FEDERAL WAY, Washington, March 4. SOUTHERN California definitely had the strongest day at the top, winning three of the four swimming titles on offer tonight, but the two-time defending NCAA champion Golden Bears looked to their depth to finish the night on top at the Pacific 12 Championships. Meanwhile, USC sprint star Vlad Morozov shined with sizzling 50s all day long.
Southern California's Cristian Quintero ripped off a near-lifetime best 4:13.37 to capture the men's 500-yard freestyle title. That swim not only crushed the NCAA A cut, it also came up just short of the 15th-ranked 4:13.07 he clocked at the 2012 NCAA Championships to finish second behind Martin Grodzki of Georgia (4:12.95). California's Adam Hinshaw finished a distance second in 4:18.08, while teammate Jeremy Bagshaw turned in a third-place 4:18.65. The Golden Bears also finished fifth in the A final as Will Hamilton posted a 4:19.00 with Stanford's Drew Cosgarea touching fourth in 4:18.81.
Stanford's David Nolan went out fast and never looked back as he knocked off California's Marcin Tarczynski for the men's 200-yard IM title. Both cleared the NCAA A cut with Nolan winning in 1:42.41, while Tarczysnki touched second in 1:43.10. Nolan has been much faster, as he's still trying to track down his stunning 1:41.39 from the 2011 Pennsylvania State High School meet, which ranks him fourth all time in the event's history. Tarczynski has also posted a 1:41 with a 12th-ranked 1:41.97 from 2012 NCAAs.
California and Stanford definitely demonstrated their strength and depth in the medleys, as the top eight all featured Golden Bears and Cardinal. Ben Hinshaw (1:45.10) took fourth for California, while Will Gunderson (1:45.68), Gray Umbach (1:45.79), Matt Thompson (1:45.87) and Jack Lane (1:45.99) rounded out the rest of the top eight, while freshman Tom Kremer won the B final in 1:45.37 for the Cardinal.
Southern California's Vlad Morozov broke 19 seconds for the first time this morning with a blistering 18.92, then he went even faster to win tonight in 18.86. That vaulted him from a 23rd-ranked 19.06 up to ninth overall, just behind Auburn's Marcelo Chierighini, who posted an eighth-ranked 18.85 relay leadoff at the Southeastern Conference Championships last month. Teammate Jack Wagner gave USC a 1-2 finish with a 19.53, while Utah's Nick Soedell tied with California's Seth Stubblefield for third with matching 1964s. California picked up some big points in the finale as Fabio Gimondi (19.68) and Shayne Fleming (19.84) took fifth and sixth.
During men's diving, which took place in conjunction with women's diving last week, Olympic silver medalist Kristian Ipsen delivered huge points for the Cardinal with a 442.15-point tally to win the men's one-meter event. That's a Pacific 12 record, taking down the 439.19 set by Arizona State's Joona Puhakka in 2005. Current Sun Devils Harrison Jones, a former USC Trojan before missing time due to some run-ins with marijuana bans but now relocated and thriving in Tempe, took second with 437.35 points. Stanford's Connor Kuremsky (357.45) and Taylor Sishc (356.25) wound up third and fourth for Stanford as the Cardinal pulled in gigantic points from the event.
Southern California ended the night with a scintillating victory in the men's 200-yard free relay as Zach Wagner (19.61), Maclin Davis (19.50), Morozov (18.51) and Dimitri Colupaev (19.51) prevailed in 1:17.13. California's Shayne Fleming (19.56), Fabio Gimondi (19.79), Nick Dillinger (19.5) and Seth Stubblefied (18.86) raced into second with a 1:17.76, scoring a big finish ahead of Stanford. The Cardinal's Dave Nolan (19.69), Aaron Wayne (19.49), Jack Lane (19.44) and Andrew Saeta (19.35) turned in a third-place time of 1:17.97 as all top three teams cleared the NCAA A cut.
Southern California 218
Arizona State 108
UC Santa Barbara 97
Cal Poly 66