By James Hemker
The No. 7 men’s swimming and diving team finished second to top-ranked Cal at the Pac-12 conference championship this weekend. After being declared “underdogs” before the meet, the team showed up and out-performed expectations. Historically, the second-place finish is no surprise, as Stanford hasn’t fallen out of the top two in 38 years.
Entering the final day of competition, Stanford held a tenuous 89-point lead over Arizona. By the end of the meet, the team had extended that difference to 146 points. Ultimately, the team’s efforts could not catch up to the Golden Bears, who dominated nearly every event.
Saturday began with the 1,650-yard freestyle, the longest race on the schedule. Junior James Murphy finished the mile-long swim in 14:44.06, which was good for both a season best and a silver medal. Junior True Sweetser (14:50.88) just missed the podium in fourth, and sophomore Matthew Hirschberger (14:54.65) took sixth.
Senior Patrick Conaton entered the 200-yard backstroke finals with the top preliminary time, but he failed to find the podium with his 1:40.92 finish, taking fourth instead. Sophomore Glen Coward (1:41.97) trailed just behind Conaton while junior Ben Ho (1:42.81) touched seventh. Sophomore Johannes Calloni (1:42.97) was able to claim the B-final.
Freshman Daniel Roy was Stanford’s first finisher in fourth in the 200-yard breaststroke, stopping the clock at 1:53.75. Sophomore Brennan Pastorek (1:54.54) and junior Hank Poppe (1:54.82) took sixth and eighth, respectively.
Sophomore Alex Liang was the sole Cardinal in the A-finals of the 200-yard backstroke. Liang was able to drop more than half a second off of his season-best. His 1:42.74 finish earned him fourth. Freshman Jack LeVant (1:44.52) took home the B-final for the Cardinal.
The 100-yard freestyle was the only event where the Cardinal were blanked from the A-finals. Seniors Abrahm DeVine (43.02) and Cole Cogswell (43.23) both improved their season-lows while claiming places two and four in the B-final.
The 400-yard free relay team of Cogswell, DeVine, LeVant and Conaton (2:51.67) closed out the meet for Stanford. Despite dropping time, the squad was unable to find the podium, finishing fourth.
The championship ended with the Golden Bears (948 points) as the clear winners. Stanford (716 points) and Arizona (570 points) rounded out the podium. The team will now have two weeks before they face the nation’s best at NCAA’s.
Contact James Hemker at jahemker ‘at’ stanford.edu.