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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1976bearsfly
6 years ago

So proud of Coach Durden and his focus on the NCAAs while helping his elite swimmers maximize their Olympic dreams. Focus, balance and flexibility are hallmarks of a great coach. Conference title is cool but the big goal is the National title at NCAAs. GO BEARS!!

Bobby
6 years ago

How does going to Orlando ‘prepare’ these guys more for the Olympics (or for NCAA’s for that matter), any more than going to Pac12’s? One LC meet to miss a conference meet makes no sense in terms of preparation, particularly for scy NCAA’s and its format.

Durden wants a spot on the Olympic team staff and maybe Frank Busch has advised him here?

MissingThePoint
6 years ago

Everyone seems to be missing the point. You train with the team, and compete with the team. These guys are getting PAID to swim for Cal, not make the Olympic team. If they didn’t think they could do both, they should have taken a year off like Simone. Or deferred like ledecky.

coach
6 years ago

Seems a bit odd – that Orlando is the one they HAVE to swim at. But I can see reasons for them to do this. Is it possible that this is also a way for Cal to differentiate themselves to recruits from their biggest rival. Maybe they think some of their biggest rivals have a reputation for only caring about the Pac-10, then NCAAs – without much focus on national-team stuff. Could it be Durden trying to say “we value the Olympic movement”. I think it’s important to a number of top swimmers to be in a program that values year-round international swimming. Maybe Cal is highlighting their focus on creating Olympians.

Gatorchomp
Reply to  coach
6 years ago

Unfortunately CAL doesn’t have this reputation as if you look USC has had the most Olympians of any other sport, so you can spin the narrative in whichever direction you want, at the end of the day they don’t come away with a PAC12 trophy, they don’t came away with an NCAA trophy so they better hope they come away with 4 more Olympians to try and catch USCs record

Okaythen
6 years ago

So instead send them across the country to swim in a 3 day, 6 session meet against some of the fastest in the country? Not sure that relaxing before NCAAs.

Is Cal sending a coach with them too? Or will they be coach less?

Swim
6 years ago

I thought Cal was a team?

Really?
Reply to  Swim
6 years ago

So by your logic Caeleb Dressel should have sat out of his conference meet? Pretty sure Florida wouldn’t have won if that were the case. The entire Texas men’s team should have skipped Big10 since they would have won regardless, and to better prepare for NCAA instead? Are you suggesting that there people can be too fast to represent their TEAM at conference?

I’m not on the Cal team so it’s hard to speak for them, but I did swim at a D1 school and if I had teammates swim at a different meet during conference I would have been a little peeved, and disappointed that my coach was putting a few select swimmers in a different league than the… Read more »

spectatorN
Reply to  Really?
6 years ago

or maybe all the other team should considered themselves lucky that their conference meet was held in a different week than this PSS so the swimmers don’t have to choose and subject to our comments?

Good Calls All Around
6 years ago

Two things:

1. Consider the emotional energy spent at a 4 day, 7 session conference championship. A meet you likely can’t win, AND, is not your goal to win. Send them to Orlando relaxed so they are ready for NCAA’s. It’s no different than not shaving them for Pac 12’s when they already have A cuts.
Cal competes for National Championships, not conference championships. And while Texas looks stacked without a hole this year, if Cal gets 2nd, that’s still an accomplishment.
Good call Coach Durden.

2. I would suggest Arizona State is not emphasizing Pac 12’s either after they focused on beating Arizona a few weeks ago, but I don’t hear anyone bashing them for that… Read more »

A Saucy Boom
Reply to  Good Calls All Around
6 years ago

An article about how Cal is so fast they forgot to care about conference. A comment about Arizona state tapering for a dual meet.

I also fail to see the lack of difference between taking them to PAC-12’s and not taking them to PAC-12’S.

They have plenty of time to get ready for their big long course meet (with the exception of DeZwirek) that most of them are repeat offenders at. I know I watch their conference meet so I can indulge in a vulgar display of unshaven, short-course power. I guess the good news here is that they’re still fast enough to mostly accomplish that even without these guys.

Sauce of Boom
Reply to  Good Calls All Around
6 years ago

An article about Cal being so good they forgot to care about conference. A comment about Arizona state tapering for a dual meet.

I also fail to see the lack of difference between taking them to PAC-12s and not taking them to PAC-12s. They have plenty of time to get ready for their big long-course meet (with the exception of DeZwirek) that most of them are repeat offenders at. I know I watch their conference meet so I can indulge in a vulgar display of unshaven short-course power. I guess the good news here is that they’re still fast enough to mostly accomplish that even without these guys.

Kirk Nelson
6 years ago

I do question whether swimming a LCM meet right now really gives these guys an advantage come Olympic Trials, but if Durden and the swimmers think it does then I guess that’s what matters.

hambone
Reply to  Kirk Nelson
6 years ago

Kirk, I tend to agree with you – probably more important is the “tapered, not tapered” question.

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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