Callahan breaks record as Cal men’s swim and dive tames Tigers

Vivian Roan/Staff

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Though the October sky was dull and gloomy, the Cal men’s swim team’s dual meet against the University of the Pacific on Wednesday was anything but.

The matchup got off to an exciting start as Cal swimmers Ethan Young, Carson Sand, Pawel Sendyk and Bryce Mefford claimed first place in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:27.96.

As the races transitioned into the second event, senior Nick Norman finally got the chance to showcase his talents in the 1,000-yard freestyle. In his first trial of the season, Norman left his competition in the dust with a first-place time of 9:07.71.

Freshman Reece Whitley continued to make a strong impression on the NCAA, as he recorded a first-place 1:56.69 finish in the 200-yard breaststroke. The nation’s top recruit was competing in just his second meet as a Bear.

Just behind Whitley was senior Sand with a time of 2:03.67. Earlier that day, Sand won the 100-yard breaststroke with a 54.53.

Though all of Cal’s swimmers battled in the team’s victory against Pacific, it was sophomore Trenton Julian who stole the show. Julian claimed first place in the 200-yard freestyle, 500-yard freestyle and the 200-yard individual medley with times of 1:37.52, 4:23.23 and 1:48.85, respectively. After his stellar performance, the sophomore explained that his team has been motivated to stay hungry in the new season.

“Being able to train with (the team) this semester feels a lot better, and seeing what they’re putting up makes me want to go faster,” Julian said. “All the guys put up great times. … Seeing that in the beginning made me want to race the 200 even more.”

While the swim team was putting on a clinic at the Spieker Aquatics Complex, the dive team was making history just down the street at the Legends Aquatic Center. On his final 1-meter dive of the day, junior Connor Callahan performed a 2 1/2 somersault tuck that earned him a score of 72.08. This score pushed his total to a whopping 379.28, breaking Sam Helvie’s school record, 375.92, that had stood since 2006.

Behind Callahan in the 1-meter dive were teammates Johnny Robinson in second place and Jackson Gabler in third. The trio also claimed the top three spots in the 3-meter dive, with Callahan finishing in first, Robinson in second and Gabler in third. The dominant performance from Callahan and company has head diving coach Derek Starks optimistic for the season ahead.

“We’re off to a good start,” Starks said. “This allows (Callahan) to get back into focusing on some of his newer dives so we can start plugging those into the next meets and really get ready towards the end of the season. I’m very, very happy with the performance today and him setting himself up great.”

In a dual meet filled with hat tricks, shattered school records and breakout performances, the Bears were able to dominate their opponents and etch another W into the win column.

Joey Patton covers men’s swimming and diving. Contact him at [email protected].