Tokyo Olympic finalist and 11-time CSCAA All-American Bryce Mefford has officially joined the Cal men’s swimming & diving roster for the 2021-22 season, a spokesperson for the team confirmed to SwimSwam on Wednesday.
Mefford joins the team as a fifth-year senior, utilizing the extra season of eligibility granted to student-athletes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and bolsters the loaded Golden Bears team as they prepare for the Pac-12 Championships in February and the NCAA Championships in March.
Mefford scored 36 individual points at the 2021 NCAAs as a senior, placing third in the 200 back (1:38.31), eighth in the 100 back (45.52) and ninth in the 200 IM (1:41.86). He also contributed a 1:32.00 leg on the Bears’ 800 free relay that finished second.
Mefford’s Best Times (SCY)
- 200 free – 1:32.84
- 100 back – 45.04
- 200 back – 1:38.31
- 200 IM – 1:41.86
The Bears, who won the 2019 NCAA team championship title and then remained the reigning champions for an extra year after the 2020 meet was canceled, finished second in 2021 to the University of Texas, 27 points back of the Longhorns (595-568).
After completing his senior year, Mefford had a breakout performance in the long course pool at the U.S. Olympic Trials, qualifying for the Olympic team after placing second in the men’s 200 back final behind Ryan Murphy, hitting a monster best time of 1:54.79. He also rattled off three sub-53 swims in the 100 back, placing fourth in the final.
In Tokyo, Mefford finished fourth in the 200 back, recording the second-fastest swim of his career in the final (1:55.49).
Since the Games, Mefford’s only swim on record is a singular SCY 50 back (23.30) from Cal’s dual with Virginia in October, but he has been training with the team all season.
With Texas coming in as the favorites to repeat as NCAA champions in 2022, Mefford will provide a huge boost to Cal’s hopes of reclaiming the title. And with last season’s national champ in all three of his events, Shaine Casas, turning pro, Mefford projects to be in title contention in the 200 back and a likely top-eight finisher in the 100 back and 200 IM.