Freshmen Lead California Swimming to Sweep of Utah

Ryan Murphy
Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

A vaunted freshman class for both the men’s and women’s teams of California swimming led the way as California swept Utah.

California Press Release:

Every season, the home opener proves to be a special occasion for the freshmen on the Cal women’s swimming & diving team. And Thursday’s meet against Utah was no exception.

Rookies Amy Bilquist and Katie McLaughlin claimed two events each to lead the Golden Bears to a 174-120 victory over the Utes under the lights at Spieker Aquatics Complex. The duo, plus freshmen Kathleen Baker, Madi Hurst, Jenna Campbell and diver Phoebe LaMay, as well as transfer Valerie Hull, is already having a significant impact on the squad.

“The freshmen and Valerie Hull have done a great job coming in and assimilating, and they’re going to be a really important piece for us this year,” head coach Teri McKeever said. “They’re definitely accepting that challenge and showing everybody how tough they really are.”

Bilquist earned her first win at the meet with a time of 23.05 in the 50-yard freestyle, then claimed the 200 backstroke in 1:57.03. McLaughlin secured victories in the 200 free (1:46.65) and 500 free (4:50.40).

“The first meet is super special to be able to put on the Cal cap and go on the pool deck,” Bilquist said. “It makes you realize how special it is to be here and really appreciate every opportunity to swim this season.”

Overall, Cal prevailed in 13 of the 16 events, including the 200 medley relay and 400 free relay. Other winners on the evening were veterans Marina Garcia in the 1000 free (10:09.91), Elizabeth Pelton in the 100 back (55.50), Rachel Bootsma in the 200 butterfly (2:01.09), Farida Osman in the 100 free (50.22), Noemie Thomas in the 100 fly (53.78), Anne Kastler on the 1-meter springboard (288.15) and Celina Li in the 400 individual medley (4:16.23).

Despite a number of impressive performances, McKeever said she is more concerned about effort than times at this point of the season.

“It’s more about the way that they’re showing up and their intention of just racing,” McKeever said. “I thought some of the times were a little better than I expected. But we’ve talked about not focusing on the times, rather racing tough and executing. Pick something small and do that really well – don’t worry about the whole picture at this stage.”

The defending NCAA champion Bears return to action on Friday, Oct. 30 when they host San Jose State in a dual meet that will get underway at 2 p.m.

A late afternoon meet that finished under the lights served as a good example of the Cal men’s swimming team’s versatility as the Bears continued their run of good early season form and defeated Utah 165-128 in the Pac-12 opener for both schools.

Junior Ryan Murphy had a strong day individually, claiming event dominant wins in the 50-yard freestyle and 100 butterfly while also swimming on the winning 200 medley relay. Freshman Andrew Seliskar was Cal’s other double-event winner, taking victories in the 100 backstroke and 200 breaststroke.

“Tonight was about our seniors laying out a plan for what our guys wanted to do, not necessarily having it come from myself or Yuri (Suguiyama),” Cal head coach David Durden said. “Our seniors followed through with that expectation, not necessarily through their performance but through them setting the tone for what needed to get done tonight and making sure our guys were following through.”

In much the same way as it did against Pacific to open the season, Cal (2-0) came out strong in the early events. Murphy swam the leadoff leg of the 200-yard medley relay and built a lead that Connor Hoppe extended, allowing Justin Lynch and Kyle Coan to finish off a nearly two-second win over teammates Long Gutierrez, Seliskar, Josh Prenot and Dillon Williams.

Ryan Kao followed with a resounding win in the 1,000-yard freestyle, outdistancing the next closest swimmer by nearly 14 seconds. A wire to wire victory by Trent Williams in the 200 freestyle saw the senior hold off a hard-charging Bence Kiraly of Utah and Hunter Cobleigh turned a small early lead in the 100 breaststroke into a final time of 56.29 that was just four one-hundreths faster than Utah’s Jack Burton. Justin Lynch also won the 100 freestyle with a time of 45.11.

Seniors Josh Prenot and Jacob Pebley continued to post good early season results, with Prenot stopping the clock in 1:45.27 to win the 200 butterfly and Pebley clocking a 1:45.77 to win the 200 backstroke. Prenot was also impressive in the 400 IM, swimming a time of 3:46.59 that ultimately wasn’t counted.

