For the first four races in this weekend’s Cal Poly invite, teammates Marcin Tarczynski and Will Hamilton matched each other stroke for stroke.
Separated by only half a second heading into the last event, Cal men’s swimming team’s Tarczynski prevailed over sophomore Hamilton in the individual medley. Tarczynksi was crowned as “King of the Pool” for a third year in a row. He had an aggregate time of 4:12.39 against Hamilton’s 4:14.18.
“It was a little bit closer than it has been in years past. It came down to the last race where Marcin had less than a second lead on Will, but Marcin ended winning the last race to take home the crown,” Cal coach David Durden said.
The exhibition meet started at Sept. 21 and continued through Sept. 22 at the Anderson Aquatic Center in San Luis Obispo, Calif. This exhibition meet was an individual competition between the Cal swimmers and the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo swimmers. The Bears consistently came up with better times and competed against each other for the fastest times.
Last Friday’s session consisted of a pentathlon, where each swimmer had to swim 100 fly, 100 back, 100 breast, 100 free, and 100 individual medley. The fastest swimmer with those five times added together was crowned “King of the Pool”.
There was no surprise that the defending champion Tarcynski would be in contention again, but this year he was pushed to his limits by the sophomore Hamilton. Both swimmers had to demonstrate their versatility in all five strokes.
“He was the guy to beat,” said Hamilton. “(Even though) it was not really a serious meet, I just wanted to race Marcin and beat some other guys. It came down to 100 IM, he proved to be the better swimmer there. It was fun though.”
Hamilton exceeded expectations in the 100 breast with 55.95 seconds and nearly tied Tarczynski before the last race. However, Tarczynski kicked himself into the second gear for the last event, beating Hamilton by almost a second and a half.
After placing first in 100 fly, 100 back, and 100 IM, many people were surprised by how much Tarcynski improved in one year.
“I mean winning is always nice. It doesn’t matter what kind of meet it is. I’m just happy that with every year I get better,” Tarcynski said. “The fact that I was faster in every event gives me a lot of confidence.”
Last week’s exhibition proved to be a great opportunity for team bonding — it was the first collegiate meet for the 12 incoming freshmen. The freshmen swimmers proved they are capable of replenishing a depleted sprint group after the graduation of eight seniors.
“It was good for our freshman to race with the others and get out of the dorm. Without looking at times, we have a better identity than we had last time (at this point of the season),” Coach Durden said. “There is better assimilation among our classes compared to last year. I think our athletes are more advanced than last year.”