Bears go back to basics in preparation for first home meet

The Cal men's swimming team posted a 4-2 record in dual meets in the 2012 season, losing to Stanford and Arizona.
Andrew Kuo/File
The Cal men's swimming team posted a 4-2 record in dual meets in the 2012 season, losing to Stanford and Arizona.

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With limited meets in the fall, the Cal men’s swim team’s first home meet of the year will be invaluable to determine player progression and lineups.

On Wednesday at 1 p.m., the Bears will host their first dual meet of the year against Pacific at Spieker Aquatics Complex. Rather than focus on final splits or the opponent, head coach David Durden will instead tinker with lineups and emphasize basic techniques.

Swimmers will focus on doing six dolphin kicks under water after a turn and work on a consistent number of strokes, especially in the butterfly and breaststroke events.

“When we started in fall, we ease into it,” said senior Nick Trowbridge. “(Coach Durden) likes to make us be more pensive and get the technical things. He does not want us to mindlessly get into shape but do it with a purpose.”

That purpose: reach the NCAA Championships in the spring. The Bears single mindedly train and compete with that final goal in sight.

And a home tilt with a confernce foe will provide excellent training ground.

The meet will provide a critical look at the Tigers under first-year head coach Peter Richardson. Pacific returns 20 swimmers from last year’s squad, which took seventh at the MPSF Championships. The Tigers possess a balanced roster paced by senior captain Zachary Zlotoff.

As a whole, the Division III Tigers will not prove serious threats to the more nationally established Cal.

With such a dulled competitive edge to it, the meet will be Durden’s platform to introduce lesser-used swimmers to the pool.

Decoated swimmers such as the reigning 200 im NCAA champion Marcin Tarcynski, 100 fly and 100 back champion Tom Shields and 200 fly champion Will Hamilton will see limited time in the pool.

Instead, freshmen and sophomores will have a chance to try to incorporate themselves into the lineup at this bout. Sophomore Tyler Messerschimdt will compete in both the free and backstroke events. Messerschmidt  was a 2012 NCAA champion as a member of the Bears’ 200 free relay.

Sophomore Adam Hinshaw will compete in both freestyle and individual medley. Hinshaw had a productive summer where he nicked five seconds off of his personal best for silver in the 200 IM in the U.S. Open.

Freshman Jacob Pebley, the fourth-best recruit in the nation, will also see time at the freestyle, backstroke, and Individual medley events.

At this early point in the season, the Bears will ease into the season by conserving their strength and perfecting their strokes at Wednesday’s tilt.

“We like to see our freshmen race well since its the first dual meet of the year,” said coach Durden. “There is a genuine level of excitement. We want the swimmers to hone in on their specific events and the seniors to finish their collegiate season on a high note.”

Contact Hunter He at [email protected].