Cardinal set for showdown against Cal at Pac-12s

Between 1982 and 2012, Stanford firmly dictated the world of Pac-12 men’s swimming and diving, capturing 31 consecutive conference titles and seven national titles in the process. However, last season, the Cardinal was toppled from its throne by Cal, which edged the Cardinal 825-800 in the final tally as the two teams battled to the finish. Starting today, Stanford will look to regain that edge in Federal Way, Wash., as it takes on the Pac-12 field in the annual conference championship meet.

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Junior Drew Cosgarea, who won the 1,650-yard freestyle in last year’s Pac-12 Championships, is seeded fifth in this year’s 500-yard freestyle and third in the 400-yard individual medley. (TONY SVENSSON/trimarket.com)

The Cardinal will be stiffly challenged again by the Golden Bears, who have finished among the top-two in the NCAA Championships in each of the last four seasons. This season, the Bears capped off a perfect dual-meet season by bringing the Cardinal’s unblemished dual record crashing to the ground in a 169-74 rout at Avery Aquatic Center in which it swept the swimming events.

Stanford will return both of its individual swimming conference champions from last season — juniors Drew Cosgarea and David Nolan — who combined for three victories at last year’s meet.

Cosgarea, who claimed victory in the 1,650-yard freestyle last season, will be seeded fifth this year in the 500-yard freestyle and third in the 400-yard individual medley (IM), an event in which he already owns a conference title. Meanwhile, Nolan could easily match or even surpass his two individual titles from each of the last two years in the 200 IM and the 200 backstroke, as he is seeded in the top four of both of those events as well as in the 100 backstroke.

Junior diver Kristian Ipsen, who won both the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events at last year’s championships, has already defended his 1-meter title in this past week’s Pac-12 Men’s Diving Championships while also finishing as the runner-up in the 3-meter event.

With diving not a factor at this weekend’s swimming championships, the Cardinal swimmers will be relied upon to carry the team to victory — a tall task, considering that Cal will likely have an advantage in that regard, as evidenced by Cal’s dominance in this year’s edition of the Big Swim.

Although championship meets present different challenges from dual meets, Cal will still field a deep, talented squad that has experience in both settings. It will look to defend its title and make another deep run into the NCAAs, while Stanford looks to avenge a disappointing Big Swim and return to the top of the conference.

The meet will kick off today, with the 200-yard medley relay final coming at 6 p.m.

Contact Do-Hyoung Park at dpark027 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Do-Hyoung Park

Do-Hyoung Park '16 is the Head Copy Editor at The Stanford Daily. He has previously served as managing editor of sports and sports desk editor and still writes for the football, soccer and baseball beats. Do-Hyoung is a junior originally from Seoul, South Korea and raised in Saint Paul, Minnesota pursuing a major in chemical engineering. To contact him, please email him at dpark027 'at' stanford.edu.