Andrei Minakov Swims 1:38.61 In the 200 Fly as Stanford Beats Cal

Cal vs. Stanford

  • February 24, 2024
  • Avery Aquatic Center, Stanford, California
  • Short Course Yards (25 yards), Dual Meet
  • Full Meet Results
  • Team Scores
    • #8 Stanford def. #2 Cal 170-130

The traditional final dual meet of the season took place on Saturday between the men’s swimming & diving teams from Pac-12 and Bay Area rivals Cal and Stanford. The Stanford men came away with their second victory in three years and their largest margin of victory since 2012, beating Cal 170-130.

The two teams appear to be heading into championship season with two very different approaches. Stanford is already bumping up close to their best times, while Cal, which is famously hyper-focused on NCAAs and long course racing (and rumors are abound of some of their stars going to the Westmont Pro Swim instead of Pac-12s), look more like typical dual-meet form.

Stanford’s Andrei Minakov had the best performance of the meet. First he won the 100 fly in 44.60, beating out his teammate Rafael Gu (45.17) and the World Championship bronze medalist from Cal Dare Rose (45.89).

Those times by Minakov would have been 7th at NCAAs last year.

His best result was in his other event though: he swam 1:38.61 in the 200 fly to beat out Rose by more than three seconds. Minakov’s 200 fly time ranks #2 in the NCAA this year behind only Arizona State freshman Ilya Kharun and would have won last year’s NCAA Championship.

That swim breaks Minakov’s own Stanford Record of 1:38.63 set in the team’s January 19 dual meet against Arizona State. This is only the fourth time in his career that Minakov has swum the 200 yard fly.

He was on fire throughout the meet. He split 19.73 on the fly leg as part of Stanford’s winning 1:23.35 in the 200 medley, which was just .03 seconds ahead of Cal.

Minakov was the difference-maker there and gave his freshman anchor Jonathan Tan the chance to hold off an 18.36 anchor from Cal’s Jack Alexy, the World Championship silver medalist in the 50 free last year.

That was Stanford’s best time of the year.

Minakov also split 41.32 on Stanford’s anchor (2:48.55), but Cal was up to the task this time, winning in 2:47.93.

Cal’s relay again included a big leg from Alexy, who led off in 41.52. That’s just-off the 41.40 he went at the Arizona State dual meet last month and is faster than all-but-seven other swimmers nationally.

Given what we expect about where Cal is with this meet, and that time, he’s due for something big in March.

He swam the 200 free, a secondary event, individually, placing 3rd in 1:33.08. His 2023 World Championships teammate Henry McFadden, a Stanford freshman, won in 1:32.62, and Luke Maurer of Stanford was 2nd in 1:32.81. That’s a new lifetime best for McFadden, and his third time sub-1:33 this season.

Maurer’s time was just two-tenths shy of his own personal best.

In a kind of odd result, Alexy then finished just 5th in the 50 free in 19.83 – missing the wall on his turn. That race was won by Cal’s Bjorn Seeliger, who just returned from the World Championships, in 18.88.

Seeliger also grabbed a win in the 100 free in 41.83, half-a-second ahead of Stanford’s Andres Dupont Cabrera (42.37) and Destin Lasco (42.40).

In total, Stanford won 9 out of 16 events, including a sweep of diving by Jack Ryan, but it was their silver and bronze medal swims that made the biggest difference. Stanford had 10 of each, as compared to just 6 of each for Cal, which begins to add up over a long meet.

Other Key Results:

  • Stanford junior Ron Polonsky won the 100 breast in 51.39 ahead of his sophomore teammate Zhier Fan (51.70). That swim for Polonsky is a quarter-of-a-second shy of his personal best, and the 1-2 was a big points swing to hold off Cal’s Liam Bell.
  • Cal senior Destin Lasco fought back Polonsky later in the meet in the 200 IM, swimming 1:41.28 to Polonsky’s 1:42.10. Lasco was faster on every leg of that swim than Polonsky except for one, the breaststroke, where Polonsky was eight-tenths better. That’s going to be his biggest weakness if he wants to pull an upset at NCAAs over defending World and NCAA Champion Leon Marchand.
  • Cal junior Gabriel Jett showed off his range by anchoring Cal’s 400 free relay in 41.75 and also winning the 500 free in 4:10.43. That’s about eight-tenths away from his lifetime best and is faster than he swam to place 6th at NCAAs last year.
  • Stanford went 1-2-3 in the men’s 200 breaststroke, racking up a huge 16-3 point event margin (the maximum possible barring DQs). That was led by Fan in 1:52.68.
  • Cal 5th year Colby Mefford won the 200 back in 1:41.97, beating out his freshman teammate Keaton Jones (1:42.11) in one of the best results for the Golden Bears on the day.

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Seth
1 month ago

I remember when no one could break 1:40, now we have a 1:38. Props to the man.

He also swam at the Masters Nationals last year and crushed it as well!

Jeb
1 month ago

Is Alexy split on that last relay real?

mds
1 month ago

Please stop with the canard that Cal never swims fast in dual meets or conference. That is simply untrue.

Aside from the few studs who usually already have their NCAA cuts(Lasco, Alexy, Rose, Seeliger, Jett sometimes hard to figure where to put), for the last several decades the Cal v Stanford dual has regularly produced VERY high quality dual meet swimming, followed by excellent conference swimming(where everybody but the real studs have to rest to qualify for the next meet) and then NCAA. They also, like most programs, swim quite well generally at their fall invitational.

