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

2021 MEN’S  PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIPS

The University of California men’s team has gone a perfect six-for-six through two days of competition at the Pac-12 Championships, and they’ll look to keep the ball rolling on Day 3, where the Bears hold top seeds in four out of five individual events.

Junior Hugo Gonzalez is the top-ranked swimmer by more than four seconds in the 400 IM, where he’s in line to defend his title from last season, and his teammates Trenton Julian (200 free) and Reece Whitley (100 breast) are in the same position (top seed and defending champion).

Julian opted to race the 200 free over the 400 IM today, where he was seeded fourth. The senior has entered the medley event in each of the last two years at NCAAs, placing fifth in 2019.

In the 100 back, Cal junior Daniel Carr is the top returning swimmer after taking second to ASU’s Zachary Poti last season, but it’s Bear freshman Destin Lasco who comes in ranked first with his 45.21 from the mid-season dual between Cal and Stanford.

The 100 fly is the lone event where Cal doesn’t hold the top seed, as Cardinal freshman Ethan Hu leads the pack by virtue of his 45.47 done at the Stanford Invite in November.

Defending champion Ryan Hoffer, who already has an individual title in the 50 free under his belt here in Houston, comes in ranked third, while Arizona senior Noah Reid holds the #2 seed. In the 400 medley relay on Sunday, the three of them were within a tenth of each other on their fly splits, with Hoffer going 45.05 and Reid and Hu both splitting 45.11.

TEAM SCORES (THRU DAY 2 + DIVING)

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

400 IM Prelims

  • 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), 3:38.87
  2. David Schlicht (Arizona), 3:43.64
  3. Sean Grieshop (Cal), 3:43.77
  4. Chris Jhong (Cal), 3:44.88
  5. Alex Liang (Stanford), 3:46.56
  6. Rick Mihm (Stanford), 3:46.82
  7. Tyler Kopp (Cal), 3:47.25
  8. Jake Hand (Arizona), 3:48.37

Defending champion Hugo Gonzalez was a class above the field on back and breast in the prelims of the 400 IM, cruising in for the Heat 3 win in a time of 3:38.87 to qualify first for the final by almost five seconds.

This performance launches the 22-year-old Cal junior into fourth in the NCAA rankings this season, as it’s his first 400 IM of the 2020-21 campaign. It also gets him under the ‘A’ cut in a second event.

Prior to going 3:36.60 to win last year’s final, the Spaniard was 3:41.31 in the prelims.

Runner-up to Gonzalez in the 200 IM on Monday, Arizona’s David Schlicht won the second heat in 3:43.64 to claim Lane 5 in tonight’s final, with the redshirt sophomore holding a season-best of 3:40.93 from December.

Cal senior Sean Grieshop easily topped the opening heat in 3:43.77 for third overall, just over a second off his season-best of 3:42.69 that now ranks him 10th in the country. His junior teammate Chris Jhong, who set a best time in last year’s prelims in 3:41.41, qualified fourth in 3:44.88, his fastest swim of the season by three seconds.

A trio of freshmen — Stanford’s Rick Mihm, Cal’s Tyler Kopp and Arizona’s Jake Hand — locked down the final three spots in the ‘A’ final, all hitting personal best times. For Mihm and Hand, it was their first time cracking 3:50.

100 Fly Prelims

  • 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. Nikola Miljenic (USC), 45.59
  2. Ryan Hoffer (Cal), 45.69
  3. Ethan Hu (Stanford), 45.75
  4. Noah Reid (Arizona), 45.90
  5. Jonny Affeld (Stanford), 46.21
  6. Jarod Hatch (Cal), 46.58
  7. Ben Waterman (Utah), 46.60
  8. Brooks Taner (Arizona), 47.20

USC senior Nikola Miljenic went off in the penultimate heat of the 100 fly, throwing down a personal best time by nearly six-tenths to qualify first for tonight’s final in 45.59. The 22-year-old Croatian established his previous PB of 46.16 while placing sixth last season, and now slots himself into 13th in the national rankings.

2020 winner Ryan Hoffer produced his fastest time of the season from Heat 2 in 45.69 to qualify second overall, while top seed coming in Ethan Hu topped the final heat for third in 45.75. The Stanford freshman ranks 10th in the NCAA this season after going 45.47 in November.

Arizona senior Noah Reid hit a new best from Miljenic’s heat to advance in fourth, going 45.90 to lower his 45.95 from the 2019 Minneota Invite.

Fifth and sixth-place qualifiers, Cardinal freshman Jonny Affeld and Bear senior Jarod Hatch, also established PBs in making the ‘A’ final.

Cal’s six-year winning streak in this event will be on the line tonight.

200 Free Prelims

  • 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), 1:32.97
  2. Trenton Julian (Cal), 1:32.98
  3. Preston Forst (Stanford), 1:33.23
  4. Destin Lasco (Cal), 1:34.01
  5. Daniel Namir (Arizona), 1:34.18
  6. Grant Shoults (Stanford), 1:34.26
  7. Luke Maurer (Stanford), 1:34.28
  8. Zach Yeadon (Cal), 1:34.46

USC junior Alexei Sancov followed up his PB leading off the 800 free relay on Sunday (1:32.69) with another sub-1:33 swim in the 200 free prelims, getting out fast on the way to clocking 1:32.97 for the top seed.

Sancov’s time from the penultimate heat held up after a tight race between defending champion Trenton Julian and Stanford freshman Preston Forst in the last heat, as the two reeled off personal best times of 1:32.98 and 1:33.23, respectively, to advance in second and third. Julian’s previous best was set in winning the event last season at 1:33.17, while Forst destroys his 1:35.02 from the Stanford Invite in November.

