Cal men’s swim to face Stanford, dive enters season opener

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All good things come in threes.

Three books in a trilogy. Three wishes to be granted. Third time’s the charm.

And this Friday, No.1 Cal will head into its third competition of the year to face off against No. 10 Stanford in their annual Triple Distance Meet.

The meet will consist of three distances per stroke — 50, 100 and 200-yards. Cal has historically donned impressive performances against Stanford in this meet, winning a majority of the previous six events and both relays over the last 5 years, and the Bears’ strong performances earlier this season indicates that we can expect another strong performance from them this weekend.

Both Cal and Stanford are coming off of strong recent performances against the University of the Pacific two weekends apart.

Cal performed better than Stanford against the Tigers in its respective matchup. In the 200-yard free, Cal senior Zheng Wen Quah posted a top time of 1:34.91. Taking into account his crowning as “King of the Pool” in this year’s season opener, and his dominance at last year’s Triple Distance Meet against Stanford, Quah is surely one to look out for this weekend.

Sophomore Reece Whitley has brought his success in the breaststroke from last season into this one. In last month’s dual meet, he easily outswam his pool, posting a time of 53.19 in the 100-yard breaststroke.

Stanford’s Grant Shoults also placed first in the 200-yard free with a time of 1:38:09, nearly four seconds behind Quah’s finishing time two weeks prior. Hank Poppe, who posted a winning time of 54.62 for the Cardinal against Pacific, also finished behind his Cal counterpart Whitley in the 100-yard breaststroke.

In last season’s Triple Distance, the Bears also outswam the Cardinal in the 50-yard free, the 200-yard back and the 100-yard fly.

In addition to the individual events, the Bears have also historically swept both relays. But nothing is guaranteed, as the Cardinal have shown their worth more often than not this season against talented competition.

While it certainly seems as though Cal will have the edge this weekend, it’s important to note that the Cardinal’s team this year looks a bit different than it has in previous years. With the graduation of key team members and the retirement of former head coach Ted Knapp, it is difficult to predict how the team will shape up as the season continues.

Both teams have had a few weeks to regroup and prepare for this week’s meet, which may provide the upper hand this weekend.

On the boards, the Cal men’s dive team will hit the road for the first time as it heads to USC this weekend to face the Trojans in their season opener. The Trojans have already started their season with a recent loss at Arizona. The Bears have the chance to showcase their ability and set the tone for their upcoming season.

Amber Fang covers men’s swim & dive. Contact her at [email protected].