Bears In Front After Day Three
HOUSTON – California vaulted itself into first place at the 2021 Pac-12 Men's Swimming & Diving Championships with four individual wins and a relay victory Tuesday at Houston's CWRC.
Hugo González and Ryan Hoffer opened Tuesday's finals session by defending their respective titles in the 400 individual medley and the 100 butterfly. Gonzalez touched in 3:37.31 while Hoffer finished in 45.22. Two events later, Reece Whitley repeated as the 100 breaststroke champion (51.38) before Destin Lasco beat out a pair of teammates to win the 100 backstroke in 45.30. The night concluded with Daniel Carr, Whitley, Hoffer and Björn Seeliger clocking 1:22.74 to claim the 200 medley relay.
The Golden Bears ended Tuesday's finals session with 640 points and head into the final day of competition with an 89-point lead over second-place Stanford (551) and third-place Arizona (466).
González's 3:37.31 in the 400 IM was the second-fastest in the NCAA this year and gave Cal its ninth straight victory in the event dating back to 2013. Sean Grieshop claimed third, improving his season-best time to 3:41.30.
Hoffer reeled off Cal's eighth consecutive victory at the 2021 championship meet, out-lasting the 100 fly field with the nation's ninth-fastest time. It marked the seventh straight year that a Bear has come away with the win in the event.
Whitley made easy work of his 100 breast victory, posting a season-best time of 51.38, which also stands as the fifth-fastest in the nation. Behind him was freshman Forrest Frazier, placing fourth (52.64).
The 100 back final was a Cal affair, as Lasco (45.30) out-paced senior teammates Carr (45.35) and Bryce Mefford (45.38) for his first career Pac-12 individual title.
Cal beat the field by nearly 1.5 seconds to win its fifth straight 200 medley relay title. Carr and Hoffer have been a part of each of the Bears' past four victories in the event at Pac-12s dating back to 2018.
The only event of the evening Cal didn't win was the 200 free, but the Bears still amassed 55 points behind a runner-up placement from Trenton Julian (1:32.29) as well as sixth- and seventh-place finishes from Lasco (1:33.73) and Zach Yeadon (1:34.53). Colby Mefford won the consolation final in 1:34.04.
The Pac-12 Men's Swimming & Diving Championships conclude Wednesday with the 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 fly, 1650 free and 400 free relay events. Cal is seeded first in five of the six events, including the relay. Prelims for the individual events – excluding the 1650 free – begin at 9 a.m. PT and finals start at 4:30 p.m. PT Tuesday on the Pac-12 Network, Pac-12 Now app and Pac-12.com.
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