Pac-12 Men's Swimming Championships set for Federal Way
With five of the six Pac-12 teams ranked in the top 25 in the Feb. 23 College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) poll, the 2015 Pac-12 Men’s Swimming Championships are shaping up to be as competitive as ever. With several national team members in the field, the meet will continue to showcase some of the top swimmers in the world.
ARIZONA (4-6, 1-4 Pac-12)
No. 13 ARIZONA brings back Pac-12 and NCAA champion Kevin Cordes, who owns the current Pac-12 Championship record times in both breaststroke events. The Cats also have another NCAA champion returning to Federal Way in Brad Tandy, who is on a seven-meet win streak in the 50 free and currently owns the fourth time in the nation in the 50 free after winning the co-Pac-12 and NCAA title in the event last year. Michael Meyer, a junior for the Wildcats, has been a powerhouse multi-event performer for Arizona, owning the best time on the squad in both individual medleys, the 200 fly, and both breaststrokes.
ARIZONA STATE (3-8, 0-5 Pac-12)
ARIZONA STATE suffered from a lot of turnover, and look to a primarily young squad to compete at Pac-12s this year. Senior Zac Dalby spearheads the young roster, holding the top individual medley times on the squad. Junior Thibaut Capitaine also comes back for another year, as the current school record holder in the 100 and 200 breaststroke. Sophomore Barkley Perry has been a bright spot in the underclassmen, swimming in multiple events and holding the top team times in the 200 back and the 500 free.
CALIFORNIA (7-0, 4-0 Pac-12)
Second-ranked CALIFORNIA looks for its third-straight championship after an undefeated dual season for the third season in a row, as the Bears have won 22 straight dual meets dating back to the 2012-13 season. Cal returns the majority of its NCAA Champion roster from last season, including freestyle swimmers in junior Tyler Messerschmidt and senior Seth Stubblefield. Messerschmidt and Stubblefield, along with standout Ryan Murphy, combined for three of the four legs of the winning 200 freestyle relay at Pac-12s last year. Murphy currently holds two of the top times in the nation in the 100 and 200 back, the same events he won NCAA titles in last season. In the other strokes, Chuck Katis and Josh Prenot lead the Bears in the breaststroke while Prenot and Will Hamilton are top performers in the individual medleys.
STANFORD (5-2, 2-2 Pac-12)
12th-ranked STANFORD will be paced by plenty of returning talent. Senior David Nolan has led the Cardinal in short-distance freestyle and the backstroke, and looks to pick up a Pac-12 title in his final league championships. The long-distance free is paced by junior Danny Thomson, who has earned All-America honors in the 1650 free for two-straight years, while the breaststroke has been led by Daniel Le, a sophomore for the Cardinal. Sophomore Maxwell Williamson, a member of the U.S. National Junior Team prior to joining the team, has been a standout individual medley performer for Stanford so far this season.
USC (6-2, 4-1 Pac-12)
Coming in at 11th in the CSCAA polling, USC has a meld of veteran swimmers and standout newcomers that propel the Trojans in the pool. Senior Cristian Quintero, an Olympian from 2012 and a swimmer for the Venezuelan team, returns for his fourth year in the pool after repeating as Pac-12 champion in the 200 and 500 free, along with sophomores Reed Malone and Dylan Carter, two of the top freestyle swimmers for USC. Newcomers include freshmen Pawel Furtek, a swimmer for the Polish national team who is a leader in the freestyle for USC, and Ralf Tribuntsov, who has the best time on the roster in the 100 back and the second-best in the 200 back. Morten Klarskov, a junior for the Trojans, leads the roster in the breaststroke as well.
UTAH (9-1, 2-1 Pac-12)
No. 20 UTAH is paced by long-distance freestyle Bence Kiraly, who owns the top time in the league in the 800 and 1650 free and took home the individual title in the 1650 event last year. The short-distance freestyle is spearheaded by Nick Soedel, the reigning Pac-12 co-champion in 50 free. Kristian Kron, a junior for the Utes, is the leader in the back and the individual medley, and junior transfer Quillan Oak has burst onto the scene in the breaststroke with the top times for the team.