As the curtain fell on the Bears’ dual-meet season, nobody could have predicted the anticlimactic finale. The Cal men’s swim team visited Stanford’s Avery Aquatic Center on Saturday, dominating from the very first event to rout the No. 4 Cardinal with a final score of 169-74. The No. 2 Bears won all 11 of the swimming events to maintain their perfect season (8-0) and to put a blemish on the previously undefeated Stanford’s year (7-1), whose only victories came from defending NCAA champion junior Kristian Ipsen’s wins in the one- and three-meter diving events.
The last dual-meet competition of the year for the two archrivals, Saturday’s meet had been heralded as an important precursor to the 2014 Pac-12 Championships that will begin in Washington next week and the NCAA Championships in late March. Cal’s conference championship last year brought Stanford’s streak of 31 consecutive titles to an end.
Cal, the winner of 15 consecutive dual meets over the past two seasons, won both relays, including going 1-2 in the opening event, the 200 medley relay. The Bears’ A-squad (freshman Ryan Murphy, junior Chuck Katis, senior Tony Cox and junior Seth Stubblefield) set an Avery Aquatic Center record with a time of 1:26.77, breaking Stanford’s previous record of 1:27.19, established more than a decade ago. Cal’s B team (sophomore Jacob Pebley, seniors Ryan Studebaker, Marcin Tarczynski and Shayne Fleming) recorded a time of 1:28.65, edging out Stanford by 19 one-hundredths of a second to take second place. The Bears also won the final event of the day, the 200-free relay, at 1:19.52 (sophomore Tyler Messerschmidt, Fleming, junior Fabio Gimondi, Stubblefield).
A number of 1-2 and 1-2-3 finishes contributed to Cal’s dominating performance. Senior Jeremy Bagshaw (who holds the country’s best time in the 1000-free) and junior Adam Hinshaw finished first and second respectively in the 1000-free, the first of two wins for Bagshaw. Bagshaw also led a Bears sweep in the 500-free, recording a 4:20.85, followed by freshman Long Gutierrez and Hinshaw. Cal also dominated the 200-free, with junior Will Hamilton finishing first at 1:36.69. Sophomore Trent Williams and Gutierrez placed second and third, respectively. Gutierrez edged out Stanford sophomore Tom Kremer by .02 seconds to complete the sweep.
Messerschmidt also recorded two victories, in the 50-free (another Bears sweep) and the 100-free. Other wins for Cal coach David Durden’s squad include sophomore Josh Prenot in the 200 individual medley, Tarczynski in the 100-fly and Murphy in the 100-back. Standout Cardinal David Nolan placed second in the 100-back, disrupting the powerful backstroke duo of Murphy and Pebley, who hold some of the best times in the country. Stanford continued to struggle to place throughout the afternoon, however, with the Bears going first and second again in one of the last events of the meet, the 100-breast, with strong swims by Katis and Prenot.
“Our guys completed well,” Durden said. “We may not have caught Stanford at their best, but we know we will see their best in the month of March.”
Michelle Lee covers men’s swim. Contact her at [email protected].