Returning Conference Points: Elite Stanford Frosh Chasing Cal in Men’s Pac-12

The 2020 NCAA Championships were canceled in the coronavirus pandemic – but the virus can’t stop our pre-season coverage for the 2021 campaign. We’re running through a comprehensive preview of each of the Power-5 conferences in Division I, compiling returning conference points and tracking transfers and incoming recruits.

2020 Lookback

Defending national champs, the Cal men took their third-straight Pac-12 title in a landslide, besting the field by almost 300 points. The Bears won 10 of 13 individual swimming events and four of five relays, only losing the 400 medley relay via DQ.

Cal got three individual wins from junior Ryan Hoffer (50 free, 100 free, 100 fly), two from junior Daniel Carr (200 IM, 200 back) and two from sophomore Reece Whitley (100 breast, 200 breast). Junior Trenton Julian won the 200 free, sophomore Hugo Gonzalez the 400 IM, and the only senior to win an event for Cal was Zheng Quah in the 200 fly.

It was a brutal meet for relay DQs. In fact, of the six programs competing, only Utah escaped the meet without disqualifying a relay. Arizona and Stanford both DQ’d 200 medley relays, and the Wildcats ultimately beat out the Cardinal by just 4.5 points for second place. Zona junior Brooks Fail won the 1650 free, while Stanford senior Grant Shoults took the 500 free. Stanford were the beneficiaries of the Cal DQ in the 400 medley, getting that relay win by six tenths of a second over Utah.

Arizona State was just 6.5 back of Stanford, with senior Zachary Poti winning the 100 back.

Utah had eleven double-digit scorers, surging past USC (just six double-digit scorers) for fifth.

Returning Points for 2021

Cal should return as the heavy favorites in the conference again. They return a lower percentage of individual points than almost anyone else in the conference (68%), but still return 112.5 more than any other program. The big rub for Cal is going to be relays, where they return only about half of their relay legs from last year. Losing standout sprinters Pawel Sendyk and Michael Jensen will clear out the relay depth a bit.

Stanford has a 53.5-point edge over Arizona in returning individual points, but Arizona does bring back more relay legs. Things look a lot closer between those two until you factor in Shoults, who took a medical redshirt as a junior and will return as a redshirt senior in 2020-2021. Behind those two lurks Arizona State, which outscored both Arizona and Stanford in relays last year and returns 18 of 20 legs.

Utah has a conference-high 83% of points returning, but they’re still solidly behind the Stanford/Arizona/ASU tier in total returning points. In the toughest shape is USC, dead last in the conference last year and with 61.5 fewer returning points than any other program. The bright side for the Trojans is that they return a conference-best 19 of 20 relay legs, though they had the lowest relay scoring totals of any team last year.

Team Returning Individual Points % Returning Individual Points Returning Relay Legs
Cal 475 68% 11/20
Stanford 362.5 82% 11/20
Arizona 309 69% 13/20
ASU 288 67% 18/20
Utah 195 83% 15/20
USC 133.5 65% 19/20

Scorers By Team

Teams are listed in their 2020 conference finish order. Athletes are listed with their year as of the current 2019-2020 season, not their year for the 2020-2021 season.

Cal (475)

Athlete Year 2020 Points
Ryan Hoffer JR 60
Daniel Carr JR 57
Trenton Julian JR 54
Reece Whitley SO 52
Sean Grieshop JR 47
Bryce Mefford JR 47
Jason Louser FR 37
Hugo Gonzalez SO 36
Chris Jhong SO 21
Jarod Hatch JR 16
Calvin David FR 15
Colby Mefford FR 14
Marcos Rico Peng FR 7
Jacques Laeuffer FR 7
Michael Petrides FR 5

Arizona (309)

Athlete Year 2020 Points
Brooks Fail JR 52
Bjorn Markentin FR 47
Sam Iida JR 35
Marin Ercegovic SO 31
Noah Reid JR 21
Eric Correa SO 21
Brooks Taner FR 18
Ryan Foote FR 17
Daniel Namir SO 16
Ty Wells SO 12
Jack Anderson JR 11
Christian Imbus JR 9
Ty Coen SO 7
Hunter Ingram FR 4
Jack Murphy JR 4
Aldan Johnston SO 4

Stanford (362.5)

Athlete Year 2020 Points
Brennan Pastorek JR 46
Conor Casey SO 40
Alex Liang JR 39
Grant Shoults R-JR 38
Noah Vigran SO 33
Jonathan Cook SO 26
Matthew Hirschberger JR 22
Ethan Foster FR 20
Daniel Roy SO 17
Johannes Calloni JR 16
Shane Blinkman FR 15
Mason Gonzalez SO 15
Jack Levant SO 14
David Madej SO 9
Andrew Matejka FR 6
Jordan Greenberg JR 4.5
Neel Roy FR 1
Alex Boratto SO 1

