2021 Men’s Pac-12 Championships: Day 3 Finals Live Recap

2021 MEN’S  PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIPS

Cal juniors Hugo Gonzalez and Reece Whitley look primed to repeat as Pac-12 champions tonight in the 400 IM and 100 breast, while any one of Daniel CarrDestin Lasco and Bryce Mefford could win the 100 back for the Bears.

Where Cal’s unbeaten streak at this meet is really at risk comes in the 100 fly and 200 free, where several men are in the running for the victory.

Ryan Hoffer will look to win a seventh straight 100 fly crown for the Bears and defend his title, but he’ll need to be at his best with USC’s Nikola Miljenic leading the prelims in 45.59 and Stanford freshman Ethan Hu the fastest swimmer in the field this season at 45.47. Arizona senior Noah Reid will also be a factor after setting a lifetime best of 45.90 this morning.

In the 200 free, Trenton Julian comes in looking to repeat for Cal, coming off his standout showing in the 500 free where he set new meet and Cal school records. Cardinal freshman Preston Forst is a huge threat after splitting 1:31.68 on the 800 free relay (Julian was 1:31.52), and USC’s Alexei Sancov is riding high after setting his first best time in the event in three years on the relay lead-off (1:32.69). The Trojan junior was also the fastest in the prelims in 1:32.97.

The session will finish up with the 200 medley relay, where Cal will aim for a fifth straight title. Carr and Hoffer have both featured on the last three winning teams, while Whitley has been on the last two. We’ll likely see Hoffer on fly (he’s done free each of the past three seasons) and freshman Bjorn Seeliger on the freestyle.

Also note that while finals are listed as started at 6:00 pm Central time, tonight’s heat sheets indicate that the first heat of the session, the 400 IM consolation final, won’t hit the water until 6:25.

TEAM SCORES (THRU DAY 2 + DIVING)

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

400 IM FINAL

  • Pac-12 Record: 3:35.29, Abrahm DeVine (STAN), 2018
  • Pac-12 Championship Record: 3:36.60, Hugo Gonzalez (CAL), 2020
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 3:39.16
  • 2020 Champion: Hugo Gonzalez (CAL), 3:36.60
  1. Hugo Gonzalez (Cal), 3:37.31
  2. David Schlicht (Arizona), 3:39.59
  3. Sean Grieshop (Cal), 3:41.30

Hugo Gonzalez slowly but surely pulled away from Arizona’s David Schlicht in the final of the 400 IM, turning nine-tenths clear of him at the 200 before extending the lead to two seconds on breast, to win a second consecutive Pac-12 title in a time of 3:37.31.

Gonzalez’s time stands up as the third-fastest of his career, having set a best of 3:35.76 at the 2018 SECs and then recording a Pac-12 Championship Record of 3:36.60 last season. Th Cal junior’s swim tonight moves him up from fourth to second in the NCAA this season, trailing Texas’ Carson Foster (3:35.27), and also ranks in a tie for the 21st-fastest ever.

This also marks a ninth straight victory in the men’s 400 IM for the Golden Bears, the longest in the event’s history.

Schlicht touched a comfortable second in 3:39.59, marking his first time under 3:40. The Wildcat sophomore had previously been 3:40.14 at the 2019 Pac-12s where he was also the runner-up. The Australian native is the sixth swimmer sub-3:40 this season.

Cal senior Sean Grieshop had the fastest closing in the field at 24.82 to solidify third in 3:41.30, improving on his season-best of 3:42.69 set in November. Another fourth-year swimmer, Stanford’s Alex Liang, hit his second-fastest swim ever for fourth in 3:42.44, breaking free from Cal junior Chris Jhong (3:44.46) on the free leg.

Following best times in the prelims, freshmen Tyler Kopp (Cal) and Rick Mihm (Stanford) improved once again tonight for sixth and seventh, clocking 3:45.67 and 3:45.76, respectively.

After sitting in fifth after diving, Cal officially takes over the team lead for the first time after winning the first seven swimming events of the meet, sitting with 399 points to Stanford’s 369.

100 FLY FINAL

  • Pac-12 Record: 44.18, Austin Staab (STAN), 2009
  • Pac-12 Championship Record: 44.66, Austin Staab (STAN), 2011
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 45.05
  • 2020 Champion: Ryan Hoffer (CAL), 44.85
  1. Ryan Hoffer (Cal), 45.22
  2. Nikola Miljenic (USC), 45.33
  3. Noah Reid (Arizona), 45.67

Ryan Hoffer‘s front-end speed served him well in the 100 fly final, as the Cal senior got out to an early lead, turning in 20.78 at the 50.

Up by about half a second at the 75, Hoffer only had the sixth-fastest final 25 in the field, but it didn’t matter as he held on to defend his title in a time of 45.22, .11 clear of USC’s Nikola Miljenic.

Hoffer’s time improves on his season-best of 45.69 set in the prelims, ranking him ninth in the NCAA in 2020-21. It’s also the seventh straight win in the event for the Golden Bears, and keeps their perfect record at the meet intact, having won all eight swimming events so far.

