Cal Wins Fifth Straight Pac-12 Title
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. – California won its fifth consecutive Pac-12 Men's Swimming & Diving Championship on Saturday, storming to a 93.5-point victory after entering the final day of the conference meet with a 63-point deficit to rival Stanford.
The Golden Bears earned individual titles in the 200-yard backstroke, 100 freestyle, and 200 butterfly before capping the meet with a conference-record-setting 400 free relay victory. Cal finished the meet with 853.5 points ahead of Stanford (760) and Arizona State (652). Cal has won seven of the past 10 Pac-12 Men's Swimming & Diving Championships – all under head coach David Durden – dating back to 2013. The Bears have won nine total conference titles since 1980 (1980, '81, 2011, '12, '18, '19, '20, '21, '22).
A dominant morning in prelims set the tone, as Cal sent 16 swimmers to A finals, including five in the 200 back.
That momentum carried over to the evening as four Bears earned top-five finishes in the 200 back, led by champion Destin Lasco (1:38.81) and Pac-12 meet-record holder Daniel Carr (1:38.90). Bryce Mefford (1:39.49) and Colby Mefford (1:40.81) took fourth and fifth, respectively.
Björn Seeliger put Cal in the driver's seat in the following event, earning his third individual title of the week in the 100 free with a finish of 41.51. Paired with Jack Alexy's third-place finish of 41.93, Seeliger's title pushed the Bears into a first-place lead it would not relinquish the rest of the night. Seeliger swept the sprint freestyle events and totaled a whopping 60 individual points at the meet.
Trenton Julian defended his Pac-12 200 fly title in 1:39.95 and was followed closely by Dare Rose (1:41.36) in third and Gabriel Jett (1:41.42) in fourth.
Cal's Dylan Hawk, Alexy, Hugo González and Seeliger swam the fourth-fastest 400 free relay in NCAA history, clocking 2:45.94 to nip Arizona State by a 0.01-second margin. Hawk's leadoff split of 42.19 gave way to more impressive efforts by Alexy (41.14), González (41.46) and Seeliger (40.91). The 2:45.94 finish was a Pac-12 Conference record, besting the former mark of 2:46.41, set by Cal's Michael Jensen, Pawel Sendyk, Ryan Hoffer and Andrew Seliskar in 2019.
In the other two individual events of the night, González (1:50.57) and Reece Whitley (1:50.89) placed second and third in the 200 breaststroke while Sean Grieshop was Cal's top finisher in the 1650 free, taking fifth in 15:00.90.
Fifth-year seniors Daniel Carr, Grieshop, Julian and Bryce Mefford have been a part of all five Pac-12 team titles dating back to 2018. The quartet, joined by graduate transfer Will Roberts, amassed 173 individual points in the championship meet.
It was a steady climb up the standings throughout the week for the Bears, who found themselves in sixth place after seven events due to no diving points. Cal's biggest push came on Friday when it tallied 295 points, setting up the meet-clinching efforts on Saturday.
Cal travels east for the 2022 NCAA Championships on March 23-26 at the McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
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