Whitley Goes 52.9/1:53.4 As Cal Nearly Sweeps Triple Distance Meet

by Robert Gibbs 2

November 09th, 2019 College, News, Pac-12

Cal v. Stanford Triple Distance Meet

  • Friday, November 8, 2019
  • Spieker Aquatics Complex, Berkeley, CA
  • SCY
  • Full Results

On Friday evening in Berkeley, the California Golden Bears and the Stanford Cardinal squared off in their annual “triple distance” meet. In this event, athletes are divided into 6 different groups, based on stroke specialty, with each one swimming three different distances of that specialty: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, sprint freestyle (50/100/200), distance freestyle (200/500/1000), and IM (100/200/400).

It’s been a relatively quiet season so far for the Bears, who’ve only had the “King of the Pool” meet and a dual against Pacific, but once again, Cal dominated this event, winning five of the six disciplines and both relays, putting up some nation-leading times in the process and responding to a Texas team that’s been swimming fast early in the year.

Cal’s got big performances from Reece Whitley and Zheng Quah, who each swept their disciplines for the second year in a row with times that vaulted them to the top of the season rankings.

The sophomore Whitley swept the breaststrokes in 24.59/52.93/1:53.49. That 100 time ranks only 2nd to fellow sophomore phenom Max McHugh’s 52.59, and the 200 time is the fastest this season by a whopping 2.48 seconds. That’s a big improvement from last year’s meet for Whitley, who went 1:55.87 last year in a time that was then the fastest in the country at that point in the season.

Quah, meanwhile swept the fly events in 20.81/45.98/1:43.47.  Quah made the A-final in both the 100 and 200 fly events at last year’s NCAAs, and his times from yesterday put him #1 in the nation in both events so far this season.

Backstroke ace Bryce Mefford also got a sweep, winning all the backstroke events with times of 21.98/47.26/1:44.68. His 100 and 200 times rank 5th and 7th so far this season, respectively.

Ryan Hoffer won the 50 free in 19.57 and tied Michael Jensen in the 100 free with a 43.88, but Hoffer’s 1:42.20 in the 200 meant that Jensen’s 1:37.77 in the 200 gave him the sprint freestyle win. (Jensen had gone 20.53 in the 50). Hoffer’s 50 free time appears in the SWIMS database as the #1 time this season, but Blaise Vera was just a bit faster (19.53) yesterday on the first day of the Notre Dame-Pitt dual.

Hugo Gonzalez is swimming for Cal this year after transferring from Auburn via Virginia Tech, and won the IM crown at his first Triple Distance meet with wins in the 100 IM (49.46) and the 400 IM  (3:48.90). That 400 IM time is the 2nd-fastest in the nation behind UVA’s Casey Storch’s 3:48.26 from the Trojan Invite. Chris Jhong won the 200 IM with a time of 1:49.25. Sean Grieshop finished 3rd in the IM category behind Gonzalez and Jhong (51.81/1:51.02/3:54.39).

Trenton Julian won the distance 200 free (1:37.27) and the 500 free (4:25.36), but Stanford’s Grant Shoults got the distance title thanks to nine second victory over Julian in the 1000, 9:05.69 to 9:14.79.

Carr, Whitley, Pawel Sendyk, Nate Biondi combined to win the 200 medley relay in 1:27.02, while Hoffer, Jensen, Quah, and Mefford went 1:19.70 in the 200 free relay. Those times rank 7th and and 4th in the nation so far this season, pending, as always, on other results from this weekend. Sendyk split 20.42 on the fly leg of the medley relay, while Jensen’s 19.55 split on the 200 free relay was the fastest in the field.

Outside of Shoults, Stanford also got a strong performance from Alberto Mestre, who placed 3rd in both the 50 and 100 freestyles with times of 20.08/44.72. Mestre didn’t swim for Stanford last year, and his return should help buoy the sprint free relays. Stanford’s 200 free relay made the B-final at last year’s NCAAs, but featured all seniors, and the 400 free relay relay did not score. Another swim Stanford missed at the end of last year, Jack LeVant, did compete yesterday, finishing last in each of the fly events.

Cal Release

BERKELEY – California continued its steady progress through the fall season as the Bears earned five overall wins and swept a pair of relays against Stanford in the annual Triple Distance Meet at Spieker Aquatics Complex on Friday afternoon.

A unique meet that tests both teams’ depth, the Triple Distance Meet features three distances – 50, 100 and 200 yards – of each stroke, as well as a 200 medley relay and 200 free relay. Three Bears – Zheng Wen Quah, Bryce Mefford and Reece Whitley – won all three of their respective events to highlight the afternoon.

Quah cruised to wins in the butterfly events, taking the 50 in 20.81, the 100 in 45.98 and the 200 in 1:43.47 for a total time of 2:50.26, more than eight seconds ahead of Stanford’s Will Macmillan. In the backstroke, Mefford tallied wins in all three events (21.98 in the 50, 47.26 in the 100 and 1:44.68 in the 200) and posted a total time of 2:53.92 to beat out teammate Daniel Carr (2:55.87).

