HOUSTON – California won its fourth straight Pac-12 Men's Swimming & Diving Championship, concluding a dominant week with five individual victories – including a conference record in the 200 fly and two conference championship records in the 1650 free and 200 breast – and one relay win Wednesday at Houston's CWRC.
The Golden Bears won 17 of 18 swimming events across the four-day championship meet, totaling 970 points to finish 182 points ahead of runner-up Stanford (788). Cal's 17 Pac-12 individual/relay victories are a program record, besting the former mark of 15 set by the 2019 team. The 970-point total was one shy of tying the 2018 squad's school record (971) at Pac-12s. The 2021 team title was highlighted by an eight-man senior class that has been a part of Cal's four conference titles dating back to 2018.
Ryan Hoffer was named the Pac-12 Swimmer of the Meet for the second consecutive year after sweeping his three individual events and contributing to four relay wins throughout the week. After winning the 50 free and 100 fly on Monday and Tuesday, Hoffer captured the 100 free title in 41.57 seconds Wednesday. He swam on Cal's winning relay squads in the 400 medley, 200 free, 200 medley and 400 free relay events.
Cal has won six of the past nine Pac-12 Men's Swimming & Diving Championships – all under head coach David Durden – dating back to 2013. The Bears have won eight total conference titles since 1980 (1980, '81, 2011, '12, '18, '19, '20, '21).
Zach Yeadon started the evening with a Pac-12 Championship-record performance in the 1650 free (14:33.69), shaving 0:27 off of Nick Norman's former mark of 14:33.96 for his first Pac-12 individual title.
The Bears flexed their dominance in the next event, going 1-2-3-4-5-6 in the 200 back, led by freshman Destin Lasco who touched in 1:38.13 to sweep the backstroke events. Cal tallied 85 total points with its six swimmers taking the top marks in the 200 back event.
Hoffer made it 3-for-3 in individual events at the 2021 Pac-12 Championships with his 41.57 in the 100 free. It was the second-fastest time in the nation this year and gave the senior his 17th of 18 career Pac-12 individual/relay titles.
Reece Whitley sealed his breaststroke sweep with a new Pac-12 Championship record in the 200 breast, touching in 1:48.86 to top Andrew Seliskar's former time of 1:49.80 from 2019.
Trenton Julian saved his best for last in the final individual event of the meet, finishing the 200 fly in 1:38.53 to set a new Pac-12 record and a new Cal school record (previously held by Zheng Wen Quah since 2017, 1:38.83). It was the nation's fastest time this year and ranks Julian as the third-fastest ever in the event, trailing just Texas' Jack Conger and Joseph Schooling.
The night concluded with Cal's 2:48.66 finish in the 400 free relay. Daniel Carr, Björn Seeliger, Lasco and Hoffer won the event by nearly 2.5 seconds to complete the Bears' relay sweep. Cal became the second team in the last quarter century to sweep all five relay events, joining the 2019 Bears as the only squads to do so.
Cal shifts its focus to the 2021 NCAA Championships, which begin in three weeks on March 24-27 in Greensboro, North Carolina. NCAA invitations will be announced in the upcoming days. The Bears are the reigning NCAA champions, winning their sixth team title in 2019.
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