Cal Men 154, Hawaii 135
The Cal men welcomed in defending Conference USA Hawaii on Thursday evening and though the score was very close, Cal exhibitioned the last 5 events of the meet. On top of that, Tom Shields sat the meet out (nothing for Cal fans to be concerned about). Even without he who will become very important to this team in March, Cal put up an impressive team performance (though you can see where they’ll need him against tougher competition).
They put up the nation’s top times thus far in both the 200 medley (1:29.77) and 400 free (3:01.79) relays. These Cal relays were a huge part of their NCAA title run last season, but they graduated a lot of the depth that made them so good. Luckily, the freshman sprinters have already begun to step up and show their worth.
Tyler Messerschmidt won the 100 free in 45.43. Perhaps even more exciting was the performance by Italian freshman Fabio Gimondi, about whom not much is known stateside. He was just behind Messerschmidt in that 100 free (45.67), and was almost identical in relay splits (45.10-45.08). That’s a very big revelation for Cal, as they look to rebuild their sprint core, but based on Stanford’s times against Hawaii the next day (more on that later), they’ll still need to be better.
The Hinshaw brothers swept the distance freestyles for Cal. Freshman Adam Hinshaw won the 1000 free by 9 seconds in 9:29.30. Older brother Ben took the 500 in 4:36.96, after holding off a nice swim from very young Hawaii freshman Gen Yamamoto in 4:38.67.
Nolan Koon made a statement swim to win the breaststroke in 54.81, which at the time by almost a second makes him the fastest swimmer in the country this year (Florida freshman Matt Elliott would best that time a day later). That’s a great leadoff to Koon’s senior season, as he will be chasing NCAA and American Records in this event this season.
And in Shields’ absence, the Golden Bears were still able to win the 100 fly in 48.70, thanks to Mathias Gydesen. Luca Mazzura of Hawaii took 2nd in 49.62.
Cal will next be in action on Friday, October 21st against Utah.
Stanford Men 149, Hawaii 71
Stanford took a much larger win, by points, in their dual meet against Hawaii a day later than Cal, with three event exhibitions.
This was the team’s third meet of the season, yet head coach Skip Kenney still withheld David Nolan from his best-known two events (the 100 back in 200 IM). Perhaps he is taking the opportunity early in the season to find where the endlessly-versatile Nolan will best fit into the Stanford lineup, but even in the medley relay he was swimming the 100 breaststroke.
In those two individual swims, though, Nolan did take two victories. In the 200 back, he put up a 1:46.57, and in the 200 free a 1:38.40. Both of those swims are the best in the country so far.
Stanford got another nationally-best time from Chad la Tourette in 9:07.77. That’s a great early-season time that will probably stand until everyone hits their winter taper meets. David Mosko, who redshirted last year, came out with a 9:23.21. Though the time isn’t going to rank too highly long-term for a man who should be a 1650 contender at NCAA’s, don’t worry about any lingering shoulder problems, because that’s a pretty standard season-opening time for him.
And finally, for all of the concerns about Stanford’s sprint group and their big graduations, they didn’t miss a beat at this meet. Geoff Cheah (44.36), Aaron Wayne (44.73), and Jonathan Edwards (45.00) posted three of the four fastest times in the nation so far. That’s a full-second faster than what Cheah did this same weekend last season, and he would be a great surprise for Stanford if that trend continues. Wayne would later lead off Stanford’s winning 200 free relay in a split of 20.61.
Not to be overlooked in this meet was the performance of freshman diver Kristian Ipsen as he prepared to take off for the Pan Am Games. He dominated both the 1-meter (364.28) and 3-meter (385.95). Those are big numbers in his first official performance for the Cardinal, and he will be a key if Stanford hopes to hang with Texas at NCAA’s.
Stanford will be back in action next Thursday, as the welcome the Utah Utes to the Pac-12.
Stanford Men Dominate UoP Invitational
On Thursday, the Stanford men swam a quick invite at the University of the Pacific (that was really sort of a glorified tri-meet with BYU and UoP). The most interesting thing to come out of this meet was the head-to-head matchup between two of Stanford’s super-freshman Jonathan Edwards and David Nolan. The two matched up in the 100 back and 200 IM, and it was Edwards who won both races. In the 100 back, he topped Nolan 49.13-49.17, and in the 200 IM the matchup was 1:49.86-1:50.00. While those are the slimmest of margins, those are Nolan’s two-best events. For Edwards to take the victory in both wins speaks volumes about the quality of this freshman class, even beyond the extensive hype.
In all, Edwards added a victory in the 200 back, and a 4th-place finish in the 200 breaststroke, to an impressive day of competition.