Coming into the last turn of the 200 breast race, Cal freshman Josh Prenot was behind senior teammate Trevor Hoyt by only an arm’s length.
With a powerful push off the wall followed by long dolphin dives underwater, Prenot overtook Hoyt in the last 25 yards and won his first collegiate meet by two seconds.
The duel between Prenot and Hoyt depicted the intense competition between the talented freshmen and the veterans on the Cal men’s swim team.
“Josh had good times while swimming in four different events,” head coach David Durden said. “He showed nice progression by working through the distances.”
In Wednesday’s meet against Pacific, the Bears routed the Tigers, 141-107, at Spieker Aquatics Complex. With Pacific providing little competition, Cal competed amongst itself for the best times.
Throughout the meet, freshmen such as Prenot, Jacob Pebley and Nick Dillinger won the head-to-head races against their upperclassmen in the 50 free, 200 back, and 400 IM races.
In nine out of the 14 total events, the freshmen swimmers placed in the top two on the scoreboards.
In their debut, the freshmen recruits had the spotlight from the very first event. In the 200 medley relay tilt, the younger group consisted of Pebley, Prenot, Dillinger and sophomore Christian Higgins.
They held their own against the powerhouse veteran group composed of Hoyt, junior Marcin Tarczynski and seniors Austin Brown and Dana Foster.
Traczynski demonstrated excellent technique in his own right, placing first in 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly.
When the 200 medley started, Tarczynski immediately gave the veteran group a strong start against Pebley. In the last leg, Dillinger was able to close the gap against Foster but couldn’t take the lead. The veteran group won the race by a meager 1.44 seconds.
While Pacific struggled overall, sophomore Oliver Simkovic was a bright spot for the Tigers. He provided a competitive race against Pebley in the 200 back.
Right from the push off the wall, Pebley held a slim lead over Simkovic. During the last 50 yards, Simkovic made his move and tried to close the gap between himself and Pebley.
Durden released a screeching whistle during the last 25 yards, a signal to aim for the finish. Pebley shortened his strokes for the final push and won with a time of 1:49.39. Simkovic finished second with a time of 1:50.92.
It was the highest a Tiger placed in the bout.
The results from the meet imply that Cal will have a strong freshman group ready to contribute immediately. The newcomers proved that they can become the new pillars of the team as a NCAA juggernaut for years to come.
“From a racing perspective this meet helped us to see where we are as a team and the progression that the team is making,” said coach Durden. ”These performances will keep our guys inspired.”
Hunter He covers men’s swimming. Contact him at [email protected]
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