No. 2 Stanford men’s swimming and diving earned its second consecutive Pac-12 title after a sustained team effort this weekend. The Cardinal finished with 784 points, outscoring No. 1 Cal by 27 points.
The Cardinal’s victory culminated during the 1,650-yard freestyle, in which the Stanford team swept the podium. Freshman True Sweetser took the race in 14:35.93, setting a championship meet record. Fellow freshman Grant Shoults and junior Liam Egan completed the sweep in second and third place.
“This was a very impressive group effort from all of our guys this week,” said head coach Ted Knapp. “So many stood out, especially True Sweetser and Grant Shoults winning their first conference titles. [Juniors] Sam Perry, Andrew Liang and [sophomore] Ryan Dudzinski all had a huge workload this week, but they executed for us, and not enough can be said about [sophomore] Brad Zdroik’s 100 fly on Friday night, which really inspired our group.”
A large chunk of Stanford’s points came from the diving team, which took first place in last week’s diving championships. Senior Bradley Christensen earned his second consecutive title in the 1-meter, while junior Tarek Abdelghany won his first conference title on the platform. Overall, Stanford’s diving had six top-four finishes to give the Cardinal an early lead in the championship.
“The quality and depth of our diving is unreal,” Knapp said. “We’re blessed with one of the best units any school could hope for.”
Before sweeping the first event Saturday night, the Cardinal had worked hard to gain a solid lead over top-ranked Cal on Friday.
Stanford hit the ground running, as four swimmers scored points in the 400-yard individual medley. Sophomore Abrahm DeVine (3:41.76) led the Cardinal in second place. Liang then finished third in the 100-yard butterfly as he improved his time from preliminaries by almost a second. Perry won the B final in 46.30, while Dudzinski checked in at fourth place. Zdroik added more points to the board after he won the C final.
Shoults continued the Cardinal effort, finishing third in the 200-yard freestyle. Both Shoults and senior Tom Kremer, who finished first in the B final, dropped a second from their earlier times.
Four Stanford swimmers scored in the 100-yard backstroke, as junior Patrick Conaton and sophomore Jack Walsh finished fifth and sixth in the B final, respectively, while Dudzinski and Liang both finished in the top five in the A final.
Stanford closed the day on a third-place finish in the 400-yard medley relay. Dudzinski, Anderson, Liang and Perry improved their season record by almost three seconds as they finished the race in 3:04.50.
On Saturday, the Cardinal never looked back and held on to their lead to win the title.
Conaton finished fourth in the 200-yard backstroke, finishing in 1:41.01 just before DeVine, who placed fifth. In the B final, Walsh and Dudzinski finished third and fourth, respectively. After winning the 100-yard freestyle last season, Perry took second place in the event this weekend with a time of 42.30. Anderson placed fifth in the 200-yard breaststroke final.
Stanford continued to roll in the 200-yard butterfly, as senior Jimmy Yoder led the Cardinal in fourth place with 1:42.48, while Liang finished third in the B final. Stanford ended the weekend on a fourth-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
Stanford will now continue its taper to the NCAA Championships, and will next appear in the Zone E Diving Championships this week.
Contact Alexandre Bucquet at bucqueta ‘at’ stanford.edu.