Whitley dominated all three breaststroke races (24.59 in the 50, 52.93 in the 100 and 1:53.49 in the 200) and finished with an overall time of 3:11.01.

Michael Jensen edged Stanford’s Alberto Mestre and Mason Gonzalez and teammate Ryan Hoffer for the overall freestyle victory thanks to an impressive showing in the 200 free event. The senior swam the 200 free in 1:37.77 to come from behind and beat out the Stanford duo and Hoffer, the latter of which entered the final event as the leader with wins in the 50 (19.57) and 100 (43.88).

Hugo Gonzalez and Chris Jhong traded blows in the individual medley with Gonzalez winning the 100 (49.46) and Jhong taking the 200 (1:49.25). It was Gonzalez who took the overall victory, however, thanks to a 3:48.90 finish in the 400.

Cal closed out the day with wins in both relay events. Carr, Whitley, Pawel Sendyk and Nate Biondi won the 200 medley relay in 1:27.02, besting Stanford by 1.43 seconds. The quartet of Hoffer, Jensen, Quah and Mefford then wrapped up the afternoon with a winning time of 1:19.70 in the 200 free relay.

“Today was a strong performance overall, it was good to race against someone other than ourselves,” said head coach David Durden. “We’ve gone through a long stretch with our focus being on training, so getting up and racing probably felt a bit uncomfortable for our guys. It was good for them to experience that today.

“Because we didn’t go into this meet with quantitative expectations, one of the challenges we tried to work through was the pace of the meet. Our goal was to have good communication amongst our group to understand how everyone was performing throughout the meet.”

The Bears will shift their focus to their final competition of the 2019 calendar year, the Minnesota Invitational, on Dec. 4-7 in Minneapolis. Cal’s swimmers and divers will both compete in the four-day meet.

For complete coverage of Cal men’s swimming and diving, please follow the Bears on Twitter (@CalMenSwim), Instagram (@CalMenSwim) and Facebook (Facebook.com/CalMensSwimmingandDiving).

Stanford Release

BERKELEY, Calif. Grant Shoults captured the 1,000-yard freestyle in Stanford’s annual fall exhibition meet with California on Friday at the Legends Aquatic Center.

It was the Cardinal’s penultimate competition of the fall, an annual unscored meet against California featuring the two longtime rivals. Shoults (9:05.69) earned Stanford’s lone win of the day in the 1,000 free.

Will Macmillan (21.84) paced the Cardinal in the first event of the day, the 50-yard butterfly, finishing second. Benjamin Ho(22.55) was Stanford’s fastest swimmer in the 50-yard backstroke in third place before Hank Poppe (25.51) was the runner up in the 50-yard breaststroke. Alberto Mestre (20.08) placed third in the final 50-yard event of the day, the 50-yard freestyle.

Johannes Calloni (53.43) was the fastest Cardinal in the 100-yard individual medley, placing fifth. In the 200-yard freestyle, Shoults (1:37.40) finished second before Macmillan (48.39) finished second in the 100-yard butterfly.

Ho (48.51) led Stanford with third place in the 100-yard backstroke and Poppe (54.18) placed second in the 100-yard breaststroke. Mestre (44.72) finished third to out touch Mason Gonzalez (44.95) in the 100-yard freestyle and Calloni was once against Stanford’s fastest swimmer in an individual medley, placing fifth in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 1:54.27.

Macmillan (1:48.61) paced the Cardinal in the 200-yard butterfly, Ho (1:46.67) was Stanford’s fastest swimmer in the 200-yard backstroke and Poppe (1:59.19) finished second in the 200-yard breaststroke ahead of third-place teammate Daniel Roy(2:01.42).

In the 200-yard freestyle, Gonzalez (1:39.71) finished runner-up ahead of third-place Mestre (1:40.82) before Calloni (4:01.83) placed fifth in the 400-yard individual medley.

Shoults (9:05.69) touched first in the 1,000 free for Stanford’s only win of the day while Andrew Matejka (9:18.08) finished third. Stanford’s team of Ho, Poppe, Macmillan and Mestre (1:28.45) placed second in the 200-yard medley relay before the team of Jordan Greenberg, Gonzalez, Neel Roy and David Madej (1:23.03) placed third in the 200-yard freestyle relay.

Stanford wraps up its fall action in two weeks when it competes in the Art Adamson Invitational in College Station, Texas.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

2 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
2 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted

Good to see both teams in action, and very nice to see Levant and Shoults swimming again. Many Stanford swimmers not swimming yesterday, especially several freshman, plus Liang and Murphy. Any info why?

Cal times look very strong, especially Quah and Whitley, among others. Very solid swims across the board.

Ol’ Longhorn

Indelible image of Whitley will always be his expression when Durden ass-planted at NCAAs at the end of the 100 back do-over.

Want to take your swimfandom to the next level?

Subscribe to SwimSwam Magazine!