By James Hemker
On Saturday morning, the No. 5 men’s swimming and diving team (1-0, Pac-12 1-0) competed in its first invitational of the season at the University of the Pacific.
As it had no bearing towards the team’s record, the meet was a perfect opportunity for the squad, especially the freshmen, to get comfortable competing outside of Avery Aquatic Center. The other competing schools at the meet included University of the Pacific (0-0), Fresno Pacific University (0-0) and UC Santa Cruz (0-0).
Stanford, who joined the invitational only for the second day of competition, immediately started with a victory as the 400-yard medley relay A team (3:21.20) claimed first, and the B team (3:24.10) grabbed third.
The individual races then turned shades of cardinal as Stanford swept the top four places in the 500-yard free. Freshman Jack LeVant (4:22.96) cruised to a first-place finish six seconds ahead of junior True Sweetser (4:28.40). Junior James Murphy (4:34.16) and sophomore Matthew Hirschberger (4:34.18) followed in third and fourth, respectively.
The next event followed in similar fashion as junior Ben Ho (1:47.75) claimed the 200-yard backstroke for himself. Seniors Patrick Conaton (1:48.66) and Jack Walsh (1:49.94) trailed in his wake to round out the top three.
In the 100-yard free, senior Cole Cogswell (45.52) and freshman Mason Gonzalez (45.61) were just barely outgunned as they finished in second place and third place. The Cardinal men then reclaimed the top five spots of the 200-yard breaststroke in which freshman Daniel Roy (2:00.15) out-touched junior Hank Poppe (2:00.27) by a fraction of a second.
University of the Pacific Tigers managed to sneak a swimmer past Stanford during the 100-yard fly, while Ho (50.07) and LeVant (50.82) settled for silver and bronze. Stanford’s individual races ended with an exclamation point when the first eight places in the 200-yard free all went to Cardinal men. Walsh (1:53.33), Roy (1:53.93) and senior Brad Zdroik (1:54.56) led the pack.
In the 200-yard free relay, the day ended as it began. Stanford’s A relay team (1:22.78) earned top prize, while the B relay team (1:23.57) nabbed third place.
As demonstrated by the fact they only came for half the meet, Stanford had no intention of competing for points and thus finished in second to University of the Pacific, 697-1098. If the Tigers’ massive lead from Friday night had been erased, Stanford would have swum to an easy 697-471 win.
In the coming weeks, the Cardinal will have friendly yet fierce competition at the annual Alumni Meet on Oct. 26, at 5:30 p.m. in Avery. Stanford’s next competitive meet is on Nov. 8 at Avery Aquatic Center against Cal (2-0, 1-0) in its yearly Triple Distance Meet.
Contact James Hemker at jahemker ‘at’ stanford.edu.