The 2016 Men’s Pac-12 Championships will dive into action starting tomorrow at the Weyerhouse King County Aquatic Center. USC returns as the reigning champions after clinching last year’s title in the final race of the meet over Stanford. The women of the Pac-12 turned in some top-notch times last weekend and now it’s the men’s turn to battle for the Pac-12 title! Highlighted below are just five of the exciting races for this weekend.
The 500 free should be a dynamic race to watch with three of the top five qualifiers returning from last year’s Top 8. Utah’s Bence Kiraly returns as the top qualifier in the event with a seed time of 4:16.79, but USC’s Reed Malone doesn’t sit far behind with a fifth place seed of 4:19.59. Malone turned on hte heat during last yea’rs championships with a second-place finish of 4:11.30 under the former meet record of 4:12.56. Arizona’s Chris Wieser (4:17.73), Utah’s Kristian Kron (4:18.55), and Stanford’s Liam Egan (4:19.22) enter the meet ranked second through fourth respectively.
With the graduation of USC’s Cristian Quintero, Cal junior Long Gutierrez is seeded nicely to potentially take home the title in the 200 free. Gutierrez finished second at last year’s Pac-12 Championships with a time of 1:34.01 and is seeded nearly a second faster going into this year’s championships with a 1:33.10. Cal teammate Trent Williams jumps up from last year’s ninth place finish (1:35.32) with a second place seed time of 1:5.39. USC junior Reed Malone will also be in contention for the title with a third place seed time of 1:35.48.
This year’s 100 breaststroke field will be led by a younger crowd after the graduation of last year’s champion Kevin Cordes (Arizona) and Cal’s Chuck Katis. USC freshman Carsten Vissering sits ahead of the competition going into prelims with a time of 53.09 with ASU sophomore Christian Lorenz sitting close behind with a 53.18. Arizona junior Gage Crosby rounds out the top three qualifiers with a 53.25 seed.
The 200 fly will also boast a younger crowd with the qualifiers being led by a freshman and two sophomores. Cal freshman Andrew Seliskar enters the meet with a slight lead over Arizona sophomore Justin Wright. Seliskar’s seed time of 1:42.70 sits just .09 ahead of Wright’s 1:42.79. ASU sophomore Patrick Park sits only a half second behind Wright with a seed time of 1:43.32. Long Gutierrez, last year’s Pac-12 champion in the event, slips to fourth with a 1:43.99.
200 Free Relay
The 200 free relay continues to be one of the most exciting races to watch with field continuing to be stacked with close seed times. Cal has posted the fastest time this season with a 1:18.70 with Arizona close behind at a 1:18.96. ASU and Stanford don’t sit too far from the top two qualifiers with seed times of 1:19.18 and 1:19.55 respectively.
The meet kicks off March 2nd with the 200 medley relay and 800 free relay and will continue through Saturday. Be sure to check our Pac-12 met landing page to follow along with all of the action!