ASU (288)

Athlete Year 2020 Points
Jack Dolan FR 43.5
Carter Swift JR 41
Cody Bybee SO 40.5
Evan Carlson JR 39
Julian Hill FR 29
Liam Bresette SO 20
Andrew Gray FR 18
Alexander Colson FR 15
Jack Edgemond SO 14
Aaron Beauchamp JR 7
Noah Scheuerman FR 6
Elijah Warren SO 6
Noah Henry SO 5
Robert Pearce FR 4

Utah (195)

Athlete Year 2020 Points
Tony Chen SO 32
Luke McDivitt FR 27
Jaek Horner FR 22
Ben Waterman SO 21
Andrew Britton SO 19
Chase Hindmarsh FR 15
Deryk Cooper SO 13
Jackson Cunningham SO 13
Tyler Klawiter SO 11
David Fridlander SO 9
Finn O’Haimhirgin FR 5
JP Hynes FR 4
Nathan Ramey FR 3
Robert King SO 1

USC (133.5)

Athlete Year 2020 Points
Georgii Korovin FR 44
Nikola Miljenic JR 36
Alexei Sancov SO 18
Jack Kirby FR 17
David Mertz FR 6
Paul Retterer FR 3
Max Saunders FR 3
Ivan Puskovitch FR 2
Sean Ward SO 2
Ariel Spektor SO 1.5
Victor Johansson SO 1


New Additions

Stanford has the best recruiting class in the conference, and arguably the best in the country. Russian flyer Andrei Minakov is a World Champs silver medalist and should be a massive addition, with times of 50.8 in long course fly and 22.7/48.5 in long course free. This class is going to effectively reload every single event discipline for Stanford, depending on how fast these incoming freshmen can get up to speed:

The Cardinal have plenty of relay legs to fill, but this is a pretty well-rounded class, and a bunch of these guys will probably be early contributors on free relays, even if that’s not their primary stroke. Mihm is 20.5/43.8/1:36.7, Hu is 20.0/44.8, Sequeira 19.9/44.6, Affeld 1:36.0/44.0, Forst 20.6/44.8 and Dang 20.3.

Stanford is also going to get top-tier miler True Sweetser back from an Olympic redshirt. He scored 24 points at 2019 Pac-12s.

Cal‘s class is only a tier below Stanford’s. 45.9/1:40.7 backstroker Destin Lasco is an elite recruit entering a discipline of strength for the Golden Bears. Swedish sprinter Bjorn Seeliger (22.2/49.5 long course) should help fill some free relay legs vacated by Sendyk and Jensen. Forrest Frazier is a big-time breaststroker (52.5/1:55.3), and Dare Rose an elite long course swimmer (53.9/1:58.9 fly; 1:49.2/3:51 free) with a high ceiling in yards.

We had Stanford at #2 nationally for incoming classes and Cal #4. USC sits at #10 – they also get a big-league breaststroker. Ben Dillard (52.7/1:54.7) should add to a strong incoming Pac-12 breaststroke group, and we’ll hope for four years of Dang-Frazier-Dillard battles. Senior Mario Koenigsperger (52.1/1:53.7) also returns from a redshirt season for USC. The Trojans have a few more standout freshmen: butterflyer Danny Syrkin (46.6/1:45.6), backstroker Holden Raffin (1:43.3/48.0) and breaststroker Scott Sobolewski (53.6/1:59.3).

From there, it’s a bit of a drop back to Arizona and Arizona State in freshmen, though ASU gets two big redshirt returners that shift the rankings quite a bit.

Arizona gets a big-time transfer in 1:41.8-backstroker Ogi MaricThe former UNLV swimmer is 1:34.2/43.6 in freestyle. Other than that, the class is pretty developmental, but sprint-based. The wild card is Australian IMer David Schlicht, who sat out last season to prep for the Olympics after scoring 50 Pac-12 points as a freshman in 2019. Arizona has not yet confirmed whether Schlicht will return this year or not.

Arizona State‘s class adds Will Rose (20.1/44.4) to a burgeoning sprint group. The other key recruit is distance man Lleyton Plattela 15:03 miler. What pushes the ASU incoming group closer to the USC level are two Olympic gap year returnees. Jarod Arroyo (1:48.2/3:49.7 IM, 1:47.8 fly) comes in after a deferred freshman year, and junior Grant House will return from an Olympic redshirt season. He scored 39 points individually at 2019 Pac-12s.

Utah‘s class is huge (11 new swimmers) and led by Bosnian freestyler Marko Kovacic. He’s a 50.5/1:50.6 long course freestyler who should have some early impact on relays. The rest of the class is pretty distance-based, with 15:28 miler Dylan Becker probably the other big pickup.