Murphy put together a series of the night’s most impressive swims and showed his versatility in a big way, getting out quickly in the 50 freestyle en route to a time of 20.15. A little later, he jumped back in the pool and finished the 100 butterfly in a time of 47.22 that ranks fastest in the nation so far this year.

“It’s good to see a guy like Ryan Murphy not really race a lot of backstroke, and I know he was the backstroke in our medley relay, but come back and do a 50 free and 100 fly,” Durden said. “It’s good for Josh Prenot to go 50 fly, a 200 fly, a 400 IM. That’s a pretty good event load and he did a really nice job with that. Andrew Seliskar racing a 100 back, a 200 breaststroke, a 100 free on the end, a 50 breaststroke in the relay, I thought that was good too.”

The win is Cal’s 24th in a row in dual competition in a streak that dates back to the 2012-13 season. The Bears’ next meet comes on the road as several members of the team will travel to Stockton next Friday (Oct. 23) to compete at Pacific. After that, Cal returns to Spieker Aquatics Complex for two more fall home meets beginning Nov. 4 with a triple distance meet against Stanford. NC State visits at 3 p.m. on Nov. 6 to close out the fall home schedule.

Utah Press Release:

The University of Utah swimming and diving team collected eight first-place finishes, but Cal came away with the win. The men finished with a score of 165-128 while the women finished 174-120.

“I’m really excited how we did in this meet against Cal tonight,” said Utah head coach Joe Dykstra. “They are, of course, the defending NCAA champions on the women’s side and got second last year on the men’s side. We have been training really hard these last few weeks including this week right up until this meet. I couldn’t be more pleased with the results.”

“We had five different team members win individual races. Stina Colleou in the 100 breast, Genevieve Robertson in the 200 breast and Amanda Casillas in the one-meter for the women. Jordan Anderson for the freshman on the women’s side had a tremendous meet. Great showing in the 200 fly, 500 free and 400 IM. Josiah Purss and Jake Crayne went one-two on both diving events for the men. Bence Kiraly narrowly missed winning the 200 free but then came back with a dominating win in the 500 free. Kristian Kron had a fantastic meet, barely missing on winning the 200 back. Paul Unger had a great debut for us in the short backstroke.”

The women opened up the meet with a third-place finish in the 200 medley relay as the team of Shayla Archer, Stina Colleou, Jenna Marsh and Gillian St. John touched in with a time of 1:44.69. Team of Megan Kawguchi, Darby Wayner, Sydney Bull and Rhianna Williams took fifth (1:47.07) with Ashlyn Karosas, Genevieve Robertson, Paolona Carnevale and Julienne Tadena in sixth (1:49.20).

Kat Wickham took third in the 1,000 free with a time of 10:29.09 with Carnevale in fifth (10:45.14) and Maddie Velez in sixth (10:56.64).

In the 200 free, Hailey Pabst touched in fifth (1:53.68) with Dorien Butter taking sixth (1:54.66) and Maryssa McArthur in seventh (1:58.23).

Pabst would later take second in the 200 back with a time of 2:07.67. Also in the event was Kawaguchi in third (2:08.04) and Archer in fourth (2:12.71).

Taking second in the 100 back was Archer with a time of 56:50 with Kawaguchi following in third (57.06). Karosas took sixth in the event (58.80).

In the 100 breast, it was Colleou who claimed the top spot. She touched in at 1:03.66. Also in the event was a third-place finish by Robertson (1:03.96) with Wayner in fifth (1:06.10) and Bull in sixth (1:06.51).

Robertson would later claim the top spot in the 200 breast with a time of 2:14.29 with Colleou in second (2:15.45) and Tadena in fourth (2:21.48).

Anderson touched in second in the 200 fly with a time of 2:01.33. Petra Soininen took third (2:04.85) with Isabella Kearns in fourth (2:05.04). Anderson also took second in the 500 free (5:00.42) with Wickham in third (5:09.92) and Velez in fourth (5:20.40).

In the 50 free, Marsh took third with a time of 23.85 with St. John in sixth (24.23) and Williams in seventh (24.40).

