Men’s 200 Medley Relay
The Cal men’s team has a lot of options in this 200 medley relay, and they completely overhauled the relay from what they went with at the mid-season Georgia Invite. Only Tom Shields was carried over from their mid-season rest meet (on the butterfly leg), but the new grouping worked out splendidly. The Golden Bears won this 200 medley in 1:25.09, which is the 4th-best time in the country this season.
Still, as a sign of the difference between this year’s squad and last year’s championship-winning group: they added the team’s best swimmer Tom Shields onto this relay (he didn’t swim it last season), and were still more than second slower than they were at this same meet last season.
Still, the group of Mathias Gydesen, Nolan Koon, Shields, and Shayne Fleming had to have been happy to start the meet off with a win. They had a great back-half, as Shields split a 20.32 on the butterfly leg, and Fleming anchored in an 18.96.
Stanford defended their runner-up performance with a 1:25.46 that’s nearly identical to what they were at the same meet last year. They had great bookend swims with freshman David Nolan leading off in 21.46, and junior Aaron Wayne anchoring in 18.83.
Arizona took 3rd in 1:25.60 – more than a second slower than they were mid-season – which shows that even under a new coach, they are sticking with their old standards of training right through Pac 12’s. Their middle two legs, however, of Kelley Wyman (23.81) and Giles Smith (20.45) swam close to the same splits as they did mid-season, which is encouraging for them.
USC took 4th in 1:26.08 – also slower than they were mid-season. The good news is that the Trojans didn’t have to use any of their big guns aside from a lethal anchor from sophomore Vlad Morozov in 18.43, to get this 4th place finish. The challenge is that they also used Dimitry Colupaev, and because that relay was faster than this one, that’s the relay that will earn the invite. That means that the replacement breaststroker, Sergio Lujan-Rivera, a freshman who had a nice split of 24.17, would have to find an individual invite to NCAA’s, which will be difficult. It looks as though the Trojans will either have to time trial this race later in the meet, or be forced to put Colupaev back on it next month.
Utah was 5th in 1:27.81, marking a successful swim in their Pac-12 Championship debut. That shows what an increased level of competition can do for a program – that destroyed a school record set last year by over a second (and prior to last year, the old mark had stood for an astonishing 17-years.) That time unfortunately won’t earn an NCAA invite.
Other great splits: from USC’s B, Jeff Daniels anchored in a 19.11; and on Arizona’s B Kevin Cordes split a 24.18.
800 Free Relay
The Stanford men showed what a synergy between young and old can do when properly managed. They took this 800 free relay with two freshmen and two sophomores in 6:18.99, which is the 3rd-best time in the country this season.
David Nolan led off in a 1:34.40, and though there was no one spectacular leg, this well-balanced relay (Rob Andrew, Thomas Stephens, and David Mosko) swam four strong legs, which scores huge in March in this relay. Stephens was the pleasant surprise of that group – he hasn’t been the most highly touted in this incredible freshman class, but he had a big split of 1:35.19 on this relay’s third leg.
In 2nd, USC touched in 6:19.71, which should give them the 5th seed at NCAA’s. Dimitri Colupaev had a great leadoff in 1:33.97. This is a very young relay – two freshmen and two sophomores – that if matured together could conceivably chase an NCAA Record in 2014. That included matching 1:34.9’s from freshmen Chad Bobrosky and mid-season addition Cristian Quintero. That’s a pair that have been going at it for years at international-level competitions, and it’s fun to see them now as teammates still putting up nearly identical splits (only .01 apart).
Cal took 3rd in 6:20.20, with Shields’ leadoff of 1:33.82 the best time of the entire field, regardless of relay position. This is the one Cal relay that looks to be have made a big improvement since last year. Further reinforcing the Golden Bears’ re-emphasis on the middle-distance (after being all sprint last season), this is within a half-a-second of the school record in the race.
UCSB made their first big impact with a 4th-place finish in 6:24.55. That will leave them just on the outside of NCAA qualifying. Arizona in 5th swam a 6:26.64, which also won’t qualify. All four of the swimmers on this relay, however, should easily qualify otherwise (they didn’t swim this race at the mid-season invite, or any other race this year it appears, so this is their best time).
These standings include diving, which was completed last week, along with first day relay scores. Remember that right now, diving makes up over 40% of the scoring, so as those ratios shift, the scoring should clear up a little.
1. Stanford 221
2. Arizona 154
3. Utah 130
4. Cal 117
5. Arizona State 116
6. USC 89
7. UC-Santa Barbara 62
8. Cal Poly 49