Rolling behind a number of impressive performances, the #3 California women and #2 California men both easily defeated their Pac-12 opponents, the Arizona Wildcats (ranked #14 and #17, respectively in our latest SwimSwam Power rankings). The women’s meet was decided by a score of 185 to to 114, and the men’s meet by a score of 164.5 to 118.5. Apparently the East Coast isn’t the only part of the country facing travel delays due to weather, as Arizona’s official press release stated that the Wildcats only had a ten minute warmup after a 30 minute, weather-related travel delay.
While the Cal Bears’ media highlighted the fact that this weekend would include the last two home meets for the the California seniors, it was the Bears’ freshmen who led the way tonight.
Kathleen Baker earned three victories. In the 100 back, she won in 53.64, overcoming another freshman, Arizona’s Annie Ochitwa, in one of the closer races of the day. Next, Baker won the 200 back with a time of 1:54.83, over four seconds ahead of the second place finisher, and she rounded out the hat trick in the final individual event of the evening, with a 1:58.77 in the 200 IM.
Baker wasn’t the only California freshman with multiple victories this afternoon. Amy Bilqust led a Cal sweep of the top three spots of the 200 free (1:47.44), then she earned a second place finish in the 50 free, touching in 23.04, while teammate junior Farida Osman won in 22.81. The situation was reversed right after the break, as Bilqust took the 100 free over Osman, 49.95 to 50.10.
California won four other individual races. Junior Celina Li won the first individual event of the afternoon in the 1000 free, an event she doesn’t swim often. Normally an IMer, Li’s time of 10:07.19 was the best effort from her in two seasons. In one of the closer races of the meet, junior Marina Garcia touched out Arizona senior Emma Schoettmer 1:03.05 to 1:03.19. Kelly Naze was the only Cal senior to win an individual event, as she swam a 1:57.89 to take the 200 fly. Sophomore Noemie Thomas won the 100 fly in a time of 52.80.
The Arizona Wildcats won two individual events. Schoettmer made up for her narrow loss in the 100 breast by winning the 200 breast by nearly two seconds over Garcia, touching in 2:15.92. Freshman Sarah Shiromura earned Arizona’s other individual victory, her 4:52.85 good for first in the 500 free.
Cal may have won 10 of the 12 individual events, but the relays were much closer. The Wildcats opened up the meet with a win, as Ochitwa, Schoettmer, Mackenzie Rumrill, and Katrina Konopka combined to win 3:37.56. The Cal Bears A team finished over a second behind.
However, the Golden Bears came back at the end of the night to win in dramatic fashion. Valerie Hull, Rachel Bootsma, Bilquist , and Osman won in 1:31.05, thanks to Osman’s 22.19 anchor leg. The Arizona relay team of Ochitwa, Konopka, Taylor Shick, and Paige Kremer led Cal after three legs, but Osman out split Kremer by six-tenths of a second to take the win for Cal.
Complete Women’s Results
On the men’s side, California even more completely dominated Arizona, as the Golden Bears touched the wall first in every single event, although they exhibitioned the last three events of the meet.
The Bears were led by two of the most dominant swimmers in the NCAA, junior Ryan Murphy and senior Josh Prenot. Murphy led off the 400 medley relay with a 45.87, a time that would put him in the top 8 among NCAA men this year if he didn’t already have the fastest time, a 44.75 from the Georgia Invite. Murphy was followed by Prenot, junior Long Gutierrez, and sophomore Justin Lynch as the Bears won in 3:10.63.
Murphy didn’t swim the individual 100 back tonight, instead opting to swim the 50 free for his first individual event of the evening. He won that event in a time of 19.84. Murphy also won the 200 back in 1:41.20, another scorching time for a dual meet, and wrapped up the afternoon by splitting 19.44 on Cal’s winning 200 free relay.
Prenot also doubled, winning the 100 breast and the 200 IM. He won the 100 breast with a 54.32 after splitting 53.43 on the breaststroke leg of the medley relay, and it is looking increasingly likely that Prenot will get to swim on that relay come NCAA’s for the first time in his career, as the Bears try to retake that crown from the Texas Longhorns. In the 200 IM, Prenot led a Bears’ sweep, touching first in 1:46.06.
In the freestyle events, Cal had at least one winner from each class. Freshman Nick Norman won the 1000 in 9:11.60. Sophomore Ryan Kao overcame Arizona junior Ty Fowler in the final 100 yards to win in 4:31.39. Fowler and Norman tied for second, both touching in 4:32.49. Gutierrez, a junior, led another Cal sweep of the top three spots in the 200 free, winning with a 1:35.60. Senior Tyler Messerschmidt missed winning the 50 free behind Murphy, but took the 100 free in 45.07 ahead of Arizona junior Renny Richmond (45.07).
With Murphy not competing in the individual 100 back, senior Jacob Pebley took the win by over a second in 48.51. Lynch won the 200 fly (1:46.73) while freshman Andrew Seliskar, who narrowly finished second in that event, won the 200 breast (2:00.04).
The tightest race of the afternoon came in the next to last individual event, the 100 fly, where Gutierrez held off a charging Lynch to win by one hundredth of a second, 47.30 to 47.31. The meet ended with California’s A relay of Gutierrez, Lynch, Murphy, and Messerschmidt winning in 1:19.98.
Complete men’s results.
Tomorrow, both California teams take on coach Bob Bowman and the Arizona State Sun Devils, while the Wildcats will face the Stanford Cardinal.