California Nearing End of Stanford’s Three-Decade Dominance of Pac 12s

FEDERAL WAY, Washington, March 5. STANFORD's three-decade conference championship winning streak is facing its toughest test to date with California leading by 63 points heading into the final day of the Pacific 12 Championships after a dominant day three in Federal Way.

California had a big 1-2 finish in the distance medley as Josh Prenot knocked down the meet record with a 3:41.82 and teammate Adam Hinshaw finished second in 3:44.36. Prenot's time downed the 2005 meet mark of 3:42.01 set by Ous Mellouli for the USC Trojans. It also came up just short of Prenot's 21st-ranked lifetime best of 3:41.36 from the Georgia Fall Invitational in November. Stanford's Matt Thompson took third in 3:45.82, while Arizona's Eric Solis earned fourth in 3:46.32. In the battle for the team title, Ben Hinshaw took sixth in 3:48.10 for California, while Robert Hommel placed seventh for Stanford in 3:48.69. Notably, Stanford's Drew Cosgarea turned up the heat in the B final with a 3:44.40 that would have placed third in the A final tonight.

California kept rolling in the 100-yard fly as team leader and Swimming World Magazine March cover personality Tom Shields nearly posted a lifetime best in the finale with a 44.92. Teammate Marcin Tarczynski also wound up taking second in 45.97. Shields is ranked fifth all time in the event with a 44.76 from last year's NCAA Championships, and with a full taper supporting him in Indianapolis later this month, there's a chance he's going to put in a much faster time. Arizona's Giles Smith placed third overall in the event with a 46.16. Stanford dropped off a bit in the team-title race with Gray Umbach (46.57) and Jack Lane (46.68) taking fifth and sixth in the championship finale.

While California has been earning the lion's share of the top-end points tonight, USC took its turn in the 200-yard free with a 1-2 finish of its own. Cristian Quintero, who won the 500-yard free last night, raced to victory in the 200 with a 1:33.21 to post an NCAA A time in the event. Teammate Dimitri Colupaev took home second-place honors with a 1:34.44, while California's Trent Williams rounded out the podium with a third-place 1:35.22. Calfornia's Will Hamilton also took seventh in 1:35.61, while Stanford's Thomas Stephens (1:35.44) and Tom Kremer (1:35.60) finished fourth and sixth as California and Stanford continued to battle for team supremacy.

After turning in a 51.43 during prelims of the 100-yard breaststroke, Arizona's Kevin Cordes cruised to victory this evening in 51.65. The American-record holder's prelim time nearly beat Damir Dugonjic's meet record of 51.41 from 2009, but still has a bit to go before downing Dugonjic's NCAA and U.S. Open mark of 50.86 also from 2009. His prelim time did become the fastest swim in the nation this year, ahead of Indiana's Big Ten winning 51.50 that jumped him to fourth all time. Cordes is second all time with his American record of 51.10 from the 2012 Winter National Championships in November.

USC's Vlad Morozov, who popped his first sub-19 swims in the 50-yard free yesterday, demonstrated he's a breaststroke beast as well with a second-place 52.06. That performance cleared the NCAA A cut time, and shot him to 17th all time in the rankings. California's Trevor Hoyt completed the top three with a 52.78, while teammate Christian Higgins finished fifth in 53.38. Stanford proved to be breaststroke deficient as Mason Shaw posted the team's best finish with an 11th-place 54.21. California began to pull away in the team race, taking a 58-point lead.

In a battle of the Goliaths, Shields pulled off a dazzling double with a 46.12 to win the 100-yard back. That performance came just about an hour after he sizzled in the 100-yard fly. He also took down one of Stanford's top swimmers in Dave Nolan, who wound up earning second in 46.38 — which is how he finished behind Shields at the 2012 NCAAs. California piled up the points in the big final with Tony Cox (47.18) and Nick Trowbridge (47.54) taking sixth and seventh this evening. The 100 back shot California to an 87-point lead, 529-442, heading into the addition of the three-meter diving points that were earned last week during the women's meet.

Last week, Stanford's Kristian Ipsen dominated diving, especially in the three-meter event, as he tallied 443.40 points in finals after a 447.25 preliminary tally. Arizona's Rafael Quintero placed second with 400.30 points, while Arizona State's Riley McCormick (392.50) and Harrison Jones (388.25) took third and fourth. Stanford also pulled in points from Connor Kuremsky (377.60) and Taylor Sishc (329.10) as they finished fifth and eighth. With diving points accounted for this evening, California held a 543-490 lead, a margin of 53 points.

California then put an exclamation point on what turned out to be an epic evening as Jacob Pebley (46.54), Trevor Hoyt (52.21), Tom Shields (44.68) and Seth Stubblefield (42.66) turned in a 3:06.09 to win the 400-yard medley relay. USC's Luca Spinazzola (46.62), Vlad Morozov (51.59), Maclin Davis (45.74) and Dimitri Colupaev (42.22) took a close second in 3:06.17. Arizona's Mitchell Friedemann (47.35), Kevin Cordes (50.91), Giles Smith (46.29) and Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or (42.25) earned third in 3:06.80. Stanford's Dave Nolan (46.20), Mason Shaw (53.40), Gray Umbach (46.09) and Aaron Wayne (42.39) also cleared the NCAA A cut with a fourth-place 3:08.08.

Team Scores
California 583
Stanford 520
Southern California 404.5
Arizona 340
Utah 199.5
Arizona State 195
UC Santa Barbara 154
Cal Poly 96