Cal To Send Murphy, Prenot, Others To Orlando PSS Instead of Pac-12s

In another wrinkle to an Olympic year, the University of California will send a select group of its top swimmers to the long course Arena Pro Swim Series at Orlando instead of the Pac-12 Championships this week.

Among the swimmers attending Orlando: reigning NCAA Swimmer of the Year Ryan Murphydefending Pac-12 Champ Josh PrenotAll-American Jacob Pebley and Canadian Olympic hopeful Jeremie DeZwirek.

“It’s something that we talked about since last year,” said Cal coach Dave Durden. He went on to say the Orlando meet was “a nice opportunity for our guys to go toward their preparation for the Olympic Trials while still getting within in the collegiate system.”

Durden said the swimmers and staff discussed various ways of balancing Olympic Trial preparation with the college season, one of them taking Olympic redshirt seasons, and eventually settled on the current course.

“We came up with a couple solutions,” he said, “and we decided this was going to be the best one to help them moving forward to the U.S. Olympic Trials.”

DeZwirek, specifically, should benefit from the move, as the Canadian Olympic Trials are much closer to NCAAs than the United States meet.

“We feel good about [DeZwirek] in terms of his NCAA qualifying times from December, and his window is a little bit shorter in terms of preparation for the Canadian Olympic Trials,” said Durden. “So I fell like that really fits well for him and his schedule.”

All four Cal swimmers should already be safely qualified for the NCAA meet. Murphy, Prenot and Pebley have all hit A cuts already and are guaranteed spots in the meet. DeZwirek is currently ranked 16th in the nation in the 200 back, and with roughly the top 29 in line for invites, he should be fine without competing at Pac-12s as well.

Star freshman Andrew Seliskar was originally entered in the Orlando meet as well, but Durden confirmed that Seliskar would be competing at Pac-12s instead.

The Orlando meet offers the four Golden Bears a chance to compete in the long course, 50-meter format that will be used for this summer’s Olympic Trials and Olympic Games, while the NCAA season (and the Pac-12 Championships) are conducted in short course yards.

Balancing the college season with long course preparation for the summer has been a hot topic for top-tier NCAA swimmers with chances at Olympic berths this summer. Many high-level athletes have chosen to sit out the college season on a redshirt, while others have mixed long course competition with short course meets during the college year.

Florida Gator Caeleb Dressel is another swimmer attempting that balance – his conference championships were two weeks ago, and he will compete in Orlando as well, as he continues to prepare for the NCAA Championships.

The loss of Murphy, Prenot, Pebley and DeZwirek is a big blow to Cal’s Pac-12 title hopes, though Cal has traditionally placed a much bigger emphasis on the NCAA meet. What could have been a competitive Pac-12 Championships now looks like USC’s meet to lose, as the Trojans look to defend their 2015 title.

“It’s going to be a challenge to go into the Pac-12 Championships and compete for a Pac-12 Championship,” said Durden, “but that’s the responsibility of the 22 guys who we have going to Federal Way next week.”

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5 years ago

While conference championships might be the ultimate meet for these four swimmers, it is for other swimmers on the team. Having big name swimmers at conference swimming fast and winning events can help pull these athletes to great swims of their own.

This is a huge sacrifice by coach Durden, but he is putting more emphasis on what his swimmers goals are than his own. Murphy and Prenot have real shots at making the U.S. Olympic team this summer. The NCAA season is important and NCAA champs is the fastest meet in the world. But the Olympics is still the ultimate goal. Important to keep swimming LC so that when trials comes around, they don’t have to relearn how… Read more »

Reply to  GreatScott
5 years ago

It’s still Cal we’re talking about here, since they’ll have 15-18 guys get invited to the big meet, the swimmers whose big meet is Pac 12s will now have more opportunities due to having 4 scoring slots freed up by not having these guys there.

Kirk Nelson
5 years ago

“He went on to say the Orlando meet was ‘a nice opportunity for our guys to go toward their preparation for the Olympic Trials while still getting within in the collegiate system.'”

