After a decisive 167.5-130.5 win in Friday’s home duel against Stanford, Cal men’s swim and dive moved to a record of 2-0, adding another win after a victory over USC less than a month ago. This marks the Bears’ third straight perfect season; in both 2019 and 2020, the blue and gold went 6-0. Although two wins do not inspire the same kind of confidence six wins do, given the uncertainty surrounding the season due to COVID-19, the Bears have much to be proud of.
Friday was no exception. Of the 16 events present, Cal took first in 10, capturing victories in eight of the individual races and both relays. The team’s winning mindset was evident in the very first race of the day as Daniel Carr, Reece Whitley, Ryan Hoffer and Björn Seeliger finished the 200-yard medley relay in a pool-record time of 1:24.38. The foursome also beat its time of 1:24.62 at the January meet against USC by 0.24 seconds.
Senior team members dominated in what was their last regular season meet together. Tying the pool record set by Andrew Seliskar, Bryce Mefford finished first in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 1:44.07. Zach Yeadon also set a pool record of 8:49.88 in the 1,000-yard freestyle.
But on a day that saw five pool records broken, Trenton Julian stole the show, setting pool records in both the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle. His 200 time of 1:33.53 and 500 time of 4:14.08 are currently the ninth and eighth best times in the nation, respectively. Julian adds to his already impressive resume as a three-time Pac-12 champion, two-time U.S. national team member and nine-time member of the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America All-American team.
Though its final season was shortened and its meets were devoid of fans, this class of seniors — which was instrumental in Cal’s 2019 NCAA title-winning season and three consecutive Pac-12 team titles — showed exactly why Cal has been practically unbeatable for the last four years.
The team will now head to Tucson, Arizona, for the Pac-12 Diving Championship. The four-day event will start Wednesday and run through Saturday.
The Bears enter the tournament hoping to win their fourth straight Pac-12 championship. Cal will face off against Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford, USC and Utah.
Spectators keeping up with the championship should look out for Stanford’s star junior diver, Conor Casey, who scored a whopping 373.58 in the 1-meter dive against Cal on Friday. Casey’s diving career thus far has been nothing short of remarkable. He was All-American and won the Pac-12 championship for the 1-meter and 3-meter dive in 2020. The same year, he made the Pac-12 Winter Academic Honor Roll. This week, Casey seems to be the man to beat.
Tony Chen, a junior from Utah, may be the competitor to do just that. Chen received a score of 315.38 and came in first place in the 1-meter dive in Utah’s meet against Colorado Mesa. He also scored 393.85 for a series of six dives that earned him a first-place finish at the Air Force Diving Invitational.
The 2021 Pac-12 Diving Championship will look significantly different than last year’s. In accordance with Pac-12 regulations, fans, with the exception of student-athlete families, will not be allowed to attend. Spurred on by their teammates, coaches and virtual supporters, the Bears will look to continue their undefeated run.
Cynthia Ge covers men’s swim and dive. Contact her at [email protected].