2014 PAC 12 Championships – 400 MEDLEY RELAY – Reported by Jared Anderson
Arizona won this relay, though it turned into a tighter battle than some might have predicted as Cal put up a season-best time in pushing the Wildcats. The Golden Bears led early on a 45.8 from Ryan Murphy (Arizona’s Mitchell Friedemann was just 47.11). Kevin Cordes put Arizona back on top with a 50.81 split to Chuck Katis‘s 52.3. But then Marcin Tarczynski came up big for Cal, splitting 45.5 to outdo Zona’s Giles Smith (45.8) and take things down to the final leg. That was where Arizona was happy to have newly-eligible transfer Brad Tandy to seal things: he split 41.9 to outrun Tyler Messerschmidt (42.2) to the wall.
Arizona went 3:05.68 – the scary thing is how much faster they could be, and how much faster they’ve already been this season. The Wildcats put up a 3:03.73 back in December that still leads the NCAA after all the conferences have wrapped up, and that relay was without Tandy. With their new anchor, a fully-healthy Giles Smith and a better leadoff from Mitchell Friedemann, this team could be the best 400 medley squad we’ve ever seen, with a shot at the American and NCAA records.
Cal was 3:05.95, a very solid time for them that ranks 7th in the NCAA this year. Murphy will almost certainly be faster at NCAAs, where the 400 medley doesn’t fall on a day he’s already swimming two individual events, and Tarczynski’s butterfly leg had to be a promising sign in what some have speculated is their weakest medley leg so far this year. The Golden Bears will probably have to get more out of Katis, though, as he was just a couple tenths faster than his open 100 breast.
Stanford took third in 3:09.10. Dave Nolan showed some major fatigue, going just 47.08 on the backstroke leg after putting up a 45.6 individually. They were still able to beat out ASU, which got a big-time fly split from Alex Coci in 45.84.
USC, the second seed coming in, was disqualified on what was likely a false start. Live results show two exchanges in danger of disqualification, a -.04 on butterflyer Maclin Davis and a -.08 on anchor Cristian Quintero. Quintero split a quick 41.5, although he was aided some by that fast exchange. USC would have been third just ahead of Stanford, and also got a solid 52.4 on the breaststroke leg from Sergio Lujan-Rivera.