For the first time this season, the Cal Golden Bears men’s team swam largely primary events in their first traditional meet of the season: a 149-104 (with exhibitions by Cal in 4 of the 11 events) victory.
The Golden Bears led the meet off with a win in the 200 medley relay in 1:31.47. That included an outstanding 19.85 anchor from Tyler Messerschmidt, the only sub-20 split of the meet.
Cal went 1-2-3 in that relay, with their other All-American sprinter Seth Stubblefield anchoring the B relay in 20.01.
Next up was the 1000 free. The distance races are Cal’s biggest weak spot this year, but Freshman Janardan Burns will be the bright spot after winning this men’s 1000 in 9:38.27. He was followed by Pacific freshman Kale Ai, who was 2nd in 9:45.09.
Cal again went to town on the men’s 200 free, with Canadian middle-distance specialist Jeremy Bagshaw winning the race in 1:40.01 over Trent Williams in 1:40.45. Williams has a little more speed than Bagshaw, as demonstrated by him turning in the lead mid-way, but Bagshaw has more distance in him, and he ripped a big final 50 to take this victory.
Cal freshman Ryan Murphy was 3rd in 1:41.59. The Golden Bears are probably really going to push his freestyle boundaries this year, hoping that he can develop into an apt replacement for Tom Shields, who in addition to his individual abilities was always a huge part of the Cal relays.
Pacific junior Cooper Rogers took 3rd in 1:43.26; that’s not quite as strong of a season-opening swim for him as we saw last season, but still a solid start to his year.
Bagshaw would later win the 500 free in 4:29.89, winning by 11 seconds over exhibitioned teammate Jamey Lyon.
Cal’s Marcin Tarczynski won the men’s 100 back in 48.84, just out-touching his sophomore teammate Jacob Pebley (48.86). Tarczynski, after three straight titles, gave up his King of the Pool crown this year in Cal’s first meet of the season, but interestingly it’s not because he isn’t swimming well. He, in fact, is swimming better than ever, and this 100 back was almost half-a-second faster than he was at this same meet last season.
Pacific got one of two hands-to-the-wall-first win of the night in the men’s 100 breaststroke. There, junior Cameron Franke won in 58.00, followed by Cal’s Ryan Studebaker (58.08) and Hunter Cobleigh (58.19). The sprint breaststrokes are probably Cal’s weakest discipline this year, though Studebaker is a notoriously-strong taper swimmer and will be much better than this at the end of the year.
Cal was also without the services of Christian Higgins at this meet.
After a 200 fly win by freshman Long Gutierrez in 1:49.51, the prodigal son of Cal swimming made his glorious return.
Tyler Messerschmidt, listed officially as a sophomore, missed most of last season while working through some academic challenges. After getting himself back on track and readmitted to the University, Messerschmidt looked again very sharp early. He was a 20.16 to win the 50 free (ahead of 20.38 from Stubblefield and 20.80 from Fabio Gimondi); and followed that with a 44.55 win in the 100 free.
Murphy the freshman was the runner-up in that 100, swimming 45.39.
Again, maybe working his way up for some relay swims, Murphy swam that race instead of the 200 back that followed it, and that led to another UoP win. This one came from freshman Curtis Klein in 1:50.53.
Klein took this race out very hard, but held off Cal junior Jeremie Dezwirek and his 1:50.90, despite Dezwirek out-splitting Klein by a full second in the final 50 yards.
Prenot got his first individual win of the meet in the 200 breaststroke, with a 2:01.76 that saw him get a lot of clean water very early in this race. He split this race nearly-perfectly for this time of year, going out in 58.9 and coming back in 1:01.8.
Ignoring exhibitions, Cal went 1-4 in the men’s 100 fly, led by the junior Stubblefield (48.76) and the freshman Gutierrez (49.62). Tarczynski probably winds up being the butterflier on Cal’s medley relays, after placing 5th in the 100 fly at NCAA’s last year and with their depth in backstroke, but we might also see head coach Dave Durden work on adding this race, instead of the 200 free, as Stubblefield’s third championship event. For what it’s worth, last year he only swam the 100 fly in the spring semester, but at this same meet was over two seconds slower.
(Another star missing from this meet – former NCAA 200 fly champion Will Hamilton).
Murphy picked up his lone individual win of the meet in the 200 IM, touching in 1:51.72 – ahead of sophomore Jacob Pebley in 1:53.22.
Closing the meet, Cal put up a tempered, if solid, 400 free relay, winning in 3:06.43. They didn’t, however, use any of their top sprinters (Gimondi, Stubblefield, Messerschmidt, Murphy) and with four relays, got the opportunity to put some different guys in those relay positions. The fastest split went to Trent Williams with a 45.85.