FEDERAL WAY, Washington, March 7. THE second full day of competition at the men’s Pac 12 swimming championships featured some likely NCAA title contenders doing just enough to earn wins for their schools, and break some longstanding meet records.
Southern California’s Cristian Quintero set the first record of the night, posting a 1:32.81 to break Nathan Adrian’s five-year-old mark of 1:32.98. Quintero also claimed a personal best to mark his first swim under 1:33. Teammate Dimitri Colupaev placed second with a 1:33.46, just seven tenths off his personal best, and California’s Trent Williams placed third with a 1:34.01, beating his lifetime best of 1:34.60. Quintero’s swim was extra special in that he became the first swimmer in 39 years to win the 200 and 500 freestyles two years in a row. Washington’s Robin Backhaus last did it in 1974 and 1975, according to information from Southern California’s sports information department.
Kevin Cordes took down Damir Dugonjic’s meet record of 51.41 in the 100 breast with his 51.23 to win tonight. Cordes took the race out in 24.42, the exact time he split when setting the American, U.S. Open and NCAA record of 50.70 last December. Cordes, sporting a beard this week at the meet, had a little bit of company in the opening half of the race, with Cal’s Chuck Katis, Arizona’s Brad Tandy and Southern California’s Andrew Malone all under 25 seconds. But no one could match Cordes’ blistering final 50 yards, as his 26.81 was the best of the field by 1.2 seconds. Katis finished second with a 52.69, just two tenths off his personal best, while Tandy was third with a personal best 53.14. Malone took fourth with a 53.23.
The remaining three individual events showed some impressive times that portended some great competition in three weeks. Josh Prenot of Cal cruised through the 400 IM to win with a 3:42.20. It gives him an automatic NCAA time in the event but is still about two seconds slower than he swam at the 2013 NCAA meet to place fourth. Cal went 1-2 as Adam Hinshaw touched in 3:44.00, while Stanford’s Max Williamson placed third with a 3:44.47. Arizona’s Michael Meyer still holds the fastest time among Pac 12 swimmers with a 3:41.73 from the Texas Invite.
Giles Smith, the top-ranked swimmer nationally in the 100 fly, posted a 45.92 to win in a tough battle over Cal’s Tony Cox. Cox took the race out hard, touching in 21.03 to Smith’s 21.28. Cox settled for second, though, with a 46.01 that is eight hundredths slower than the automatic NCAA meet standard. Less than a second separated first through eighth, with Marcin Tarczynski (46.42), Alex Coci (46.50), Maclin Davis (46.57), Connor Black (46.61), Seth Stubblefield (46.63) and Ryan Murphy (46.86) rounding out the top eight.
Murphy came back for another tough battle, this time in the 100 back. Stanford’s David Nolan, the reigning NCAA champion, led the field at the halfway point with a 22.06 split. Murphy, just .28 behind, rallied to take the win in 45.59 to Nolan’s 45.66. Both have been faster, with Murphy claiming a 45.34 that still stands as the national high school record. Nolan’s 44.99 from the NCAA meet still holds as his personal benchmark.
Arizona is the top-ranked team in the nation in the 400 medley relay with their 3:03.73 from the Texas Invite. Tonight, the Wildcats won with a 3:05.68 to hold off the California Golden Bears, who were second in 3:05.95. After a 47.11 from backstroker Mitchell Friedemann, Cordes pulled off a 50.81 breaststroke split to negate Murphy’s 45.81 backstroke split for Cal. After a 45.54 butterfly leg from Tarczynski, Cal was just one hundredth of a second behind Arizona going into the freestyle leg. Tandy’s 41.96 outsplit Tyler Messerschmidt’s 42.22 to give Arizona the win today. Both teams are likely to be faster at the NCAA championships, but tonight’s swim marks a five-second improvement this season for the Bears. Stanford was a distant second with a 3:09.10 to also earn a place at the NCAAs in the event.
The men’s diving competition took place last week during the women’s Pac 12 meet, and in a major upset, Riley McCormick of Arizona State won the 3-meter event with 439.70 points over reigning NCAA champion Kristian Ipsen of Stanford, who collected 437.05 points. Arizona’s Rafael Quintero placed third with 419 points.
California continues to lead in its quest to start a new dynasty in the Pac 12 conference, holding 545 points to Stanford’s 471. The win in the 400 medley relay put Arizona in third place with 415 points to Southern California’s 393. Utah (196), Arizona State (192), UC-Santa Barbara (125) and Cal Poly (113) round out the placings after tonight’s competition.