2020 Pac-12 Men’s Championships: 5 Races to Watch (Psych Sheet)

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The 2020 Pac-12 Men’s Championships open this week with Cal looking to continue its run of titles.

The Golden Bears are ranked No. 1 heading into the meet and clearly the favorite for the team title.

But there will be plenty of teams and individuals looking to make a splash as they push toward the NCAA Championships.

The psych sheet was released Monday and sets up an intriguing meet.

Here is a look at five races to watch in the Pac-12 Men’s Championships:

Pac-12 Men’s Championships: 500 Freestyle

This is an event that will have some Cal power to it, but the top two competitors are from other schools, and have been strong distance swimmers for years.

Arizona’s Brooks Fail has the top seed heading into the meet at 4:11.79. The junior will look to drop some time and claim a title. He already has the NCAA automatic cut, but will aim for the Pac-12 meet record of 4:10.67.

That record was set in 2017 by Stanford’s Grant Shoults, who just happens to be the second seed this week with a seed time of 4:12.74. The senior will aim to claim another title and hold off Fail.

Meanwhile Cal’s Trenton Julian (4:15.56) and Sean Grieshop (4:16.91) could play factors. Even if they don’t challenge the top two, they will score some big points for the Golden Bears.

 

Pac-12 Men’s Championships: 50 Free

All eyes will be on Cal’s sprinting duo of Ryan Hoffer and Pawel Sendyk in the 50 free.

Hoffer, the defending NCAA champion is the top seed at 18.98, while Sendyk, who was an All-American as well last year, is the second seed in 19.25.

Hoffer has talked about how their friendly rivalry has pushed both swimmers to greatness, and that could continue this week, as well as at the NCAA Championships.

Arizona’s Marin Ercegovic (19.56), Arizona State’s Evan Carlson (19.60) and USC’s Nikola Miljenic (19.64) could also play the role of the spoiler with a strong swim.

 

Pac-12 Men’s Championships: 200 IM

While Cal’s Reece Whitley is the favorite in the breaststroke events, he also comes in as the narrow favorite in the 200 IM.

The sophomore has the top seed at 1:43.65, just ahead of USC’s Alexei Sancov (1:43.92) and Arizona’s Thomas Anderson (1:44.19).

No matter who wins, it will be a huge event for Cal because with Whitley as the top seed, the Golden Bears also have the 4-5-6-7-9 seed in the event with Daniel Carr, Bryce Mefford, Zheng Quah, Hugo Gonzalez and Chris Jhong. Trenton Julian also has the 13th seed.

There is no stopping the Golden Bears in this event.

 

Pac-12 Men’s Championships: 100 Butterfly

This race has some familiar faces, but in a different stroke.

Cal’s Ryan Hoffer is the top seed in the 100 fly at 45.46, but the field is quite crowded with teammate Zheng Quah (45.87), Arizona’s Noah Reid (45.95), Arizona State’s Cody Bybee (45.99) and Pawel Sendyk at 46.02.

It is a cluster of usual suspects with the Pac-12 meet record of 44.66 looming. How many of them will get there? And who will get there first?

 

Pac-12 Men’s Championships: 100 Backstroke

Another event without Cal as the top seed, but the Golden Bears are close.

Arizona State senior Zachary Poti has the top seed at 45.75, while Cal’s Daniel Carr is right behind him at 45.82.

Arizona’s Thomas Anderson has the third seed at 46.03, followed by a plethora of Golden Bears— Zheng Quah, Ethan Young and Andy Song.

Poti has been strong all year, but so has Carr, who has performed superbly under pressure during his career — most notably when he had to re-swim this event at the NCAA championships and ended up scoring.

It could be the closest race of the meet.