No. 1 Cal men’s swim didn’t need a Trojan Horse to defeat No. 8 USC — all they did was outnumber them atop the leaderboards.
The Bears (5-0, 4-0) stayed undefeated with a commanding victory over the Trojans (6-1, 2-1) at Uytengsu Aquatics Center on Friday, 168-123.
The Bears received contributions throughout the lineup, not only taking first place on 10 of 14 swim events but also racking up second-, third- and fourth-place finishes.
“It’s just a continuation of what they’re doing every day,” said Cal head coach Dave Durden. “We get the opportunity today to do that against somebody else. We do it in our own training environment against each other, so it’s nice to race and compete against another team.”
The meet started out with two distinctly different races. The opener, the 200 medley relay, was a heart-pounding competition that saw freshman Ryan Hoffer come from behind to touch first for the Bears in a blistering 19.32 split.
Junior Nick Norman took the 1000 free comfortably with a time of 9:04.39, leading from start to finish.
The most telling of Cal’s depth shone through in events three through five on the day, which saw a trio of USC swimmers triumph. Redshirt senior Dylan Carter won the 200 free, freshman Robert Glinta took the title in the 100 back and junior Carsten Vissering was victorious in the 100 breast.
Despite the Trojans’ string of first-place finishes, two Bears followed Carter to touch in second and third, while three Bears followed closely behind Glinta and Vissering, securing crucial points for Cal.
After event five, Cal swimmers took all but one first-place finishes, with the exception of the 400 free relay — the final event. The Bears secured four trifectas on the way, including three in a row in the 200 fly, 50 free and 100 free.
Hoffer, Norman and junior Andrew Seliskar each had two individual wins. Hoffer dominated the sprints, taking the 50 and 100 free, while Norman was the king of distance, cruising to wins in the 500 and 1000 free. Seliskar separated himself by 3 seconds in both 200 breast and 200 IM en route to victory.
The swimmers’ performances were more than enough to cover up a less than desirable day for the divers. Sophomore Connor Callahan and freshman Johnny Robinson each had third-place finishes in the 1-meter and 3-meter, respectively.
“(It was) a great learning day,” said Cal diving coach Derek Starks. “I think our freshmen really stepped up — competitive in what they’ve been training, (both) for competition specifically and how they handle themselves mentally. Connor had a really rough day up on 3-meter, (but) he came back really strong on 1-meter.”
USC senior Dashiell Enos and sophomore Henry Fusaro traded places finishing first and second in both events, with Enos coming out on top in the 1-meter and Fusaro in the 3-meter. This wasn’t the last time Cal will see these two, as the Pac-12 Championships take place later this month.
Freshman diver Jared Kloos did not make the trip down to Los Angeles with the team because of a back injury. His status for the final dual meet of the season at Stanford in two weeks is still unknown.
The depth of the Bears has been their calling card to an impressive undefeated season thus far. They will continue to need that card to meet their expectations during championship season.