BERKELEY, California, November 1. TODAY’S dual meet featuring the men’s and women’s teams of Wisconsin and California was a homecoming of sorts for Wisconsin head coach Whitney Hite. He spent two seasons at Cal working as an assistant coach from 2004 to 2006 on the women’s team.
The Golden Bears didn’t make it a completely happy occasion for Hite and his teams, as the Badgers were outmatched in nearly every event. The Cal women won the meet 163-111, while Cal’s men’s team racked up a 151-131 final score.
Jeremy Bagshaw started the meet off right for Cal in the first men’s individual event, the 1000 freestyle, dropping four seconds off his season-best time to win with a 9:02.45. The time trumped what had been the nation’s best swim so far this season, a 9:02.50 by Michigan’s NCAA champion Connor Jaeger. Bagshaw has been a standout for the men’s distance program at Cal, and is showing improvements under lead distance coach Yuri Suguiyama. Bagshaw was utterly alone in chasing Jaeger’s time, winning the race over teammate Jamey Lyon by 20 seconds.
Ryan Murphy also had a standout meet, posting the fastest official time of the season in the 200 backstroke with a 1:43.13. He already had the fastest time with a 1:43.72 from a few weeks ago, but still falls short of the benchmark time of 1:42.50 set by Texas’ Jack Conger during an intrasquad meet that is not being recognized as an official time because the intrasquad meet was not sanctioned. Today’s 200 back race featured NCAA finalist Jacob Pebley of Cal in second with a 1:45.30, his fastest time of the season by 1.3 seconds, and reigning NCAA champion Drew teDuits, who was third with a 1:45.76 to drop his season best by a second.
Seth Stubblefield became the fourth swimmer under 20 seconds so far this season in the 50 freestyle, winning the event today with a 19.99. It’s an improvement of four tenths from his previous best this season, a major drop for a 50-yard event. Stubblefield’s lifetime best is 19.41 the 2012 NCAA championships, but he has the potential now to beat that time when the championship season rolls around. Stubblefield is now also in the top five in the 100 fly with his 47.78 that was the fastest swim in the event, as he was entered as an exhibition swimmer.
Early in the season, Tyler Messerschmidt was the fastest 100 freestyler in college swimming this season, with a 44.20 to his credit. He did everything in his power to get that ranking back, but could “only” muster a 44.06 in the individual 100 free, followed by a 44.03 leading off the 400 free relay. That puts him in a tie for third with Luke Percy and Jonathan Boffa. Fabio Gimondi also gave Cal another swimmer in the 44-second club with a 44.75 today.
Messerschmidt, who has been a drop-dead sprinter for most (if not all) of his swimming career, showed promise in the 200 free with a 1:37.79. Messerschmidt might be called on to help Cal in the 800 free relay at the end of the season, possibly the one event that helped secure Cal’s national titles in 2011 and 2012. It’s the squad’s weakest relay of the five on the program, but a top-eight finish in the long relay at the NCAAs keeps them in the title hunt.
Marcin Tarczynski now moves into the top 10 nationally in the 200 fly with a 1:47.23, though he’s likely to continue to swim the 200 backstroke at the NCAAs on the third day.
The women’s meet produced a few impressive times, but couldn’t outdo what was happening in the men’s competition. The only wins Wisconsin earned today that were not due to exhibition swims were the two posted by Ivy Martin in the sprint freestyles. Her 50 free time of 22.53 was the only one under 23 seconds, and she beat Cal’s Rachael Acker in the 100 free, 49.86 to 50.54. Martin still holds the fastest times in the nation in those events, with her 22.38 and 49.09 at the beginning of the season against Georgia.
Rachel Bootsma, the reigning NCAA champion in the 100 backstroke, barely broke into the top 10 with her winning time of 54.31 today. It was her first 100 back of the season after racing butterfly and freestyle events in the first three meets.
Missy Franklin raced the 200 backstroke for the first time this season, putting up a 1:55.28 that sits third in the nation behind Elizabeth Pelton’s 1:53.94 and Brooklynn Snodgrass’ 1:54.08.