2021 Men’s Pac-12 Championships: Day 4 Finals Live Recap

2021 MEN’S PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIPS

It’s been a dominant showing from the get-go for the reigning NCAA champion Cal Golden Bears, as the men’s team has won 11 of 12 swimming events through the first three days of competition at the Pac-12 Championships.

They kept the ball rolling at this morning’s prelims, pushing 14 swimmers into ‘A’ finals, including six in the 200 back.

Cal has a great chance to go 17-for-18 overall if they can run the table tonight, with the mile being the only event in which the Bears don’t occupy the #1 seed. However, they do have Zach Yeadon, the second-fastest swimmer in the country last season.

The 2020 ACC champion will face Stanford’s True SweetserJohannes Calloni and Grant Shoults in the fastest timed final heat, along with defending champion Brooks Fail of Arizona and Cal teammate Sean Grieshop.

Ryan Hoffer and Reece Whitley are favored to defend their respective titles in the 100 free and 200 breast, with Hoffer potentially getting a challenge from freshman teammate Bjorn Seeliger after his 41.21 split on the Sunday’s 400 medley relay. A win would see Hoffer go a perfect three-for-three individually.

Any one of four Bears could walk away with the 200 back title: 100 back winner Destin Lasco, defending champ Daniel Carr, 2019 gold medalist Bryce Mefford, and Hugo Gonzalez, who has a chance to win a third individual event after sweeping the medley races earlier.

In the 200 fly, Trenton Julian will go head-to-head with Alexei Sancov for the second straight night after the USC junior pulled out the win in the 200 free on Tuesday. Sancov set a PB in the heats at 1:41.94, but Julian has been 1:39.93 this season and comes in favored to take the title after placing second last season.

Powered by Hoffer and Seeliger, Cal will be tough to dethrone in the 400 free relay, though Stanford won’t go down easily after putting three men into the individual 100 free final.

TEAM SCORES (THRU DAY 3 + DIVING)

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

1650 Free Timed Final

  • Pac-12 Record: 14:24.35, Chad La Tourette (Stanford), 2012
  • Pac-12 Championship Record: 14:33.96, Nick Norman (Cal), 2019
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 14:37.31
  • 2020 Champion: Brooks Fail (Arizona), 14:44.60
  1. Zach Yeadon (Cal), 14:33.69
  2. Brooks Fail (Arizona), 14:44.43
  3. Grant Shoults (Stanford), 14:49.12

Cal senior Zach Yeadon picks up his first individual Pac-12 title with a decisive win in the 1650 free, opening up a big lead early on the way to topping the field by almost 11 seconds in 14:33.69.

The ACC champion in this event last season when he was at Notre Dame, Yeadon records the third-fastest swim of his career to move into fourth in the NCAA this season, having gone a best of 14:27.93 in that race one year ago.

Cal has now won this event in three of the last four years, with Nick Norman picking up titles in 2018 and 2019, after never having won the 1650 since the first Pac-12 Championship in 1961 prior to that.

Last year’s Pac-12 champion Brooks Fail of Arizona sat in third for the majority of the race, but eventually ran down Stanford’s Grant Shoults, overtaking his fellow senior with about 300 to go to claim second in 14:44.43. That is Fail’s third-fastest swim ever, and quicker than he was in his win last season (14:44.60), to rank him eighth in the country.

For Shoults, it’s his fastest swim in nearly three years, clocking 14:49.12 for third, a repeat of his position last season.

Cardinal junior True Sweetser ran down 2020 runner-up Sean Grieshop to snag fourth in 14:53.08, with Grieshop fifth in 14:54.95.

Cal freshman Tyler Kopp posted the top time by over 10 seconds in the early heats of the mile, lowering his best time by the same margin in 14:58.05. This swim ended up putting Kopp sixth overall.

Kopp had previously been 15:08.72 in December of 2018. His time is less than a second outside of what it took to earn an NCAA invite last season (14:57.07), with times expected to be slower this year.

