Sophomore Ryan Murphy’s hand hit the wall almost three seconds ahead of his opponents in the 200-yard backstroke, claiming one of his three victories in the Triple Distance Meet, an exhibition match for bragging rights that does not affect either team’s season. This became a consistent theme throughout the day as Stanford struggled to keep pace with an athletically superior Bears unit.
Cal men’s swimming (2-0) proved that it is the best squad in the Pac-12 after crushing archrival Stanford (1-0) in Palo Alto, California. The Bears claimed the top times in 15 of the 20 events featured in the grueling Triple Distance Meet at the Avery Aquatic Center.
Cal head coach David Durden’s squad fell behind early on in the meet, as Stanford’s standout freshman Andrew Liang decisively took the top spot in the 50-yard butterfly with a time of 21.60. Cal responded quickly, adding a victory of its own in the following race, where Murphy took the 50-yard backstroke, posting a time of 22.10, beating out rising Stanford freshman Patrick Conaton, who finished in 23.36.
Cal won the next three races, with seniors Will Hamilton and Chuck Katis earning their first victories of the meet in the 100-yard individual medley and 50-yard breaststroke, respectively. The Cardinal had no response to Hamilton, Katis and Murphy, all of whom won three events in the day, ending any chance for Stanford to rebound. Cal’s dominant display marks Stanford’s second consecutive blowout loss in the annual Triple Distance Meet.
Other noteworthy performances came from junior Trent Williams, who was victorious in both the 100- and 200-yard freestyles — posting a 44.68 in the 100-yard freestyle and a 1:37.37, in the 200-yard freestyle. Cal senior Seth Stubblefield and sophomore Janardan Burns also emerged victorious, winning the 50-yard freestyle and 1000-yard freestyle, respectively.
The Bears earned their final victory of the meet with a victory in the 200-yard medley relay, beating out an outmatched Stanford squad. The relay team, led by Katis and Murphy, cruised to victory with a time of 1:27.94 — just about three seconds ahead of its opponents.
Although the Cardinal was shut down by the reigning national champions, the meet proved to be a successful showing for Stanford’s rising freshmen. Liang won two of his three individual races, losing by less than two seconds to Cal sophomore Long Gutierrez in the 200-yard butterfly. Fellow newcomer Conaton also finished third in the the 100-yard backstoke in just his second collegiate meet. Liam Egan earned his first victory with the Cardinal in the 200-yard freestyle. While Stanford failed to keep pace with Cal’s arsenal of talent, its rising freshmen show promise.
Stanford’s final victory of the day came narrowly in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Liang helped the Cardinal earn a time of 1:20.79 to beat out the Bears’ relay team by less than a second.
Cal’s bashing of Stanford on the road made a clear statement: The national championship will run through Berkeley. With the Bears riding high, it’s hard to imagine that any team has the ability to take down the national powerhouse.
Christian Legg covers men’s swim. Contact him at [email protected].