The Cal men’s outlook for the 2021-2022 season has improved dramatically in the last few weeks, with two more All-Americans announcing that they will take advantage of the NCAA 5th year rule next season.
One is Sean Grieshop, who has raced for Cal for his 4 prior seasons of collegiate season. The other is Will Roberts, who swam his first 4 years of school at Michigan, but will transfer to Cal to use the 5th year.
They join Daniel Carr and Trenton Julian, who have also announced the decision to return. In total, that group of 4 swimmers combined for 106 points at the 2021 NCAA Championship meet.
The other big names that Cal is awaiting decisions from are Zach Yeadon, who scored 22 points at NCAAs last year, and Bryce Mefford, who scored 36 points at NCAAs last year. Mefford told SwimSwam on Monday that he was waiting to make his decision until after the upcoming Olympic Games, where he is qualified to race as the 2nd American in the 200 back behind another Cal Bear, Ryan Murphy.
The implication of Roberts’ decision is slightly different than the rest of the swimmers on that list. Under the terms of the NCAA waiver, student-athletes who transfer in order to use their 5th year of eligibility in the 2021-2022 season will have any scholarship money counted against the team’s maximum, which in this case is 9.9.
So while any scholarship money given to Julian, Grieshop, and Carr won’t count against Cal’s 9.9 limit, any scholarship money given to Roberts will.
In his 4-year Cal career, Grieshop earned 11 CSCAA All-America honors individually. That includes 5 top-8 finishes at the NCAA Championships.
He also has been a member of the last for U.S. National Teams in the 400 IM.
At the 2021 NCAA Championships, Grieshop placed 7th in the 500 free (4:11.82) and 3rd in the 400 IM (3:38.73). At the prior NCAA Championship meet in 2019, he placed 2nd in the 400 IM. The road in that 400 IM doesn’t get much easier next season. Out of the top 22 finishers at the NCAA Championships last season, only 3 were seniors. Out of those 3, two have confirmed they will swim again next season (Alex Liang of Stanford, who was 13th, has not made an announcement either way).
The other member of that group is Roberts, who will now team up with Grieshop at Cal. Swimming for the Michigan Wolverines, Roberts finished 16th in the 400 IM at NCAAs. That was a 4-second add from his time in prelims.
Roberts also placed 27th in the 1650 free and 50th in the 500 free at NCAAs.
While his 400 IM swim in prelims at NCAAs in 2021 to earn him a place in finals was a best time, he was short of his personal bests in the two distance freestyle events during his senior year. His bests in those races both came at the mid-season Minnesota Invite in the 2019-2020 season, before the 2020 NCAA Championships were ultimately canceled.
Grieshop’s Best Times in Yards:
- 200 free – 1:35.43 (Aug. 2019)
- 500 free – 4:10.29 (Mar. 2019)
- 1000 free – 8:51.27 (Dec. 2015)
- 1650 free – 14:35.82 (Mar. 2019)
- 200 IM – 1:46.58 (Dec. 2015)
- 400 IM – 3:37.03 (Mar. 2019)
Roberts’ Best Times in Yards:
- 500 free – 4:16.50 (Dec. 2019)
- 1000 free – 9:02.39 (Dec. 2019)
- 1650 free – 14:54.04 (Dec. 2019)
- 400 IM – 3:44.05 (Mar. 2021)
Both swimmers participated in the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials in June. Grieshop’s best finish came in the 400 IM, where he finished in 16th place, while Roberts was 20th in that same event.
Another current Cal swimmer, Tyler Kopp, placed 18th in that race after advancing as the Wave I winner.
The Cal Golden Bears placed 2nd at the 2021 NCAA Championship meet after winning the last pre-pandemic title in 2019. The Cal men have finished in the top 2 of the last 11 NCAA Championship meets.