Butter took second in the 100 free with a time of 52.54. Wayner took third (53.24) with St. John in fourth (53.38) and McArthur in fifth (57.08).

Taking second in the 100 fly was Marsh with a time of 57.10 with Soininen in third (57.44), Bull in fourth (58.89) and Carnevale in fifth (59.54).

Anderson took second in the 400 IM with a time of 4:25.11 with Kearns in third (4:31.96) and Karosas in fourth (4:45.82).

In the 400 free relay, team of St. John, Butter, Wayner and Williams took second with a time of 3:33.76. Tadena, Pabst, Marsh and McArthur teamed together to take third (3:36.53).

For the men, taking third in the 200 medley relay was team of Paul Unger, Jack Burton, Kristian Kron and Bence Kiraly touching in at 1:30.80. Teaming up for fourth was Daniel McArthur, Keanu Interone, Ben Scott and Kristian Almberg with a time of 1:33.87 with Brandon Deckard, Quillian Oak, Cole Avery and David Fraser in fifth (1:36.24).

In the 1,000 free, Peter Kotson touched in second with a time of 9:25.03 with Jay Bolinger following in third (9:27.82) and Luis Macias is fifth (9:42.75).

Bence Kiraly went head to head with Cal’s Trent Williams in the 200 free. Kiraly took second in the event with a time of 1:37.44. Brendan Nguyen took fifth in the event (1:41.55) with Evan Indahl in sixth (1:44.14) and Oak in seventh (1:44.52).

Kiraly would later claim the top spot in the 500 free. He touched in with a time of 4:28.04. Also in the event was Kotson who took fourth (4:37.65) and Bolinger took fifth (4:41.68).

Unger took second in the 100 back with a time of 49.25. McArthur touched in fourth (50.40) and Deckard took sixth in the event (51.41).

Taking second in the 100 breast was Burton with a time of 56.33. Ganem Tebet took fourth (59.00) with Nolan Rogers in fifth (1:00.02).

In the 200 fly, Kron took fourth (1:50.24) with Scott in fifth (1:50.24) and Avery in sixth (1:54.19).

Kron also took second in the 200 back with a time of 1:46.00. McArthur took fourth in the event (1:50.56) with Deckard in fifth (1:51.44) and Avery in seventh (1:53.31).

Kron would later take first in the 400 IM with a time of 3:56.48. N. Rogers took second (4:01.13) while Indahl took third (4:02.33) and Avery took fourth (4:04.91).

Taking fifth in the 50 free was Fraser with a time of 21.44 with Unger following (21.76) and Interone in seventh (22.52).

Kristian Almberg took third in the 100 free with a time of 46.58 with Fraser in fourth (46.81) and Nguyen in fifth (47.74).

In the 200 breast, Burton touched in second with a time of 2:02.50 with Tebet in fourth (2:06.11), Oak in sixth (2:08.62) and N. Rogers in seventh (2:08.75).

Fraser took third in the 100 fly (50.53) with Scott in fourth (51.38), Macias in fifth (51.49) and Almberg in sixth (51.80).

To finish out the meet, Unger, Kiraly, Almberg and McArthur teamed together to take first with a time of 3:03.13. Following in second was team of Nguyen, Interone, Oak and Deckard with a time of 3:13.41.

On the diving side, Amanda Casillas took first in the one-meter event with a score of 301.70. Nicold Ford took fifth (255.00) with Lauren Hall in seventh (225.08) and Madison Cock in eighth (167.25).

Casillas took third in the third-meter (254.03) with Hall in fifth (242.48), Cock in sixth (229.73) and Ford in eighth (218.93).

Claiming the top two spots in the three-meter event was Josiah Purss in first (362.70) and Jacob Crayne in second (342.80).

Purss also took first in the one-meter with a total score of 363.08. Crayne followed in second (317.40).

“Im really, really excited about where we are for this early in the season and this heavy of training,” Dykstra said. “I’m excited to have another tough dual meet tomorrow afternoon at Stanford.”

The Utes will take on Stanford tomorrow, Oct. 16 at the Avery Aquatic Center in Palo Alto, Calif. The meet is set to begin at 2 p.m. (PT).