Instead of the big tri meet we’ve seen them in the last few years, the Indiana men have opted for a different route to start their 2013-2014 season by swinging through the San Francisco area for top-10 blowout match-ups against Cal and Stanford.
Their quest began on Friday night on the east side of the bay with a dual against the 2011 and 2012 NCAA Champions of Cal before swinging through to face Stanford on Saturday.
Cal wound up reigning supreme in the opener, taking a 173-122 victory (with Cal putting their swims in exhibition-mode in the last two races).
Cal opened with a 1:28.92 in the 200 yard medley relay, and for the first time they swam what appears to be close to their A-medley, rather than splitting between their top 2. That included Ryan Murphy, Josh Prenot, Marcin Tarczynski, and Tyler Messerschmidt (for those keeping count, that’s a freshman, two sophomores, and a senior).
That time was the third-best time in the country so far this year, behind only Florida and Michigan (and not by much).
Cal actually took the top two spots, with their B-relay going 1:31.08, with Indiana’s top group coming in 3rd in 1:31.73.
Let’s step aside for a second and break down all of the interesting and exciting things we saw in this relay (WATCH THE RELAY ON YOUTUBE HERE):
- Ryan Murphy split a 22.0 in the 50 back. That’s already faster than some relays got in NCAA finals last year.
- Josh Prenot is a great breaststroker, but individually he’s more of a 200 breaststroker. Cal’s top guy focused on the sprints is Ryan Studebaker, who had effectively an identical split on the breaststroke leg of the B relay. That gives Cal options. Also, kudos to the senior Studebaker for a bounce back swim here.
- Indiana’s James Wells had a great split in 22.88. Cody Miller had a great split of 25.67, but that was only a tenth better than the Cal guys (he’s in the top three breaststrokers in the NCAA right now). Even Indiana’s anchor, freshman Anze Tavcar was great in 20.22. Overall this was a great relay, but for one leg: they still don’t really have a sprint butterflier, though the 200 guy Schmuhl is improving his speed as he matures. Hats off to Tavcar, though.
- Taking that a step further, sophomore Tanner Kurz, on Indiana’s B-relay, was a 25.63. That’s faster than Miller. Remember that at NCAA’s last year, Indiana actually had Kurz swim the breaststroke leg and Miller swim the fly leg. That still looks like an option that’s in the picture.
- Messerschmidt is BACK. 19.54 anchor for Cal.
Back to the show…
Cal senior Jeremy Bagshaw won the men’s 1000 free in 9:06.60. That’s the second-best time in the country this year in Bashaw’s first attempt at this race in the new season.
With Bagshaw in the pool, the freshman Janardan Burns looked much better in his second dual meet than in his first, dropping six seconds to go a 9:32.21 for 2nd place. Indiana sophomore Grayson Smith was 3rd in 9:41.98.
Cal continued to roll in the 200 free, where Trent Williams won in 1:38.29. That’s a hair slower than what defending NCAA champion Joao de Lucca was on Friday night across the country, but enough in the same neighborhood to be exciting for the sophomore.
Murphy was back in action in the 100 back. He was a 47.58 (in briefs), beating Indiana All-American Eric Ress in 48.63.
Jacob Pebley was 3rd in 48.64, James Wells from Indiana was 4th in 48.86, and then Cal took the last scoring spot with Tony Cox in 5th in 50.42. That’s the biggest lineup of names we saw on the night.
We would see a similar finish order play out in the 200 back, with Murphy taking the win in 1:43.72, Ress placing 2nd in 1:45.76, and Pebley 3rd in 1:46.58. Those times for Murphy and Ress are the fastest official marks in the country, though Jack Conger was a 1:42.5 (suited) at Texas’ intrasquad, which they haven’t submitted for the database yet.
In the men’s 100 breaststroke, the aforementioned Tanner Kurz had another great swim with a 55.78, beating Cal’s Josh Prenot in 55.85 and Indiana’s Cody Miller in 56.40. That race gave Indiana their first win of the night, and for the Hoosiers, Kurz will probably be the happiest of the group with his results.
Cal got back on track with another freshman win: Long Gutierrez took the victory in 1:47.72. Gutierrez is going to contribute to Cal in a lot of ways in his four years, and is surprising us, and probably many of our readers, with just how good he’s been in this 200 fly. Cal’s Dane Stassi took 2nd in 1:48.48, followed by Indiana’s Steve Schmuhl in 1:48.89. That’s huge for him and shows the progress he made over the summer – he was two seconds faster here than he was to open last season, and that’s even after a big day of travel.
Messerschmidt led a Cal 1-2-3-4 in the men’s 50 free with a 20.11 for the win; Indiana’s top finisher was the freshman Tavcar in 21.22.
Note that Seth Stubblefield didn’t swim this race, where he was an A-finalist at NCAA’s. He did, however, swim the 200 free earlier in the meet, and the 100 free that came afterward against Tyler Messerschmidt. Messerschmidt won in 44.20, while Stubblefield was 2nd in 44.85. He also took 2nd in the 100 fly, an event that he’s swum at every meet so far this year, in 49.08 (that race was incidentally won by Tarczynski in 48.59).
Other races after the break included Josh Prenot, showing how much better he gets at the 200 breaststroke, winning that race in 2:00.11 – ahead of Kurz’s 2:04.02 and Miller’s 2:05.68; Bagshaw picking up another win in 4:24.56 in the 500, 10 seconds ahead of Ress (4:34.50) and Jackson Miller (4:34.93), neither of whom are really distance swimmers; and Prenot again in the 200 IM in 1:49.21.
The night ended with Cal dominating another relay, taking 1-2 in 3:00.06 and 3:03.75. Cal had a 44.50 split on their second leg from Murphy as their best swim of the night, and Indiana got a 45.4 for Ress to lead the way for them.
Indiana is probably in heavy yardage right now, heavier than Cal, but Cal is probably hitting the weight room very hard as well. For the Hoosiers, pay closer attention to their results from Saturday, when they’ve had time to settle in from their cross-country trip a little bit.