Cal Men Go 1-2-3-4-5-6 in 200 Back at Pac-12s, Led by Freshman Destin Lasco


The Cal Golden Bears took the top 6 places in the 200 backstroke at the Pac-12 Championships on Wednesday as part of the final-day effort that is expected to see the Bears in 17 out of 18 individual events at the meet (pending the outcome of the finale 400 free relay, where they’re heavily favored).

The group was led by freshman Destin Lasco, who swam 1:38.13. That time improves upon his previous personal best of 1:39.60 swum in November. He was already ranked #2 in the nation, behind only Texas A&M’s Shaine Casas (1:36.54), but the gap between Lasco and everyone besides Casas is beginning to grow.

Lasco’s swim ranks him as the 3rd-fastest freshman ever in the event, behind only Ryan Murphy and Austin Katz.

Top Freshmen in History, 200 Yard Backstroke:

  1. Ryan Murphy, Cal, 2014 – 1:37.35
  2. Austin Katz, Texas, 2018 – 1:37.53
  3. Destin Lasco, Cal, 2021 – 1:38.13
  4. Bryce Mefford, Cal, 2018 – 1:38.43
  5. Hugo Gonzalez, Auburn*, 2017 – 1:39.05

Note: Gonzalez swam at Auburn as a freshman, though he’s now a Cal Golden Bear.

The two swimmers ahead of him won NCAA titles as freshmen.

While the present edition of the Pac-12 isn’t as deep as it has been, especially with Arizona State redshirting the entire season because of the coronavirus pandemic, but these teams are legitimately fast. They represent 6 of the top 12 times in the nation so far this season, with still the Big Ten 200 back left to be swum.

  1. Destin Lasco (Cal), freshman, 1:38.13
  2. Daniel Carr (Cal), senior, 1:38.81
  3. Hugo Gonzalez (Cal), junior, 1:39.18
  4. Bryce Mefford (Cal), senior, 1:40.08
  5. Colby Mefford (Cal), sophomore, 1:40.50
  6. Sebastian Somerset (Cal), sophomore, 1:40.62

While 5 of the names on that list were expected to be that fast, the big breakthrough is the 6th-place finisher Somerset. His best time coming into the meet was a 1:42.24 at last year’s Pac 12 Championships.

A native Canadian, Somerset’s best long course time of 2:00.12 was done in April of 2018.

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tea rex
1 year ago

Lasco is listed as 6’2″, but he swims much taller than that. Long, powerful stroke – a beauty.

Observation 101
1 year ago

I’m so jelly I’m not part of that squad. Put me at 7 plz

1 year ago

Bobo Gigi has to be happy with Lasco. He used to talk about him all the time.

1 year ago

Where is Bobo Gigi? Have not seen him for a while. I hope he is OK with Covid-19 and all.

1 year ago

If Carr and Medford come back for another year Cal could have 6-7 guys all under 1:40 👀

1 year ago

This is kind of off topic but I just noticed that Jack Levant hadn’t been swimming. Anyone know why he’s not?

Reply to  Swimmer
1 year ago

He came out that he was going through some mental health struggles. That was back in 2019 though, I hope he’s doing ok now. Just as a human being, like mental health comes before swimming

Reply to  PVSFree
1 year ago

Completely agree. I do remember him being set to compete at ncaa before it was canceled last year.

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of 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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