In its first competition after a three-week rest period, the Cal men’s swim and dive team put up a stellar performance against the Stanford Cardinal in a triple-distance meet featuring each stroke at three different distances.
Right out of the gate, Cal junior Zheng Wen Quah set the tone with a first-place finish in the 50-yard butterfly, recording a time of 21.20. Quah’s finishing time was a full second faster than Stanford sprinter Will Macmillan, who touched the wall at 22.22.
As the meet transitioned into the 50-yard backstroke, Cal sophomore Daniel Carr finished ahead of his teammate Bryce Mefford by just one one-hundredth of a second, as the two recorded times of 22.19 and 22.20, respectively. As the day went on, though, Mefford put on dominant performances in the 100- and 200-yard backstrokes and earned himself a combined 2:53.58 among the three events.
Mefford’s first-place combined time was nearly seven seconds faster than runner-up Patrick Conaton of Stanford.
Cal freshman Reece Whitley continued his streak of excellence this fall, winning each distance in the breaststroke with a combined time of 3:14.35. Most remarkably, Whitley’s 53.72 in the 100-yard breaststroke represented his fastest showing of the season, and the freshman is still yet to be beaten in the event on the entire season.
In the individual medley, Cal sophomore Trenton Julian battled his senior teammate Mike Thomas in each of the three distances. After Thomas claimed the 100 and Julian the 200, the two faced off in the 400 to see who would be the day’s top IMer. Though the two fought hard throughout the entire event, it was Julian who first touched the wall and earned a combined first-place time of 6:28.61.
Cal closed out the day with a pair of wins in the relay competitions, finishing with a 1:27.59 in the 200-yard medley relay and a 1:19.17 in the 200-yard freestyle relay.
Though the Bears could have come out sluggish and rusty in Thursday’s competition, they made it evident that they had used their three weeks away from competition to sharpen their skills and put themselves in the best position to win moving forward.
“It’s hard to flip the switch sometimes because your body gets adapted to a training mode, and then to race three or four times, that can be a little bit different from what we would do on a Thursday,” said head coach David Durden in a press release. “It was good to see our guys move through that. … I thought a little bit of our back-end swimming was better than where it was a month ago. We’ve got to dig into some of the details of it, because there’s a lot going on in a short amount of time, but all in all I think it was a good session for our guys.”
Though the competition against Stanford will not officially go on Cal’s record, the team can be proud of its success and what it achieved in Palo Alto on Thursday. Moving forward, the Bears will prepare for their final competition of the calendar year, the Georgia Fall Invitational, which is set to occur Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.
Joey Patton covers men’s swimming and diving. Contact him at [email protected].