2021 Outlook

Cal’s rising senior class is just too good to pick against. They lose 8 solid conference scorers to graduation, but their top three scorers from last year were all juniors and return big individual points. (Hoffer scored 60, Carr 57 and Julian 54). Cal also has a great recruiting class, and could see more individual points from Gonzalezwho took a DQ in the 200 IM last year.

Though freshmen scoring is typically somewhat muted, Stanford’s incoming class are difference-makers, and the return of Sweetser should put them solidly second. There’s not a great argument for them to beat Cal though, at least not yet. The 100+ point margin in returning individual points is brutal, plus both teams return the same number of relay legs. Freshmen typically don’t account for as big a percentage of points as you’d expect, so Stanford might need two years with this elite class on board before they can challenge for a return to the top of the Pac-12.

We’ll take ASU to pass up Arizona in the hunt for third. That’s mostly due to the impact House will have on ASU relays that already scored 134 points last year. Arizona has their own sprint ringer in Maric, though, and the battle for Grand Canyon State supremacy should be close.

USC’s recruiting class is good enough to project them rising past Utah this year, although there’s a lot in flux with a head coaching change. Utah had zero scoring juniors last year, so they should be primed for a pretty good two-year run.

Way-Too-Early Conference Picks

  1. Cal
  2. Stanford
  3. Arizona State
  4. Arizona
  5. USC
  6. Utah

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Distance Sprinter
4 years ago

well Stanford is only good at squandering top recruits so that won’t help them much

Sprinter sprinter
Reply to  Distance Sprinter
4 years ago

It’s unfair to simplify in the way you have done here. We can all agree that everyone is different, college teams not excluded. It’s reasonable to believe that there is a selection bias in swimmers attending Stanford as they are on average more likely to have other time consuming goals. Abrahm Devine majored in CS and came in a 1:47 3:45 IMer. Not long before him, David Nolan’s senior year (biomech. engineering) saw him smash a barrier that survived Lochte. I’m not even going to pretend you’re blaming Jack Levant’s relative slowdown in swimming progress on his coach or his team mates or himself, although the fact that he’s the most recent superstar with a few seasons under his belt… Read more »

Reply to  Sprinter sprinter
4 years ago

Dan Schemmel’s first “complete” recruiting class will be 2021-25. Most of the Class 2020, which is exceptional, had been pretty much all set before he took over the program. He deserves a chance to show what he can do for these young men in and out of water.

Sprinter sprinter
Reply to  Sprinter sprinter
4 years ago

Boys and girls are very different and you will find college participation rates and grades across sexes support that. They’re also very different socially (esp in high school with hormones and whatnot). I’m not sure we can use the women’s team’s lack of similar symptoms as strong evidence of much for the men’s team, because the girls at the top of HS swimming’s totem pole are different from the boys in ways that I’d be insensitive to dissect on a forum frequented by HS swimmers. It’s analogous to commenting on the personality of those in the men’s 50fr final at NCAAs by looking at the characteristics of the 1650. These groups of people get to the same places but have… Read more »

Reply to  Sprinter sprinter
4 years ago

Hope Dan gets most of the remaining 2021-25 uncommitted top recruits (as ranked by swimswam), some of whom are very talented with great potentials. He will then needs one or more top recruiting classes to bring Stanford to top 5 or even contention.

Sprinter sprinter
Reply to  Sprinter sprinter
4 years ago

Also I wasn’t commenting on Schemmel. I have nothing against him and didn’t mention him in what I’d now like to call my Ted talk. Thanks for listening.

And some further info: Stanford’s more recent acceleration in relative prominence trends with the economic power of the surrounding region, as do the reputations of most universities. Silicon Valley took off and Stanford has changed a lot since then. Probably more so in some ways than it had in decades prior. We should expect to see these changes reflected in the students attending

4 years ago

PAC-12 < ACC by a mile

Reply to  Eisenheim
4 years ago

Zac yeadon would disagree

Reply to  Swimswammer
4 years ago

What’s with the Yeadon and Pac 12/Cal comments? Is he transferring in?

4 years ago

Billy Cruz should be a big impact addition for USC as well

4 years ago

I can’t find the results from 2020 Pac12 Championships on MeetMobile. Does anyone have a link to the meet results? When reading these I usually end up going back and fourth between the article and the 2020 results a hundred times lol.

Reply to  Willswim
4 years ago

Here’s a good link with all results:

Reply to  Braden Keith
4 years ago

Wow – epic link – many thanks!

Reply to  Braden Keith
4 years ago

That link is getting bookmarked!

4 years ago

Hard to believe Hoffer and Mefford’s class are already seniors

Reply to  John
4 years ago

It’s crazy…yeah. College careers go by fast. Last year’s freshmen will be seniors after the next season is done.

4 years ago

I believe Shoults is returning for a 5th year and it looks like his returning points and returning relay spots haven’t been included

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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