Could someone translate this to English for me? 🙂

Reply to  Kirk Nelson
5 years ago

I think he’s referring to the fact that the above mentioned swimmers are all invited to NCAA’s already. They are giving up Pac-12’s but not NCAA’s.

It’s also nice that 4 other swimmers that wouldn’t normally get to go to Pac-12’s now get to go.

Suh dude 9
5 years ago

Aha ASU gonna win anyways

Reply to  Suh dude 9
5 years ago

just like ASU women last week?!

Jonny Newsom
5 years ago

Great call by Coach Durden. Good luck to our Golden Bears this championship season!

5 years ago

This is shaping up to be a great meet.

Sean S
5 years ago

This is definitely something recruits should be aware of if they are the very top tier recruits with a shot at an Olympic team during their college career. The fact that Durden is enabling his guys to pursue their goals are the expense of conference placing is pretty awesome and it’s a decision that many coaches wouldn’t be willing to make.

Robert killeen
5 years ago

4 months before Olympic Trials and abandoning teammate’s who are competing at conference? Seems ridiculous.

Reply to  Robert killeen
5 years ago

Putting people in positions to win spots on Olympic Teams?
Not ridiculous.

Reply to  Robert killeen
5 years ago

Don’t you think their teammates want the best for them?

Paul Smith
5 years ago

IMHO if your in an Olympic year and want to swim these meets red shirt. To send scholarship athletes that are part of a college team trying to win a conference champ and NCAA champ to this meet I believe sends the wrong message and and is not in the best interests for the rest of the team.

Reply to  Paul Smith
5 years ago

In the words of Sgt. Hulka, “lighten up Francis”
Who swims at what meets is a decision for the coach and swimmers to make. If some of the Orlando swimmers’ teammates have a problem with the coach’s decision they can take it up with the coach. If the university he works for has a problem with the coach’s decision, then I’m sure the AD will take it up with him. Why anyone else feels the need to weigh in is beyond me.

Reply to  Jjd
5 years ago

If swimmers have a problem with their coach’s decision(s), actions, behavior, unjust treatment, unfair distribution of team resources, verbal abuse, etc., I can assure you that the swimmers won’t get far trying to talk to the coach. If swimmers talk to the AD about problems with a coach, the AD will side with the coach, even if the coach is clearly in the wrong. The point is the athletes have little say and coaches, AD, and the university hold all of the cards and power and will retaliate. For example, last spring, Ms. Runge wanted a release from cal women’s team and the coach denied it! Swim teams are full of politics and power plays, and bad actors, so don’t… Read more »

Reply to  Coaches
5 years ago

Ms. Runge made a commitment to Cal, the rules on transferring in the NCAA are clear. Why should a school grant a release?

Reply to  Jjd
5 years ago

Maybe because it’s her life? Swimming isn’t the end all be all. If someone isn’t comfortable in a school situation who has the right to tell them to stay? People make the wrong choice sometimes, they shouldn’t be punished harshly for doing so.

Reply to  Paul Smith
5 years ago

Guys, guys! His opinion was humble. And yet he abbreviates like a millennial but alas….

Paul, you are forgetting the most important question, NCAA Top 3 place VS. Olympic medal. Which one attract future recruits more? That is the only message here. Sure maybe some other ones, buts its always the important ones that matter.

Reply to  Paul Smith
5 years ago

conference championship is not won by 3 or four guys but the depth of the team. Like Coach Durden said, “It’s going to be a challenge to go into the Pac-12 Championships and compete for a Pac-12 Championship, but that’s the responsibility of the 22 guys who we have going to Federal Way next week.”

As a coach, I don’t think he wants his other swimmers to feel like they are lesser or not good enough or they have to rely on the “star” swimmers to bring the result. There is also no guarantee that the star swimmers won’t be absent or not performing on any given day in any meet, anyway.

Good luck for both group of Cal… Read more »

Reply to  Paul Smith
5 years ago

Not sure that Cal is TRYING to win a Pac-12 title… They seem to have always treated it like a time trial for their bubble guys, and a swim through for the A cut guys. I never got the impression they were too bothered by Stanford winning the conference meet.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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