Cal’s Trenton Julian Using Family Legacy as Challenge

Trenton Julian has become one of Cal's most pivotal swimmers. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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It can be tough living in the shadow of a parent. How about both parents? Trenton Julian grew up in a swimming household. His father Jeff Julian was a member of the national team and his mother Kristine Quance is an Olympic gold medalist.

That is not one, but two tough paths to follow.

But Cal junior Trenton Julian has embraced it and is making a name for himself in the water with the fastest time in the NCAA in the 400-yard individual medley.

“Right when I started swimming in college, I started thinking about how far my parents got. The main thing that gave me pride is trying to get further than they did,” Trenton Julian told Swimming World. “There were definitely some bumps in the beginning, but when I found my own passion for the sport, that helped me. It had a lot to do with my teammates. I realized I was having a lot more fun in the water. It was interesting. It worked pretty well because I was someone who liked to talk about swimming. I think it makes it easier to talk to them about anything.”

Julian had a stellar Minnesota Invitational at midseason, turning in the top time in the NCAA this season with a 3:40.05 in the 400 IM.

“I was surprised. It was really good for where I am right now. Having the two Texas guys pushed me to go that fast. Being able to race,” he said.

Julian had a good finish to edge Texas’ Braden Vines (3:40.09) by four hundredths of a second, and Texas freshman Jake Foster (3:40.71). Since the past few NCAA championships have come down to Texas and Cal, the head-to-head racing was welcomed by both sides.

“We have never really had a chance to race Texas aside from NCAAs, so it was good to get that opportunity,” Julian said. “Especially compared to past years, a lot of guys are going a lot faster right now.”

That includes Julian.

“My main takeaway was that I was able to keep myself calm in the beginning of the race and be able to race at the end,” he said.


Trenton Julian at US Nationals. Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

That isn’t what happened at last year’s NCAA championships. Cal won the title, ending a four-peat by Texas, but Julian did not have the meet he was hoping for. He finished fifth in 400 IM (3:39.83), sixth in 200 fly (1:40.94) and ninth in 500 free (4:11.30).

“I pushed myself too much and got too excited at NCAAs. Being able to change that has helped me a lot,” he said.

Julian finished third at the same invite in the 200 fly (1:41.14), edged by Texas’ Sam Pomajevich (1:39.35) and Maxime Rooney (1:40.94).

“I was a little better than I was last year in the butterfly. Coming off of the training, that looks really good,” Julian said. “The 400 IM — it just kind of came from my coaching with Dave (Durden) and Chase (Kreitler). Whatever events I could score most in.

I had swam it a little bit in high school and club swimming, but when I started doing 400 IM training with Sean Grieshop and Andrew Seliskar. They decided to put me in it. Personally I would say the 400 IM is the hardest event along with the mile.”

Doing the tough races helped propel Cal to the national title, even if Julian wasn’t completely satisfied with his own races.

“For the college season, the No. 1 goal is always winning a title with the team,” he said.

That was something he will never forget.

“It was definitely crazy. From the first full day, my energy level has never been that high. It definitely took a toll on me throughout the meet. It was awesome to do that as a team,” Trenton Julian said. “For the returners, it definitely gives us all a sense of pride and purpose to try and do it again. No one wants to see someone else on top.”

california-champions-, cal, ncaa swimming

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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Lucie Sursi
Lucie Sursi
4 years ago

Congratulations! Go Bears swim well!

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