM heats in 1:41.82, a time just .03 shy of the winning time last year.

Gonzalez’s swim ranks him eighth in the NCAA this season, and he only needs to take another half-second off to jump into second. The former SEC champion with Auburn has only competed once for the Bears this season (against USC on Jan. 30), which included him swimming the 200 IM in 1:46.14.

Last season, Gonzalez was disqualified in the 200 IM prelims at Pac-12s for a false start, going on to win the conference title in the 400 IM later in the meet.

Placing second to Gonzalez in Heat 4 was Stanford senior Alex Liang, who broke 1:44 for the first time in 1:43.24, qualifying second for the final.

In Heat 5, Cardinal freshman Jonny Affeld (1:43.42) and sophomore Shane Blinkman (1:43.53) both dropped sizeable bests to qualify third and fourth overall.

Top seed David Schlicht of Arizona won the final heat for fifth overall in 1:43.68, just ahead of senior teammate Sam Iida (1:43.78), while defending champ Daniel Carr of Cal squeaks into the ‘A’ final in eighth.

Third and seventh last year, Cal’s Bryce Mefford (1:45.01) and Reece Whitley (1:45.17) placed ninth and 10th overall and will contest the consolation heat tonight.

50 Free Prelims

  • 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. Bjorn Seeliger (Cal), 18.88
  2. Ryan Hoffer (Cal), 19.00
  3. Marin Ercegovic (Arizona), 19.45
  4. Nikola Miljenic (USC), 19.47
  5. Cooper DeRyk (Utah), 19.64
  6. Mason Gonzalez (Stanford), 19.74
  7. Luke Maurer (Stanford), 19.79
  8. Nate Biondi (Cal), 19.87

Following up on his 41.2 relay split last night, Cal freshman Bjorn Seeliger exploded this morning in the 50 free heats, taking .35 off his best time in 18.88 to tie for the second-fastest time in the NCAA this season. The 21-year-old Swedish native had swam his previous best time of 19.23 at Cal’s dual with Stanford in November.

Four of the five-fastest men in the NCAA this season are first-year swimmers. Florida’s Adam Chaney leads the pack at 18.76, followed by UVA freshman Matt Brownstead (and now Seeliger) at 18.88, and then Alabama first-year Matt King is now fifth at 18.96.

Defending Pac-12 champion Ryan Hoffer, the only upperclassman to have broken 19 seconds this season, qualifies second for the final in 19.00. Hoffer swam a time of 18.97 in November.

Fourth and fifth last year, Arizona’s Marin Ercegovic and USC’s Nikola Miljenic qualified third and fourth in 19.45 and 19.47, respectively. Both were within range of their personal best times (Ercegovic-19.36, Miljenic-19.35).

Qualifying fifth was Utah junior Cooper DeRyk, slipping under his 2019 best time by .02 in 19.64. DeRyk is now less than three-tenths off the Utes’ school record of 19.36 set by Nick Soedel in 2014. DeRyk placed 10th as a sophomore.

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Bears Swim Fan
3 months ago

Go Bears!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🐻💙💛

ole 99
3 months ago

Is there a prelim stream? Pac-12 website only shows finals.

Joe
Reply to  ole 99
3 months ago

don’t think so 🙁

Rafam
Reply to  ole 99
3 months ago

😭😭😭😭

So confused
Reply to  ole 99
3 months ago

I hate that. Their parents miss watching them swim. I wish they would live stream both prelims and finals.

Houston
3 months ago

Just curious – why is this meet at Houston instead of at one of the PAC-12 schools? I mean Houston’s pool is nice but it hardly seems like a central location.

Admin
Reply to  Houston
3 months ago

Every single Pac-12 pool (with a varsity program) is outdoors except for Washington State. Outdoor meets come with issues of weather. In the most typical of meets, conferences and coaches are averse to weather risks. In this period of time, where delays can make things really complicated, even moreso.

Besides the fact that for some Pac-12 schools, Houston is actually closer and more convenient than Pullman, the Gibb Pool at Washington State doesn’t have the warmup/cool-down space (or probably the deck space) to host a meet like this.

Utah Swammer
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 months ago

Utah is indoor. But it’s also at 5000 feet elevation.

Admin
Reply to  Utah Swammer
3 months ago

Good spotting.

Houston
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 months ago

Nice intel, thanks Braden!

Horninco
Reply to  Houston
3 months ago

Because the west coast has had a problem getting indoor pools open a?
https://swimswam.com/pac-12-will-take-2021-mens-womens-swimming-championships-to-houston/

Last edited 3 months ago by Horninco
Taper is coming
Reply to  Houston
3 months ago

Red state baby. Gotta get away from the coronabros and Newsolini

BearlyBreathing
Reply to  Taper is coming
3 months ago

How fortunate we are that the city had power and running water at this time, then.

NC Fan
Reply to  BearlyBreathing
3 months ago

Don’t jinx it. Meet just started. AAC thought it was going well last year also before the water went out.

Peregrin Falcon
Reply to  Taper is coming
3 months ago

I am so happy the Red-“neck” states don’t want to inconvenience anyone. Party on!

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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