Cal men’s swimming and diving dominates No.15 Southern California

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Phillip Downey/File

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If “Bears get weird” was the motto of Cal men’s basketball game Thursday, “Bears get to work” should have been be the motto for the No. 2 Cal men’s swimming and diving meet against No. 15 Southern California.

After losing to the Trojans 149.5-148.5 in a dual meet last spring, the Bears bounced back to triumph over USC 177-109 on Friday at Spieker Aquatic Center, hardly giving up any first-place finishes in the constant drizzle.

In fact, the only two events in which the Bears did not record a best time was in the 100-yard breaststroke, which was won by Trojan sophomore Carsten Vissering, and in the 3-meter diving championed by USC freshman Henry Fusaro.

The dual meet format places high importance on the winners of each event, awarding first-place finishes with nine points and subsequent places with four, three, two and one points.

Aside from effortless wins by senior Ryan Murphy and exhibition appearances from alumni legends Nathan Adrian, John Prenot and Tom Shields, another of the stars of the afternoon was sophomore Andrew Seliskar.

Seliskar recorded the best times in all three of his individual events, finishing the 200-yard butterfly in 1:44.14, the 200-yard breaststroke in 1:57.19 and the 200-yard IM in 1:45.90 — all wins by over one second.

“I was pretty happy about my swims. At this point in the season, it is not really about times because I am not resting yet for conference,” Seliskar said. “As a team, everyone swam well. We didn’t have any gaps.”

The success of the afternoon could also not be achieved without the strong Cal diving presence. Even away from the crowds, diving at the new Legends Aquatic Center, freshman Connor Callahan attained first- and second-place scores in the 1-meter and 3-meter, respectively.

One of the most notable visuals of the meet was the constant wardrobe changes. The rainy weather required the swimmers to put on pants and sweaters — sometimes only to take them off around 10 seconds later— in order to keep their muscles warm between races.

With the shortened structure of the meet, an affair that would usually take around 2 hours was condensed into a little over an hour, which meant that swimmers had to stay on top of their transitions from event to event.

“The first thing you have to do to have success is to actually show up behind the blocks,” said Cal men’s swimming and diving head coach David Durden. “We weren’t great with that today but we will … hopefully be better in the next couple weeks.”

Aside from perfecting the logistics, both Durden and Seliskar have big training objectives in the two-week gap before the next dual meet.

“Once you start getting more rest in the weight room and pool, it is a good opportunity to focus on turns, starts, relay exchanges,” Seliskar said. “It is really exciting because everyone at this time of the year starts to swim a lot faster.”

Lucy Schaefer covers men’s swimming. Contact her at [email protected]