Cal Stars Alexy, Rose, Lasco, and Jett Will Skip Pac-12 Championships for Pro Swim Series

Four of the Cal men’s swimming & diving team’s top swimmers will skip next week’s Pac-12 Championships to race at the USA Swimming Pro Swim Series meet in Westmont, Illinois, head coach Dave Durden told SwimSwam on Monday.

2023 World Championship team members Destin LascoDare Rose, and Jack Alexy, along with 2022-2023 US National Team member Gabriel Jett will take the opportunity to get another long course meet in before June’s Olympic Trials.

Durden said that he originally entered three-time Junior National Team member Keaton Jones in Westmont as well, but will probably scratch him to keep Jones “on the collegiate track.”

“It’s an opportunity to get another rep in long course before getting dialed in before this summer,” Durden said.

“It’s a balance, we try to make sure that their national team responsibilities are a priority during the Olympic year, and the conference and NCAA responsibilities may fall a tick below that.”

Durden compared the responsibilities of those US swimmers to that of, for example, Cal’s Bjorn Seeliger. Seeliger was away from the team, and school, while competing for his native Sweden at the World Championships, where he helped the country secure a relay spot for the Olympic Games.

Alexy and Rose were two of the breakout performers of the 2023 World Championships. Alexy won a gold, three silvers, and a bronze in Fukuoka, including individual silver medals in the 50 and 100 free. Rose took a bronze medal in the 100 fly.

Lasco finished 16th in the 200 back at Worlds, while Jett finished 5th in the 100 fly at the US National Championships and World Championship Team Trials.

Pac-12 Titles by these 4 swimmers last season:

Last season, the Arizona State men rose up and broke Cal’s five-meet Pac-12 Championship winning streak. Arizona State may have been favored over even a full-strength Cal team, but without four of their best swimmers, the Sun Devils are definite favorites to repeat as champions this year.

The Cal men did something similar in 2016, when they sent Ryan MurphyJosh PrenotJacob Pebley, and Canadian Jeremie DeZwirek to a Pro Swim Series meet in Orlando instead of the Pac-12 Championships. At that summer’s Olympic Games, Murphy went on to win three gold medals and set two Olympic Records, Pebley finished 5th in the 200 back, Prenot won silver in the 200 breast, and Dezwirek didn’t make the Canadian team.

The Pac-12 handbook has a rule titled “Maximum Effort” that says that “conference members are expected to compete in Conference championships in sports they sponsor, and coaches are expected to attempt to field their strongest team to compete in single site Conference championships.”

That clause doesn’t carry any consequences, nor really any mandatory action, using the word “expected” and not “required.”

The 2024 Pac-12 Men’s Swimming Championships will be held March 6-9 at the Weyerhauser King County Aquatic Center. That will be the last championship before all men’s swimming and diving members leave the conference for the Big 12, Big Ten, or ACC.

The 2024 Westmont Pro Swim Series will be held from March 6-9 at the FMC Natatorium in Westmont, Illinois.


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grant wellington
1 month ago

You guys are so soft. These Cal guys who are going to the PSS are about to put on for USA this summer, stop giving them hate for prepping for the Olympics. None of these undergrads have even made an Olympic team yet and I’m sure they want to do all they can to get them selves some hardware this summer.

1 month ago

I think this is so stupid. While I agree that their preparation is important for trials, they DO NOT need to go to this specific PSS and miss PAC-12. Marchand is swimming at conference, Guiliani is swimming at conference, along with many others that will be major threats at trials/olympics. I don’t care that they did it in 2016, I think Durden knows they are going to lose and just wants to throw the meet so Cal can make themselves feel a little bit better about it. They train in a lcm pool and can host their own time trial/meet or go to the plethora of meets in California any time they want. This is just dumb and if you… Read more »

1 month ago

Does Durden have a conference championship bonus in his employment agreement? I assume we wouldn’t know because it is a private institution, but these bonuses are seemingly very common. I doubt there are bonuses for the performance of these athletes at trials or the Olympics because it’s not NCAA sanctioned.

I suppose it shows selflessness from Durden…

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

Brain fart. Forgot they were public. Thank you for the insight into his contract.

I don’t know if I am surprised that he has bonuses tied to international teams. Of course a school would love to boast x number of Olympians attend(ed), but at what cost? The ultimate goal of the season becomes blurry.

In this scenario, it seems like it could cost them a conference championship. I think in twenty years we, the SwimSwam readers, will remember the Olympians, but I think the athletic department and school as a whole would prefer the conference championship.

Reply to  RealSlimThomas
1 month ago

I will expand my last thought. For good or for bad, I think swimming outsiders would consider an Olympian to be individual success, while a conference championship would be team success.

This Guy
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

While that money for conference champs is nice, it’s not enough to adjust the schedule you believe is best for the athletes.
At least considering his base pay and probable side income.

Reply to  RealSlimThomas
1 month ago

I first read this as “selfishness” and downvoted it…..then re-read it properly at “selflessness” and had to unclick my downvote and re-click my upvote!!!!

I agree, quite selfless and on par for Durden to give up a potential bonus to put others ahead of himself.

1 month ago

Why are people acting like they are skipping out on NCAA? It’s PAC-12 a meet where there top guys don’t even shave. They are more worried about National titles then PAC-12

Ole 99
Reply to  Swammer
1 month ago

Agreed. If you aren’t on the Cal swim team… what do you care? If you are on the cal swim team… you’re more likely to get to swim the championship meet. As you said, they are still swimming NCAA

1 month ago

This doesn’t really need 80+ comments it SOP for them

Boxall's Railing
1 month ago

Am fine with it and generally a fan of these particular guys, but if they’re going to the pro meet, I think they should have to swim the finals on the last day. 🙂

Reply to  Boxall's Railing
1 month ago

1st off, great screen name B.R. That made me chuckle.
2ndly, Why? Why do you think they should have to swim finals at any given meet, especially a “pro” level meet? Is this strictly from a spectator standpoint? That would make sense if the fan in you just wants them to swim so you can watch, I can get behind that. ALso, it hurts nobody…..another kid actually benefits from being pulled up and in to finals if they scratch. But lets say the kid has a final exam on monday. Are you fine with them doing a solid swim in the AM, then scratching to go get on a plane mid-day rather than a red-eye that puts them back… Read more »

Swimswam follower
1 month ago

Coach Durden did it in 2016 with Ryan Murphy, Nathan Adrian, and Josh Prenot and Jacob Pebley and all of them made the Olympic Team.

1 month ago

High energy opportunity for drama and epic battle where two teams bring out the absolute best in each other, or low energy pro series swim meet… the officials should dq cal for interfering with all the swimmers in all the lanes

Justin Pollard
Reply to  Bayliss
1 month ago

Yea, and they should DQ any team that rests or shaves before any NCAA championship meet too cause it makes the meet less exciting. Everyone should be forced to qualify without rest, without shaving, and probably without a tech suit/goggles/cap, lest the NCAA championship be less exciting & less dramatic, and teams will bring out less than the best in eachother.

Reply to  Justin Pollard
1 month ago

Justin — you are usually so rational. What’s happened?

About Braden Keith

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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