On a classic early spring day in Palo Alto, where the seats in the shade were parka weather and the sunshine brought summer temperatures, the Cal men topped arch-rivals Stanford 130-113. The meet had a unique format for college dual meet swimming, in that everyone swam just three events instead of the typical 4.
Cal won 8 out of 11 swimming events, while 1-2-3-4 finishes on both the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard events kept Stanford in the battle until the end.
Cal set the town early by going 1-2 in the 200 medley relay thanks to their incredible stroke depth. Even with National Teamers Andrew Seliskar and Josh Prenot on the B relay, the group of Ryan Murphy (21.31), Connor Hoppe (23.94), Justin Lynch (20.81), and Tyler Messerschmidt (19.92) were the choice of speed, winning in 1:25.98. That broke Cal’s own Pool Record.
The Cal B-relay took 2nd in 1:27.96, with most of that two-second difference coming in the first two legs.
The Stanford men earned a split on the relays by taking the 200 free relay at the meet’s end. That group included a 19.75 anchor from senior Jeff Garnier, the fastest split of the event. Stanford won in 1:20.43, while Cal took 2nd in 1:20.76. Garnier had sub-20 second splits on both Stanford “A” relays, but was only 20.64 for 6th place in the individual race.
Cal junior Ryan Murphy, the defending NCAA National Swimmer of the Year, didn’t swim any backstroke races outside of the medley relay. He instead focused on the sprint freestyles, where he won the 100 free in 43.95 and took 2nd to Stanford’s Sam Perry in the 50. Perry touched in 20.09, while Murphy was just behind in 20.20.
The lone double winner in swimming on the day was the aforementioned Josh Prenot, who swam a 1:45.38 in the 200 IM and followed it with a 1:53.75 in the 200 breaststroke to dominate Andrew Seliskar (1:59.38) and Max Williamson (1:59.87). Both winning times for Prenot were new Avery Aquatic Center Meet Records – the 200 IM broke a 1:45.69 done in 2003 by Dan Trupin, and in the 200 breast he broke Stanford’s longest-standing pool record when he cleared Michael Bruce’s 2002 record by two seconds.
Prenot is the national-leader in the 200 breaststroke this season, and while his time on Saturday was exactly two seconds slower than that season-best, only 5 other swimmers have been faster than his most recent time this season.
Stanford’s lethal diving squad was a bright spot for the Cardinal. Junior Bradley Christensen swept the springboard events.
The Cardinal also tagged a swimming Pool Record of their own on with a 1:44.20 in the 200 fly from Gray Umbach. That is a season-best time for him and ranks as the 5th-best in the Pac-12 this season.