200 BACK FINAL

  • Pac-12 Record: 1:35.73, Ryan Murphy (Cal), 2016
  • Pac-12 Championship Record: 1:37.87, Daniel Carr (Cal), 2020
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:39.16
  • 2020 Champion: Daniel Carr (Cal), 1:37.87
  1. Destin Lasco (Cal), 1:38.13
  2. Daniel Carr (Cal), 1:38.81
  3. Hugo Gonzalez (Cal), 1:39.18

It was a massive 1-2-3-4-5-6 finish for Cal in the 200 back, led by star freshman Destin Lasco who picks up his second win in as many nights in a scintillating time of 1:38.13.

The 19-year-old further lowers his best time of 1:39.03 set in the prelims (he came in with a best of 1:39.60), becoming the 11th-fastest performer in the history of the event while maintaining his #2 spot in the NCAA rankings this season.

This also makes him the third-fastest freshman ever, trailing only Ryan Murphy and Austin Katz, who both won the NCAA title in this event in their first year.

Lasco was only in sixth after the first 50, but managed to make his way through the field by keeping all of his 50 splits under 25 seconds, including closing in a blistering 24.48.

His senior teammate Daniel Carr, the defending champion, got out to the early lead in 48.35 at the 100, and was still .07 up on the freshman at the 150 before getting overtaken. Carr touched second in 1:38.81, and Hugo Gonzalez (1:39.18) also got under 1:40 as they move into third and fourth in the NCAA this season.

Carr’s best time is 1:37.87, the Pac-12 meet record set last season, and Gonzalez’s is a 1:39.05 from the 2017 UGA Fall Invitational, making this is the Spaniard’s second-fastest swim ever.

Bryce Mefford (1:40.08), Colby Mefford (1:40.50) and Sebastian Somerset (1:40.62) were fourth, fifth and sixth, giving Cal six swimmers inside the top-13 in the NCAA this season. The swimmers for Colby Mefford and Somerset, both sophomores, were best times.

100 FREE FINAL

  • Pac-12 Record: 40.76, Vladimir Morozov (USC), 2013
  • Pac-12 Championship Record: 41.38, Vladimir Morozov (USC), 2013
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 41.71
  • 2020 Champion: Ryan Hoffer (Cal), 41.45
  1. Ryan Hoffer (Cal), 41.57
  2. Marin Ercegovic (Arizona), 42.43
  3. Luke Maurer (Stanford), 42.61

Ryan Hoffer will be the only swimmer to sweep his individual events at the meet after repeating as champion in the 100 freestyle, blazing his way to a time of 41.57 to become the second-fastest swimmer in the NCAA this season.

The Cal senior held a lead of two-tenths on Arizona’s Marin Ercegovic at the 50 in 19.95, and then widened the gap with a back-half split of 21.62. Hoffer’s swim is the third-fastest of his career, trailing his 41.23 PB from 2015 and his winning time of 41.45 from last season.

Ercegovic, who took third last year, finished just over a tenth off his lifetime best to take second in 42.43, managing to hold off a hard-charging Luke Maurer of Stanford who took third. Maurer was the only swimmer other than Hoffer to come back under 22, finishing in a time of 42.61 to give the freshman his second personal best time of the day.

USC senior Nikola Miljenic took fourth in 42.84, adding a tenth from prelims, with fifth-place Mason Gonzalez being the only one outside of the top-three to go faster than the morning (42.99).

Utah’s Cooper DeRyk continued his strong meet by winning the ‘B’ final in 43.31 after setting a best time of 43.57 in the heats.

200 BREAST FINAL

  1. Reece Whitley (Cal), 1:48.86
  2. Daniel Roy (Stanford), 1:51.07
  3. David Schlicht (Arizona), 1:53.75

Cal junior Reece Whitley dominated the 200 breaststroke final from start to finish to win his second straight conference title in a time of 1:48.86, taking down Andrew Seliskar‘s Pac-12 Championship Record of 1:49.80.

