Ryan Hoffer Leads Cal Sprint Group In Search of Repeat Title

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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Cal’s Ryan Hoffer saw a little speck of potential during the 200 free relay on the first full night of the NCAA Championships.

That was enough of a confidence boost to see a breakthrough coming.

“We had the 200 free relay and I had a pretty good split at 18.6. I was aiming to break 19, so after that, I thought I could from a flat start. So I went 18.5 in the morning with a flat start and that was pretty exciting,” Ryan Hoffer told Swimming World. “(My teammate) Pawel Sendyk got the first seed, then we both got in lane 4 and 5 and then went 1-2, it was so much fun. We provided a lot of momentum for the team.”

Hoffer was not expecting to win the 50 free title, but that helped set the tome for the rest of the weekend as the Golden Bears broke Texas’ four-year national championship winning streak in their home pool.

“We pulled it off,” Hoffer said. “NCAAs is a tough meet. We knew if we wanted to compete with Texas, we had to put guys in finals. Once we got some momentum the first day, we were able to keep it going. A lot of us actually had trouble sleeping because it was so exciting. We just kept performing at that level throughout the meet. It was really something special. It was definitely worth all of the effort.”

That effort started in practice with Hoffer and Sendyk building a friendly rivalry.

“We are obviously very competitive with each other. We have an unspoken rivalry. We are really great friends, but we definitely have those moments where we want to beat each other and we do everything in practice to do that. It is a constant battle, and that is why our sprint group continues to be at the top. That was exactly what I was looking for when I came to Cal,” Hoffer said.

And that is still what he is looking for heading into the postseason.

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Ryan Hoffer and Pawel Sendyk; Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

“We are all moving forward as a group with the same goals of team championships,” he said. “So far I feel like I am swimming great. We strive for more. That definitely gave us a lot of confidence going into this year. What we were doing was working. We have seen what works and we are pushing toward that. It is about expanding on the already-working routine.”

For Hoffer, the biggest change has been in his diet.

“I have been pretty consistent with my effort in the water and my nutrition outside the water. I thought I lacked a little bit in nutrition last year and I adjusted that and am overall feeling healthier,” Ryan Hoffer said. “That balance is crucial. Every second counts. That all contributes to what we do in the water.”

It won’t be easy as Texas beat Cal head-to-head at the Minnesota Invitational in December. But Cal returns a lot of pieces that they had in winning the team title last year, including Hoffer, who will play a major role in all four sprint relays.

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