By James Hemker
Last Friday, the Stanford men’s swimming and diving team (2-0, 1-0 Pac-12) steamrolled the University of the Pacific (UoP) (0-2) to the tune of 151-85. The 11th-ranked Cardinal finished first and second in all 13 events.
Ultimately, the strongest competition came from the team itself. After the meet, head coach Ted Knapp said, “What I was really hoping to see was some good competition within the team, and I think if you look at the results there were some pretty good matchups.”
The fast racing combined with the fact that most swimmers were in off events lent a strong sense of parity to the meet. Freshman diver Connor Casey was the only athlete to win in more than one event. Casey captured the one-meter (358.73) diving and the three-meter (392.70) diving.
The all-senior relay squad of Ryan Dudzinski, Matt Anderson, Brad Zdroik and Cole Cogswell set the tone for the meet after cruising to a 1:28.65 finish in the 200-yard medley relay, the first event of the morning.
Junior True Sweetser and sophomore Will Macmillan then won their events by a wide margin. Sweetser finished the 1000-yard free in 9:09.13, which was 21 seconds faster than second, and Macmillan (1:37.39) claimed gold in the 200-yard free a full three seconds ahead of silver.
The 50-yard free did not disappoint as the most exciting event when sophomore Jordan Greenberg (20.73) out-touched junior James Murphy (20.80) after both slid by the closest UoP swimmer in the last 15 yards.
Senior captain Jack Walsh (1:50.40) and freshman Daniel Roy (1:51.41) traded leads throughout the 200-yard IM while senior Matt Anderson (1:54.17) rounded out the Cardinal podium.
The Stanford bench erupted into cheers during the 100-yard butterfly when junior Hank Poppe (48.61), a breaststroke/freestyle specialist, stole first place from Macmillan (48.81).
“Hank Poppe won the 100 fly, and he doesn’t swim it,” Knap said. “We saw somethings in practice so we thought we’d put him in there, and he swam a very, very good time that in most conference dual meets would be top three.”
LeVant (44.70) found himself at the helm of a Stanford sweep in the 100-yard free. Zdroik (45.53) and freshman David Madej (46.22) trailed close behind.
In the final three individual events, UoP failed to find the podium. Senior Patrick Conaton (48.91) led the sweep in the 100-yard backstroke; Murphy (4:27.01) won gold in the 500-yard free; Anderson (55.76) stopped the clock first during the 100-yard breaststroke.
Another all-senior force (1:21.89) of Cogswell, Zdroik, Conaton and Abrahm DeVine provided a bookend to the meet with a victory in the final event, the 200-yard free relay.
“I thought the racing was good, we came off of a couple weeks of really hard training and it was nice to race against another team and see where we are at,” Walsh said.
“We had some guys put up some great times which I don’t think anyone was really expecting,” LeVant said. “We’re in the middle of some really tough training so it was great to see the guys step up.”
The Cardinal will return to action Jan. 25 and Jan. 26 away at Arizona and Arizona State, respectively.
Contact James Hemker at jahemker ‘at’ stanford.edu