Whitley’s swim stands up as the second-fastest of his career, having set a Pac-12 Conference Record of 1:48.53 earlier this season. That time from November is the third-fastest performance ever, and his swim tonight now slides into seventh all-time.

All-Time Top Performances, Men’s 200 SCY Breaststroke

  1. 1:47.91, Will Licon, Texas – 2017 NCAA Championships
  2. 1:48.12, Will Licon, Texas – 2016 NCAA Championships
  3. 1:48.53, Reece Whitley, Cal, Cal vs. Stanford Dual
  4. 1:48.66, Kevin Cordes, Arizona, 2014 NCAA Championships
  5. 1:48.68, Kevin Cordes, Arizona, 2013 NCAA Championships
  6. 1:48.70, Andrew Seliskar, Cal, 2019 NCAA Championships
  7. 1:48.86, Reece Whitley, Cal, 2021 Pac-12 Championships

Last season, Whitley was almost exactly a second slower in 1:49.85 when he won the Pac-12 title.

No one other than Whitley has been under 1:51 this season in the NCAA this season, but Daniel Roy came real close tonight, clocking 1:51.07 to repeat as the runner-up and set a new Stanford school record.

Roy, a sophomore, broke the Cardinal record in the event for the first time earlier this season in 1:51.64. Louisville senior Evgenii Somov had stolen his #2 ranking in the country at ACCs, clocking 1:51.26, but Roy takes that spot back with his time tonight. Roy is also now the 14th-fastest performer in history.

Arizona’s David Schlicht picks up his third podium finish of the meet here to place third, registering a time of 1:53.75 to set a new season-best and rank him 17th in the country. Schlicht took a redshirt season last year, and went a best of 1:52.33 at the 2019 NCAAs.

Seventh last year, Stanford sophomore Jonathan Cook moves up three spots to fourth this time around, breaking 1:55 for the first time in 1:54.65.

200 FLY FINAL

  • Pac-12 Record: 1:38.83, Zheng Quah (Cal), 2017
  • Pac-12 Championship Record: 1:39.15, Zheng Quah (Cal), 2020
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:40.76
  • 2020 Champion: Zheng Quah (Cal), 1:39.15
  1. Trenton Julian (Cal), 1:38.53
  2. Alexei Sancov (USC), 1:41.04
  3. Dare Rose (Cal), 1:42.13

It’s been a standout meet for Cal’s Trenton Julian, but he clearly saved his best for last as the senior stormed to one of the fastest 200 butterfly swims in history, putting up a scorching time of 1:38.53.

Julian blitzed the front-end of the race, splitting 22.04/24.73 to turn in 46.77 at the 100, ultimately closing in 51.76 (25.40/26.36). The time makes him the third-fastest performer in history, trailing only former Texas Longhorn stars Jack Conger (1:37.35) and Joseph Schooling (1:37.97), and it’s also the fourth-fastest performance ever, with Conger having a 1:38.06 swim under his belt as well.

While Julian went out fast at the 100, he was still almost a full second slower than the crazy pace Conger set when he broke the record (45.78 at the 100).

All-Time Performances, Men’s 200 Fly

  1. Jack Conger (Texas), 1:37.35 – 2017
  2. Joseph Schooling (Texas), 1:37.97 – 2016
  3. Jack Conger (Texas), 1:38.06 – 2016
  4. Trenton Julian (Cal), 1:38.53 – 2021

Coming into the meet, the 22-year-old Julian held a best time of 1:39.93, set in a dual meet with Stanford in November. He smashes that, along with the Pac-12 Conference record (and Cal school record) of 1:38.83 set by Zheng Quah in 2017, and the Pac-12 Championship Record of 1:39.15 set by Quah last season.

The runner-up to Quah last year, now owns the season’s top time by over half a second with Louisville’s Nicolas Albiero currently running second in 1:39.08.