Miljenic, a senior who broke 46 for the first time this morning in 45.59, took off another quarter-second to slide into 11th in the country in 45.33, and Arizona fourth-year Noah Reid also lowered his best time for the second time today in 45.67 for fourth. Reid was the fastest swimmer in the field over the final 50 yards (24.24).

A pair of Cardinal freshmen in Ethan Hu (45.78) and Jonny Affeld (46.17) took fourth and fifth, with Affeld’s time edging out his best time from the heats (46.21).

Junior Cooper DeRyk dropped a personal best and Utah school record out of the ‘C’ final, clocking 46.00 to erase the mark of 46.07 set by Alexandre Fernandes in 2014. DeRyk’s previous PB was a 46.66 from the 2020 Pac-12 prelims, ultimately placing 10th in the final.

200 FREE FINAL

  • Pac-12 Record: 1:30.14, Andrew Seliskar (CAL), 2019
  • Pac-12 Championship Record: 1:31.07, Andrew Seliskar (CAL), 2019
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:32.05
  • 2020 Champion: Trenton Julian (CAL), 1:33.17
  1. Alexei Sancov (USC), 1:32.20
  2. Trenton Julian (Cal), 1:32.29
  3. Preston Forst (Stanford), 1:33.23

The 200 free final was an absolutely wild affair, with four men flipping within a tenth of each other at the 100 in 45-low, led by defending champ Trenton Julian at 45.07.

USC junior Alexei Sancov turned on the jets on the third 50, splitting a field-best 23.53 to take over the lead before holding off Julian down the stretch for the victory in 1:32.20. This is Sancov’s second PB in the event at this meet, having gone 1:32.69 leading off the 800 free relay on Sunday night. Prior to that, he hadn’t achieved a best time in the 200 free for three years, with his 1:32.80 dating back to 2018.

This is also the 21-year-old Moldovan’s first Pac-12 title, and ends Cal’s run of winning every event at the meet. He now ranks fifth in the NCAA this season, factoring in Paul Delakis‘ 1:31.90 relay lead-off today at Big Tens.

Julian was less than a tenth back for second in 1:32.29, also his second personal best time of the meet after going 1:32.98 in the heats. He set his previous PB winning the event last season in 1:33.17.

Stanford freshmen Preston Forst moved up from fifth to third with a 23.74 third 50, and held off first-year teammate Luke Maurer to take third in 1:33.23, with Maurer fourth in 1:33.38. Forst’s time ties his best set in the heats, and Maurer was a tenth slower than his fastest-ever set leading off the 800 free relay.

Arizona’s Daniel Namir finishes fifth for a second straight year, clocking 1:33.47 to narrowly miss his PB set leading off the Sunday’s relay (1:33.66). Cal freshman Destin Lasco made it six swimmers under 1:34, touching in 1:33.73.

Cal sophomore Colby Mefford, younger brother of Bryce, won the ‘B’ final in a personal best time of 1:34.04, which is under the time required to earn an NCAA invite last season (1:34.07). This included a scintillating back-half of 47.54, which would rank third among all ‘A’ finalists. Mefford came into the day with a best of 1:35.02, and had lowered that to 1:34.53 in the heats.

100 BREAST FINAL

  • Pac-12 Record: 50.04, Kevin Cordes (ARIZ), 2014
  • Pac-12 Championship Record: 50.78, Carsten Vissering (USC), 2019
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 51.67
  • 2020 Champion: Reece Whitley (CAL), 50.85
  1. Reece Whitley (Cal), 51.38
  2. Sam Iida (Arizona), 51.97
  3. Daniel Roy (Stanford), 52.06

Reece Whitley made it back-to-back wins in the 100 breaststroke, getting under his season-best time in 51.38 to tie for fifth in the country this season.

The Cal junior’s time is also identical to what he went in the 2019 final as a freshman, placing second to USC senior Carsten Vissering, ultimately going on to clock 51.11 at NCAAs for fourth. Last year Whitley won the event in 50.85.

Arizona senior Sam Iida took more than a second off his personal best time to slide past Daniel Roy for second, completely skipping the 52s to take his best time down from 53.02 (done this morning) to 51.97. Iida came into the meet with a PB of 53.11 from February 2019. Last season, Iida swam the 400 IM on Day 3 of this meet, placing ninth.

Roy, a Stanford sophomore who set a best of 52.39 in the heats, lowered that down to 52.06 for third.

Cal freshman Forrest Frazier followed up his prelim PB of 52.46 by taking fourth in 52.64, and Utah’s Andrew Britton lowered his own school record of 52.95 in 52.77 to take fifth for the second straight season.

100 BACK FINAL

  • Pac-12 Record: 43.49, Ryan Murphy (CAL), 2016
  • Pac-12 Championship Record: 44.14, Zachary Poti (ASU), 2020
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 44.95
  • 2020 Champion: Zachary Poti (ASU), 44.98
  1. Destin Lasco (Cal), 45.30
  2. Daniel Carr (Cal), 45.35
  3. Bryce Mefford (Cal), 45.38

Cal freshman Destin Lasco executed the final turn and timed his finish perfectly to win his first individual Pac-12 title in the 100 back, edging out senior teammates Daniel Carr and Bryce Mefford in a time of 45.30.

