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Haunted no longer: Cal soars past Stanford to usher in postseason

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FEBRUARY 21, 2023

Senior day.

The culmination of years of struggle, persistence and conviction. An exclamation point to a collegiate career. The end of a personal and community experience.

Before stepping into the water for their final home meet, 15 senior and graduate student-athletes were recognized at Spieker Aquatics Complex on Saturday, Feb. 18. And as they celebrated the end of their regular season in the space that held them, pushed them, shaped them, they also ushered in the beginning of a new journey: the postseason.

The postseason began when Cal men’s swim and dive stamped Spieker with victory, crushing Stanford 156-142 and finally putting the ghost of last season’s defeat to rest. The day was marked with success for both the old and new: graduate student Lucas Henveaux absolutely shined in just his second performance with the Bears, and household name Destin Lasco found the top of the podium on more than one occasion.

In perhaps the most exhilarating moment of the meet, Henveaux flew to first place in the 1,000-yard freestyle with a time of 8:45.39, breaking both the school and pool record that stood at 8:46.45 and 8:49.88, respectively. Runner-up Matthew Chai also broke the pool record, achieving his personal best of 8:49.82. The Belgian also finished second in the 500-yard free, less than a second slower than first-place Preston Forst.

Saturday was a day for breaking barriers and rising above yourself, as various Bears set personal records in home water. A dominant force on the team, Lasco found first in three events: the 100- and 200-yard backstroke, and the 200-yard individual medley, all of which he won with around a one second margin. Sophomore Gabriel Jett took home the 100- and 200-yard butterfly; his time of 45.21 in the 100 yard fly was a season best.

Veterans Reece Whitley and Hugo Gonzalez also found first and second in the 200-yard breaststroke and 200-yard back, respectively.

Despite the win and multitude of broken records, perhaps Cal’s kryptonite has still not changed since a year ago. Stanford’s Jack Ryan swept the diving events, his margin of victory large enough to be embarrassing. In the three-meter dive, Ryan’s score of 395.63 was more than 76 points higher than that of the runner-up. Cal’s Joshua Thai attempted to match Ryan’s excellence but fell slightly short: his second place score of 345.90 in the one-meter dive was incomparable to Ryan’s 381.08.

Of the 16 events at the center of contestation, the Bears won 10, including the opening and closing relays. With this chapter on Stanford and the regular season closed, the blue and gold will now look towards championship season.

The Bears will first head to the Pac-12 diving championships from Feb. 22-25 before competing in the Pac-12 swimming championships beginning March 1. Both competitions will be held in Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Washington, where Cal will have a chance to face the No. 1 ranked team in the nation for the second time this season: the Arizona State Sun Devils.

Contact Cynthia Ge at 


FEBRUARY 21, 2023