After breaking 1:42 for the first time in the heats, USC’s Alexei Sancov took another nine-tenths off his lifetime best and Trojan school record to claim second in 1:41.04, only 1.53 seconds behind Julian at the 150 before falling off a bit coming home.

Cal freshman Dare Rose dropped more than a second off his PB from the prelims in 1:42.13 for third place, edging out Arizona senior Brooks Fail (1:42.37).

TEAM SCORES (THRU 200 FLY)

The top-three spots are locked in at this point, and it looks like Utah will hold off USC in the battle for fourth. Barring a Utah DQ in the 400 free relay, USC would need to win the event and Utah finish fifth for the Trojans to move into fourth (if USC won and Utah was fourth in the relay, the teams would tie for fourth in the team standings).

  1. Cal, 930
  2. Stanford, 758
  3. Arizona, 610
  4. Utah, 392
  5. USC, 382

400 Free Relay Timed Final

  • Pac-12 Record: 2:46.41, Cal, 2019
  • Pac-12 Championship Record: 2:46.92, Cal, 2020
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 2:51.11
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut: 2:52.46
  • 2020 Champion: Cal (Jensen, Sendyk, Carr, Hoffer), 2:46.92
  1. Cal, 2:48.66
  2. Arizona, 2:51.10
  3. USC, 2:51.35

The Bears finished the meet off with their 17th win over 18 events in the pool, topping the field in the 400 free relay by two and a half seconds in a time of 2:48.66.

Daniel Carr led them off in 43.01, and then Bjorn Seeliger rekindled his form from early in the meet, blazing a 41.43 split swimming second. The Swede handed off to fellow freshman Destin Lasco, who split 42.53 before Ryan Hoffer finished things off in 41.69. This is the third straight win in the event for both Cal and Hoffer.

The Bears are the sixth school to go 2:48-something during conference championship season, ranking fifth in the nation behind NC State, Alabama, Louisville, Texas and Florida.

Arizona got under the ‘A’ cut by .01 to claim second in 2:51.10, led by individual 100 free runner-up Marin Ercegovic who went 42.49 on the opening leg.

USC had a spirited effort from the penultimate heat, putting up a time of 2:51.35 which held up to beat out Stanford (2:51.52) in the last heat. Nikola Miljenic (42.30) and Alexei Sancov (42.45) had notable splits for the Trojans, while Stanford’s team was made up entirely of underclassmen, including three freshmen, all splitting sub-43.

Cardinal sophomore Mason Gonzalez, who broke 43 for the first time in the individual event tonight in 42.99, hit another best in 42.97 on the lead-off leg.

Five relay teams swam as exhibition, including a Cal ‘B’ team that included Nate Biondi setting a personal best time on the lead-off in 42.93, and notable splits from Hugo Gonzalez (42.26) and Trenton Julian (42.79).

FINAL TEAM SCORES

In the only real team race that was left coming into the final day, Utah holds off USC to take fourth place, giving the Trojans back-to-back last-place finishes.

  1. Cal, 970
  2. Stanford, 788
  3. Arizona, 644
  4. Utah, 420
  5. USC, 414

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SwimminIsGood
1 month ago

From MeetMobile, top 3 from first two heats:
1) Kopp – Cal: 14:58.05 (around 21st in nation…might qualify for NCAAs with that time/swim)
2) Imbus – Ariz: 15:08.56
3) Meehan – Cal: 15:14.77

Joe
Reply to  SwimminIsGood
1 month ago

Fail, Shoults, Sweetser, and Grieshop all passed Kopp, so he’s 25th…but with no Big 10 swimmers currently ahead of him. Depends on what happens in two days.

Bears Swim Fan
1 month ago

BRING IT HOME BEARS!!!!!

Poppin Ov
1 month ago

Anyone have a link to a stream?

kdswim
Reply to  Poppin Ov
1 month ago

The meet central site says 4:30 (6:30 Houston) on Pac12 network (does not mention website) wonder if they are coming in after the mile.

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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