It is true that they are often well below their best level at the remaining meets on their schedule;

They adjusted their pattern… Read more »

Flatlander
Reply to  mds
1 month ago

Nice breakdown mds!!! My guess is that Durden doesn’t “miss” when it comes to dual meet prep and slots of who goes where. Instead my money would be on the fact that he has specific plans for each guy and puts those plans ahead of the dual meet score. That takes some guts IMO, because he knows the internet trolls and sideline pundits (like us) will have opinions but he just doesn’t care…..he’s all about the master plan he has for each athlete and what they need that day/week/cycle. But man your analysis is solid!

Justin Pollard
Reply to  Flatlander
1 month ago

I’d bet on Durden caring absolutely 0 about the internet trolls & sideline pundits. That’s not something great coaches do.

Last edited 1 month ago by Justin Pollard
mds
Reply to  Justin Pollard
1 month ago

I agree with both Flatlander and Justin about Durden’s skill in season planning for each athlete.

Reid
Reply to  mds
1 month ago

Great insights, but I do wonder if Bell’s days of being competitive at the 200 are over. At this point he may be better off going all in on the sprints

mds
Reply to  Reid
1 month ago

I do not know Liam personally, just by observing his recent performances.

His PB is from winning the Consol at the ’22 NCAA, 1:51.36 (1:54.61 at .’22 conf.) By 2023 NCAA he was 27th at 1:53.76, after havng been 1:56.89 at conference. His ’22 PB would have qualified 7th in ’23 prelims.

He seemed to be making a comeback, at least in season, against ASU in swimming 1:54.01, nearly 3 seconds faster than his pre-rest best the prior year and only a quarter second off his ’23 season best. And he’s 0.61 faster than his conference SB in the season he did his PB,

In terms of “days being competitive” his SB is currently 27th and his PB would… Read more »

Reid
Reply to  mds
1 month ago

All valid points, missed the 1:54 at ASU. I just wonder if A finaling in all three events is on the table or if the focus will be on one or the other

Taa
Reply to  mds
1 month ago

you typed all that to prove my point. They don’t care about dual meet scores and they focus on getting their swimmers ready to swim fast in March. We all know that.

PACFAN
1 month ago

Craaaazy swim. Good to see Minakov back hitting his stride, I feel like he had a quiet couple years but this is the one that counts.

Ilya scares me though, I wouldn’t want to race him…
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Flatlander
1 month ago

Jett’s 4:10 500 free looked effortless on the livestream. And I heard he split 41 on a relay later. I know that pro group is probably in heavy training right now. That’s a seriously elite in season dual meet swim. Minakov is a beast, but it will be really impressive to see who can swim that 200 Fly at the end of a week long meet like NCAAs. Easily five or six guys who could tickle that 1:37 barrier, including Karun, Jett, Minakov, Rose and Burns, etc…..but my take is that it will just come down to who is the “freshest” based on not having the lightest race load without all kinds of other events to do.

Last edited 1 month ago by Flatlander
Caleb
Reply to  Flatlander
1 month ago

no one’s gonna sit out a bunch of races to be fresh for Sunday; they’re all going to swim trials/finals and a bunch of relays before they get to 200 Fly. I guess you might say Jett is at a disadvantage swimming longer events. Or that young guys like Kharun bounce back faster. Hard to see anyone beating Kharun actually… Minakov the only one with a shot, IMO. But it’s gonna be a much faster race than last year, down into the B Final.

Flatlander
Reply to  Caleb
1 month ago

Yeah Caleb, wouldn’t it be cool to see the 2Fly (and the other two hundreds for that matter) swum on day 1 when all of these guys are fresh? I think you’re right about Jett, I don’t know how many races he had last year at NCAAs before his 200 Fly, but it was at least two all out 500s, three all out 200 frees, and maybe one other relay? Add to that the emotion of a meet like that and these stroke guys have to be poooooped before they even get to prelims of their 200 of strokes!

mds
Reply to  Caleb
1 month ago

Caleb — the college meets generally end on Saturday.

mds
Reply to  Flatlander
1 month ago

Don’t forget the defending champion Hayes. And while it is nice to be fresh, the guys up for this event are most all multi-event monsters; Seems to me that Burns and Hayes have even done doubles quite a few times with significant success.

Taa
1 month ago

i was going to comment that Cal was back to their usual don’t care attitude about dual meets but then I saw Jett’s 4:10

snailSpace
Reply to  Taa
1 month ago

Yeah I was ecstatic about that one too because we now have two (2) male swimmers under the 500 free A cut for this season.

Michael Andrew Wilson
1 month ago

1:33.6 got 5th place at a dual meet in the 200 free. 🤯

Michael Andrew Wilson
Reply to  Michael Andrew Wilson
1 month ago

Also Jett 4:10 in the 500?! Damn.

Reply to  Michael Andrew Wilson
1 month ago

That was one of the most jarring events for me too. Fastest 200 free dual meet heat ever?

1:32.6
1:32.8
1:33.0
1:33.1
1:33.6
1:34.8
1:36.0
1:37.0
(and an unscored 1:36.8)

Just for fun, this is the 2012 Men’s NCAA ‘A’ Final

1:32.5
1:32.9
1:33.4
1:34.0
1:34.0
1:34.6
1:35.1
1:36.2

Last edited 1 month ago by Coleman Hodges
mds
Reply to  Coleman Hodges
1 month ago

How about just for fun we return to ASU @ Cal:
1:31.78 Jett
1:33.27 Hill
1:33.33 Hanson
1:33.52 Sammon
1:33.75 K Jones’
1:34.00 Behar
1:34.95 Hawk

Alot of fun heats around these days with the changed attitudes about swimming fast.

Caleb
1 month ago

is that a totally nude photo?

mds
Reply to  Caleb
1 month ago

He should have been disqualified for distracting other competitors!!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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