Lasco’s time is the second-fastest of his career, trailing his mid-season 45.21 that ranks him 10th in the country.

Carr and Mefford go 2-3 in this event for the second straight year, putting up respective season-best times of 45.35 and 45.38 to rank them 12th and 13th in the NCAA. Mefford’s swim also ties his personal best set at the 2019 NCAAs.

Arizona sophomore Ogi Maric picks up fourth place in 46.12, just over two-tenths shy of his PB set leading off Sunday’s 400 medley relay (45.90).

TEAM SCORES (THRU 100 BACK)

  1. Cal, 600
  2. Stanford, 523
  3. Arizona, 434
  4. Utah, 313
  5. USC, 274

200 MEDLEY RELAY TIMED FINAL

  • Pac-12 Record: 1:21.82, USC, 2018
  • Pac-12 Championship Record: 1:22.16, Cal, 2020
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:24.30
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut: 1:24.97
  • 2020 Champion: Cal (Carr, Whitley, Sendyk, Hoffer), 1:22.16
  1. Cal, 1:22.74
  2. Utah, 1:24.23
  3. Arizona, 1:24.64

The Cal men easily claimed their fifth straight victory in the 200 medley relay, with seniors Daniel Carr and Ryan Hoffer hitting the career grand slam with four conference titles.

Carr was far and away the fastest swimmer on the lead-off leg in 21.11, and then Reece Whitley (23.38) and Hoffer (19.87) maintained their advantage over Utah’s pace (from the earlier heat) before freshman Bjorn Seeliger dropped a blistering 18.38 on the anchor leg.

The Bears’ final time of 1:22.74 ranks them third in the NCAA this season, with Michigan overtaking the #1 spot earlier this evening at Big Tens in 1:22.35.

Utah established its third school record of the session from the penultimate heat, clocking 1:24.23 to erase the previous mark of 1:24.39 set in 2018. This ultimately earned the team second place overall, beating out Arizona’s 1:24.64 from Heat 3.

The team had strong splits all-around from Andrei Ungur (21.85), Andrew Britton (23.28), Cooper DeRyk (19.85) and Finn O’Haimhirgin (19.21). Both Britton and DeRyk, who set program records earlier in the night in the 100 breast and 100 fly, had the fastest splits in the field on their respective strokes.

In beating fourth-place USC (1:25.62), the Utes further their grasp on fourth place in the team standings.

Arizona had a sub-19 anchor leg from Marin Ercegovic in 18.95, and their ‘B’ team also had the second-fastest breast leg in the field, with Ryan Foote splitting 23.37.

Neither USC or Stanford (1:25.88) hit the ‘B’ cut necessary to swim this relay at NCAAs.

TEAM SCORES (THRU DAY 3 + DIVING)

  1. Cal, 640
  2. Stanford, 551
  3. Arizona, 466
  4. Utah, 347
  5. USC, 304

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He Said What?
1 month ago

No livestream tonight? Pac-12 site says no livestream. Hope this is wrong.

BearlyBreathing
Reply to  He Said What?
1 month ago

I think it starts at 4:30 Pacific Time
Edit: from the Pac-12 website
https://xs.pac-12.com/2021-02/2021%20Men's%20Swimming%20Championships%20-%20How%20to%20Watch.pdf

Last edited 1 month ago by BearlyBreathing
New Cal Dad
Reply to  James Sutherland
1 month ago

It will only be broadcast on the PAC-12 network. It won’t be live streamed on PAC-12.com…

Kitajima Fan
Reply to  He Said What?
1 month ago

I’m not seeing anything on the website’s schedule for today or any of the days to come

Hint of Lime
Reply to  Kitajima Fan
1 month ago

Now seeing live stream here: https://pac-12.com/mens-swimming-diving/event/2021/03/02/pac-12-championships-day-3 (after the women’s day 4 footage replayed).

Kitajima Fan
Reply to  Hint of Lime
1 month ago

Thanks broski

Bub
Reply to  GA Fan
1 month ago

You’re a lifesaver, king

bobthebuilderrocks
1 month ago

Amy Van Dyken is surprised that Schlicht didn’t catch Hugo on the breast, lol. I guess she hasn’t seen his 200 breaststrokes

Hint of Lime
Reply to  bobthebuilderrocks
1 month ago

Amy with the real question: “Is the necklace staying on or off at the big meet?” LOL

bobthebuilderrocks
Reply to  Hint of Lime
1 month ago

That is a good question, haha. I don’t remember him wearing it at the 2018 NCAA’s, but also that was three years ago 0_0

I_Said_It
1 month ago

Of course my provider isn’t available. Last night no problem, tonight no live stream.

Grant Drukker
Reply to  I_Said_It
1 month ago

Hey I was able to watch last night, not able to this night. However, I tried through mobile and clicked “View on web” and it worked!

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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