With seven different Bears grabbing first in their respective events, Cal turned in another solid performance against the Badgers on Saturday and improved to 2-0 .
The Bears were not in full force due to sickness of certain swimmers and the absence of Tom Shields, who has not joined the team since the start of the season. But at the Spieker Aquatics Complex, they were still able to defeat Wisconsin, 158-125, without trouble.
Cal relied on junior Marcin Tarczynski, freshman Josh Prenot and sophomore Will Hamilton to carry the load this weekend. With each of them swimming in four different events, it seemed like one or another of the trio was always in the pool throughout the progression of the meet.
Coach Durden stressed the importance of maintaining good technique while balancing it with frequencies of their strokes. The trio showed the importance of technique as they endured through a physically taxing day of competition.
Junior Shayne Fleming and the Bears’ trio started off the meet with a win for Cal in the 200 medley relay. They were able to beat out Wisconsin’s relay squad — led by seniors Michael Weiss and Dan Lester — by less than two seconds.
“We were very consistent today with our racing,” said Cal coach David Durden. “We had a solid relay and this spread-out meet gave us an opportunity to good performances from a number of swimmers such as Josh, Marcin, and Will.”
With his long wingspan and 6-foot-4 frame, Hamilton was able to conserve energy throughout the meet by using his underwater work. In addition, he was able to preserve his efficiency through his powerful breakouts,which cut down on his stroke count.
This meet was a great test of Hamilton’s stamina, and he did his best to not allow his technique to break down. He placed first in the 200 fly with a time of 1:48.44 and second in the 200 breast with a time of 2:02.57.
Prenot’s performance was the surprise of the meet. He took home the 1,000 free — the longest race of the meet — with a time of 9:15.55.
Being able to put up points for Cal in breast, fly and IM, he showed his versatility and virtually solidified his spot in the lineup for the upcoming meets. His long deep strokes are perfect for distance events, which helped him place first in the 200 IM with a time of 1:48.84.
“I’m smaller than most swimmers so fatigue is a bigger problem for me,” Prenot said. “All freshmen are learning in these early races from both a mental aspect and a physical aspect.”
Wisconsin had their own star freshman in John Bushman. From one freshman to another, Bushman was the bright spot for Wisconsin and showed that he can be the leader of the team for years to come.
He performed well from start to finish and ended as Wisconsin’s top scorer. He placed first in the 200 breast by beating out NCAA champion Hamilton with a time of 2:02.48 and second in 100 breast to sophomore Christian Higgins.
Weiss also contributed by placing first in 200 timing in at 1:38.39. Wisconsin, led by Senior Michael Weiss and Freshman John Bushman, ultimately came up short due to their lack of depth.
“The meet was a great way to bring the team together,” said sophomore Hamilton. “It’s different from practice, and it is a good opportunity for the chemistry to come together and for us to get used to swim fast.”