Julian and Forst, who had the two fastest splits on Sunday’s 800 free relay (1:31.52 and 1:31.68, respectively), were the only swimmers in the field to keep all four 50s under 24 seconds.

It was a tight battle behind those three to get into the championship final, with fourth through 10th place separated by just .68. Cal freshman Destin Lasco leads the bunch after touching first in Heat 4, clocking 1:34.01 after setting a best of 1:33.28 leading off the 800 free relay.

Arizona’s Daniel Namir and Stanford’s Luke Maurer, who qualified fifth and seventh in 1:34.18 and 1:34.28, respectively, are also coming off recording lifetime bests leading off the relay (1:33.40, 1:33.28).

For Cardinal senior Grant Shoults, his time of 1:34.26 marks his fastest since December of 2017, and fellow fourth-year Zach Yeadon was only .07 off his PB to qualify eighth in 1:34.46.

In what was the first short course yard 200 free of his life, Cal freshman Bjorn Seeliger put up a solid time of 1:35.82 from Heat 2, ending up 12th overall. The Swedish native owns a long course best time of 1:53.24 set last year.

Nate Biondi went for a 50 free time in this event, touching in 19.54 to get under his 19.61 from last night. That marks his second-fastest swim ever, trailing only a 19.47 from the 2019 Pac-12s. While the times are expected to be a little slower this year, last season it took 19.32 to earn an NCAA invite.

100 Breast Prelims

  • 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), 51.87
  2. Daniel Roy (Stanford), 52.39
  3. Forrest Frazier (Cal), 52.46
  4. Sam Iida (Arizona), 53.02
  5. Andrew Britton (Utah), 53.29
  6. Mario Koenigsperger (USC), 53.33
  7. Jonathan Cook (Stanford) / Ty Wells (Arizona), 53.72

Defending champion Reece Whitley put together a very controlled morning swim of 51.87 to qualify first into the 100 breast final, touching just over three-tenths slower than his mid-season time. Whitley was 51.26 in last year’s prelims before winning the final in 50.85.

Stanford’s Daniel Roy and Cal’s Forrest Frazier threw down lifetime bests to qualify second and third, with Roy’s 52.39 lowering his 52.75 from November and Frazier’s 52.46 downing his 52.51 from December of 2018.

Arizona senior Sam Iida also dipped under his personal best for fourth in 53.02, having previously been 53.11 in a Feb. 2019 dual meet.

This may be the most balanced individual final we’ve seen so far, with all five schools getting at least one swimmer in the final and no one advancing more than two.

100 Back Prelims

  • 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. Daniel Carr (Cal), 45.48
  2. Destin Lasco (Cal), 45.74
  3. Bryce Mefford (Cal), 46.32
  4. Andrei Ungur (Utah), 46.37
  5. Shane Blinkman (Stanford), 46.64
  6. Ogi Maric (Arizona), 46.71
  7. Jack Kirby (USC), 47.16
  8. Sebastian Somerset (Cal), 47.31

Cal senior Daniel Carr registered a new season-best to claim the top seed into the 100 back final from Heat 2, flipping in a quick 22.03 at the 50 en route to a final time of 45.48. Carr had set his fastest time of the season just over a week ago at Cal’s dual with Stanford on Feb. 19 in 45.61.

Carr’s freshman teammate Destin Lasco, who ranks 10th in the NCAA this season at 45.21, won the final heat for the second-fastest time of the session in 45.74. This is Lasco’s second ‘A’ final qualification of the morning after taking fourth in the 200 free.

Bryce Mefford, who was third at last season’s meet behind ASU’s Zachary Poti and Carr, advances through in third in 46.32. Mefford should have more in the tank tonight given his 45.51 leading off the 400 medley relay on Sunday.

Wildcat sophomore Ogi Maric was the only other swimmer to crack 46 seconds leading off the 400 medley relay in 45.90, and he advances through in sixth (46.71).

Romanian Andrei Ungur, younger brother of former Utah swimmer Paul Ungur, qualified fourth overall in 46.37 for the Utes, going under his personal best of 46.57 set at the 2020 D2 NCAAs (before the meet got called off midway through to the COVID-19 outbreak). Ungur was competing for Carson-Newman University, where he spent his first two years of college.

Paul was the first individual Pac-12 medalist for Utah in 2018, winning the conference title in the 100 back.

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BearlyBreathing
1 month ago

Upvote if you think the Bears can win every event
Downvote if you’re wrong

bobthebuilderrocks
Reply to  BearlyBreathing
1 month ago

I gotta say, Ethan Hu is my pick in the 100 fly for tonight.

gkjhdslks
Reply to  bobthebuilderrocks
1 month ago

CCS section represent!

DLswim
Reply to  BearlyBreathing
1 month ago

Roy has a good chance in the 200 tomorrow

SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
Reply to  DLswim
1 month ago

Whitley is the big favorite imo.

Huntington Beach Bun
Reply to  DLswim
1 month ago

He is a very good LCM swimmer. 2:08 in LCM during the Covid restricted period. Stanford has only done 2 small meets this season and one time trial in November. Every time they return to campus, they have to quarantine for 10-14 days per SC county rules.

Reply to  BearlyBreathing
1 month ago

this is my favorite comment

Waterbear13
1 month ago

Anyone able to find a live stream for the morning swims? The link above leads to a Pac12 page saying “No Current Livestream” for me. I’ve tried clearing the cache and refreshing.

DLswim
Reply to  Waterbear13
1 month ago

I think only finals are being streamed.

Go Bears
Reply to  Waterbear13
1 month ago

you can get it by going to pac-12.com

Bears Swim Fan
1 month ago

GO BEARS!

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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