2014 Pac 12 Swimming and Diving Championships – Men’s 200 Medley Relay – FINALS – Reported by Braden Keith
A lot of questions were answered very early on in this Pac 12 Men’s Championship meet. The first was around how the Arizona medley would come together. A very veteran relay, despite a little rockiness of late, had no problem pulling things together for a 1:23.50 and a new Pac 12 Championship Record in the event, with the team of Mitchell Friedemann (21.78), Kevin Cordes (23.11), Giles Smith (20.09), and Brad Tandy (18.52).
For Tandy, that’s his first race in the NCAA after finally being declared eligible last week, and he showed why he’s so valuable to Arizona – that split will compete with anybody in the country. Also big was Smith’s 20.09, after he’s missed some action this semester with a reported injury – things seem to be coming together for him. Cordes is already splitting what he went at NCAA’s last year. Friedemann was the only one who was a little bit off on this race was Friedemann on the leadoff, but aside from him this relay was faster than the one that took 3rd at NCAA’s last year.
That time shows both how good Arizona’s medley is with Tandy on board now (their breast/free combo is the best in the country, and it’s not that close) and a change in philosophy perhaps with Rick Demont at the helm – Arizona has never before won the Pac-12 title in that event, and that’s by far the fastest they’ve ever been in it at this meet. It’s only their 6th Pac-12 relay title ever.
Cal took second four-tenths of a second back, and also under the old Meet Record, in 1:23.91. That included a 21.32 leadoff from freshman Ryan Murphy, a 20.10 from senior Tony Cox, and an 18.77 anchor from sophomore Tyler Messerschmidt.
Chuck Katis, a transfer from Harvard at mid-season, showed his impact already with a 23.72 split. While that paled next to Cordes, the best yards breaststroker ever, it’s already almost as good as Cal was getting last year from the now-graduated Trevor Hoyt, and is a split that will put him in the top half of A-final breaststrokers at NCAA’s.
USC took 3rd in 1:25.25, with a 23.87 breaststroke from Sergio Lujan-Rivera, and Stanford was 4th in 1:25.99 with a 21.25 leadoff from junior David Nolan.
UCSB took 5th in 1:27.81, after a big dropoff in time, followed by Arizona State (1:27.92), Utah (1:28.48), and Cal Poly (1:31.95). Utah didn’t use their best swimmer, Nick Soedel, on their relay, though Ken Tiltges did split a nice 19.20 at the end. They instead saved him for the 800 free relay, which ultimately looks like a good decision.