Cal men’s swim and dive to face toughest competitors yet at Minnesota Invitational

Maya Valluru/Staff

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Whether it’s students frantically trying to finish their work before the end of the semester or seeing all the lights being hung up around campus, the holidays are lurking right around the corner. But for everyone, getting through the homestretch from now until finals is going to be a struggle.

The Cal men’s swim and dive team is no exception. It has had an excellent season thus far. Before the Bears can sit back and celebrate their achievements for the year, however, they will have to endure one more meet.

On Wednesday, the Bears will travel down to the University of Minnesota to compete in their first three-and-a-half-day invitational at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center. There, in addition to the home squad Minnesota, they will face off against some of the nation’s top teams including No. 1 Texas, No. 5 Michigan, No. 20 Arizona, No. 22 Iowa and nearly ranked Harvard.

While Cal is coming off of strong performances against both Stanford and USC, this will be the longest meet it has attended this season.

But head coach David Durden isn’t too worried. He said the team has already begun to place a greater focus on racing, which is something that should help ease the transition from training to competing.

“We’re going to look for some more performance from our guys (at Minnesota),” Durden said.

The men’s swim team will also face its toughest competition of the season. Nationally, Cal is currently ranked second only to Texas, with 311 points to the Longhorns’ 323. These two teams have been fighting for the top spot for years, with Cal taking the NCAA championship title from Texas for the first time in five years last season.

More of Cal men’s dive is also expected to begin their season. In November, freshman Nick Hart kicked off his collegiate career with an impressive debut against the Trojans. Senior Connor Callahan and junior Johnny Robinson made big waves on the boards last season, qualifying for their third- and second-straight NCAA championships, respectively. Their season debuts will surely be ones to watch out for this week.

Wednesday will kick off with the 200-yard medley relay and 800-yard freestyle relay. From there, teams will move into individual events. The meet is structured so that swimming preliminaries for each event will be held 10 a.m. and finals 6 p.m. on the same day. Diving preliminaries and semifinals will be held in the afternoon Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with finals running concurrently with swimming finals.

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