Stanford’s men’s swimming and diving team dropped a close dual meet at home this past Sunday, falling to USC in its penultimate regular season contest, 157-142.
The No. 22 Trojans (5-2) spoiled the No. 12 Cardinal’s (5-1) Senior Day celebrations at the Avery Aquatic Center, with a surge after the diving break — four consecutive event wins — that turned a one-point advantage into a 34-point lead.
USC got out in front after the first event, edging out Stanford in the 400-yard medley relay, 3:13.06 to 3:13.47. The Trojans went on to take first place in the next two events as well, before Stanford senior David Nolan won the 100-yard backstroke for the Cardinal.
Nolan and USC freshman Ralf Tribuntsov were neck and neck throughout the race, separated by just six hundredths of a second at the split, but Nolan held onto the lead, finishing with a time of 47.54.
“It was great going out with these guys,” Nolan said to GoStanford.com. “Definitely the best group we’ve had in the last four years. We raced really hard and got some great racing experience.”
Two events later, freshman Andrew Liang won the 200-yard fly, closing Stanford to within 57-54 in the overall meet score. Liang, who posted the quickest fly leg in the 400-yard medley relay earlier with his time of 46.77, finished the 200-yard event at 1:46.99, besting Trojan senior Cary Wright.
After sophomore Bradley Christensen (402.30) and senior Kristian Ipsen (398.55) went 1-2 off the three-meter diving event, Stanford was within one point of USC. Ipsen also later went on to win the one-meter diving event in his last performance in front of the Cardinal faithful.
Yet after the diving break, USC took first in each of the next four events: the 100-yard free, 200 back, 200 breast and 500 free. That turned their 75-74 advantage into a 120-86 lead, an essentially insurmountable barrier for Stanford with just four events remaining.
Liang won the 100 fly with a time of 47.87, Ipsen won the one-meter dive and sophomore Max Williamson won the 200-yard IM over the next three, closing the Trojan lead to 146-136, but it was too little, too late for the Cardinal.
Stanford takes on Cal in its final regular season meet on Saturday, Feb. 21, in Berkeley in a final tune-up before the Pac-12 Championships.
Contact Jordan Wallach at jwallach ‘at’ stanford.edu.