By James Hemker
Last weekend, eighth-ranked Stanford’s men’s swimming and diving team (1-0, Pac-12 1-0) concluded a four-day invitational at University of Texas. The meet did not keep score, which gave coaches the freedom to test swimmers in different events. The Cardinal left Texas with finalists who earned NCAA B-cuts in every event.
Despite heavy losses to relay teams over the summer, Stanford excelled in the five relay events. The 800-yard free relay team (6:17.14) started the meet with a strong second-place finish and earned the team’s only A-qualifying time. The 400-yard free team (2:51.96) secured a silver medal as well. The 200-yard medley (1:25.25) and 200-yard free (1:17.97) relays each finished third in their respective races. Stanford’s B (3:07.24) and A (3:07.39) 400-yard medley relay teams finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
On the individual front, the Cardinal fared better in longer distance races and the medleys compared to the sprints.
Senior Abrahm DeVine (1:42.71) claimed Stanford’s first gold medal finish of the meet in the 200-yard IM after shaving two seconds off of his morning time. Sophomore Alex Liang followed in fourth with a time of 1:44.59.
Liang (3:42.90) had the Cardinal’s most impressive race of the meet when he stole the 400-yard IM after dropping a full seven seconds from his morning swim. Freshman Daniel Roy (3:50.14) followed in fifth place. Liang (1:43.32) also finished second as Stanford’s top swimmer in the 200-yard butterfly. In that event, freshman Jack LeVant (1:43.46) was out-touched by 0.01 seconds and settled for fifth.
During the 500-yard free, LeVant (4:13.11) was able to drop a second off of his morning time to nab another Stanford silver. LeVant was joined by junior True Sweetser (4:15.71), who touched the wall fourth. Junior James Murphy (4:18.50) and sophomore Johannes Calloni (4:18.50) tied for sixth.
Sweetser (14:46.63), Calloni (14:49.64) and Murphy (14:53.83) completed a 3-4-5 sweep for the Cardinal in the ultra-long 1650-yard freestyle. Sophomore Matthew Hirschberger (14:56.48) followed close behind in seventh, giving Stanford four of the top eight times.
Stanford also claimed half of the top eight times in the 200-yard breaststroke. Senior Matt Anderson (1:54.09) grabbed another second place finish. Roy (1:54.62) joined him on the podium in third. Junior Hank Poppe (1:55.57) took sixth place, while sophomore Brennan Pastorek (1:57.15) finished eighth.
Anderson (52.16), Poppe (53.17),and Pastorek (53.55) were all finalists in the 100-yard breaststroke as well. They placed third, fifth and seventh, respectively.
Stanford’s lesser showings in the shortest events were in part due to multiple disqualifications for false starts. Over the course of the meet, 10 different Cardinal swimmers jumped too early.
Senior Cole Cogswell was the only Stanford finalist in the 50-yard free (19.71), placing eighth, and the 100-yard free (43.32), placing seventh. Senior Brad Zdroik (46.36) finished seventh in the 100-yard butterfly. Murphy (1:34.67) also took seventh in the 200-yard free. Senior Ryan Dudzinski (47.46) touched eighth in the 100-yard backstroke.
In the 200-yard backstroke, senior Patrick Conaton (1:43.11) out-reached freshman Alex Boratto (1:43.22) for seventh place. In the B-final, junior Ben Ho (1:43.10) finished first, and his time was sixth best overall.
This invitational marked the end of the fall season, and now the swimmers will fold back into the Dead Week grind before the winter season begins. The Cardinal will swim back to action against University of the Pacific in Avery Aquatics Center on Jan. 11.
Contact James Hemker at jahemker ‘at’ stanford.edu.