The Cal Golden Bears men are heading into their annual triple-distance dual meet against cross-town rivals Stanford on Friday.
In this uniquely-formatted meet, swimmers are split into event groups (fly, back, breast, IM, sprint free, distance free) and swim three different distances within that group. For fly, back, breast, and sprint free, that’s a 50, 100, and 200 of the stroke. For IMers, that’s a 100 IM, 200 IM, and 400 IM; and for distance freestylers, that’s a 200, 500, and 1000 freestyle.
Athletes are then ranked within their group based on their aggregate time within the event (the advantage usually goes to the longer-event specialists, because of the bigger gaps).
Durden talks about how the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in northern California, which had some of the country’s strictest pandemic protocols,
“To be able to come back together as a group, and to be able to work as…a cultural unit through that time, has been absolutely awesome,” Durden said in the video.
Durden also walks through the broad season plan, saying they did lots of technical work early in the season, transitioning to a little more volume, and now transitioning to a little more speed and power: both in the pool and the weight room.
Durden says that he’s hoping to see a little more speed from his athletes going out in their races between now and early December, where they go to the high-powered Minnesota Invite for their mid-season rest meet.
2021 US Olympian Bryce Mefford, who finished 4th in Tokyo in the 200 back, also speaks in the video. He’s only swum one race for Cal so far this season, a 50 backstroke against Virginia, and doesn’t currently appear on the team’s roster. A spokesperson for Cal says that Mefford is training with the team, but that “his race schedule hasn’t been determined as of yet.”