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HomeSwimming#1 Cal Men Seeking First Repeat as Champions Since 2012

#1 Cal Men Seeking First Repeat as Champions Since 2012

It’s that point of the yr once more. SwimSwam can be previewing the highest 12 males’s and ladies’s groups (after which some) from the 2022 NCAA Championships. Comply with together with the Faculty Swimming Preview Channel. Wish to learn much more? Try the newest version of the SwimSwam journal

#1 California Golden Bears

Key Losses: Trenton Julian (39 NCAA factors), Daniel Carr (20.5 NCAA factors), Bryce Mefford (15 NCAA factors), Sean Grieshop (11 NCAA factors), Hugo Gonzalez** (41 NCAA factors)

**Gonzalez is at present coaching in Spain however hasn’t dominated out the opportunity of returning to Cal for the winter semester.

Key Additions: Zachary Tan (Freshman – CA), Matthew Chai (Freshman – CA), Hank Rivers (Freshman – CA), Luca Gissendaner (Freshman – AZ), Patrick Callan (Fifth 12 months – Michigan)

Returning Fifth Years: Reece Whitley (27 NCAA factors), Chris Jhong (2x NCAA qualifier)


Three years in the past, we unveiled a brand new, extra data-based grading standards primarily based on ‘projected returning factors’, a stat of our personal making that concerned lots of handbook calculations involving departing seniors, redshirts, freshmen, and so on. We favored the objectiveness of that stat, however provided that there’s nonetheless lots of uncertainty for this yr, we’re adopting a hybrid strategy this yr. The “stars” will rely closely on what swimmers truly did final yr, however we’ll additionally give credit score to returning swimmers or freshmen who’ve occasions that might have scored final yr.

Since we solely profile the highest 12 groups on this format, our grades are designed with that vary in thoughts. Within the grand scheme of faculty swimming and in comparison with all different school applications, high 12 NCAA applications would just about all grade nicely throughout the board. However within the curiosity of constructing these previews informative, our grading scale is hard – designed to point out the tiers between the great stroke teams, the nice ones, and the 2015 Texas fly group varieties.

  • 5 star (★★★★★) – a uncommon, elite NCAA group projected to attain 25+ factors per occasion
  • 4 star (★★★★) – a really, superb NCAA group projected to attain 15-24 factors per occasion
  • 3 star (★★★) – a great NCAA group projected to attain 5-14 factors per occasion
  • 2 star (★★) – a strong NCAA group projected to attain 1-4 factors per occasion
  • 1 star (★) –  an NCAA group that’s projected to attain no factors per occasion, although that doesn’t imply it’s with out potential scorers – they’ll simply have to leapfrog some swimmers forward of them to do it

We’ll grade every occasion self-discipline: dash free (which we outline to incorporate all of the relay-distance freestyle occasions, so 50, 100 and 200), distance free, IM, breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly and diving. Use these grades as a jumping-off level for dialogue, reasonably than a motive to be offended.

2021-2022 LOOKBACK

Cal had an incredible 2021-2022 season, profitable the NCAA title by a wholesome margin over the defending champion Texas Longhorns. Like Virginia on the ladies’s NCAAs, Cal managed their victory with none diving factors, which is a testomony to only how unimaginable their swimmers are.

The Golden Bears put collectively an astonishing 330.5 factors in particular person occasions, led by their class of fifth years, together with Daniel Carr, Trenton Julian, Bryce Mefford, and Sean Grieshop. Cal’s high scorer was sophomore Destin Lasco, who was distinctive at NCAAs, profitable the 200 again, taking second within the 200 IM, and fourth within the 100 again, which earned him 52 factors.

Cal additionally received titles within the 400 IM (Hugo Gonzalez) and 400 medley relay.


This dash crew is led by junior Bjorn Seeliger, who completed second in each the 50 and 100 free at NCAAs final season. Curiously, Seeliger was sooner in prelims than finals in each occasions, swimming 18.45 within the 50 and 40.75 within the 100 within the morning—each of which might have been quick sufficient to win at evening.

Final yr, Jack Alexy had an exceptional season as a freshman, swimming 19.27 within the 50 free and 41.77 within the 100. It’s notable, nonetheless, that Alexy cut up 18.78 on the second leg of Cal’s 200 free relay at NCAAs, which signifies that he may need a sub-19 flat-start in him.

The lack of Trenton Julian will damage Cal within the 200 free, as he completed seventh within the occasion at NCAAs final season. Cal isn’t with out scoring swimmers within the 200, nonetheless, since Robin Hanson was a ‘B’ finalist at NCAAs final season as a freshman. Notably, Gabriel Jett, who was additionally a freshman final yr, had a season better of 1:32.52, which might have been quick sufficient to make the ‘B’ closing as nicely.

In his sophomore season, Dylan Hawk clocked large lifetime bests in each the 100 and 200 free. Within the 100 free, Hawk was Cal’s third-fastest performer, coming in at 42.19. He was #4 within the 200 free, having swum a 1:33.14.

The addition of Patrick Callan ought to have an effect right here as nicely. Callan was a bit off his lifetime bests final season at Michigan, however his private better of 1:32.63 within the 200 free is correct on the bubble of scoring at NCAAs.


That is the world the place Cal has obtained the largest increase. Although they misplaced their high two milers from final season, Will Roberts and Sean Grieshop, Cal brings in freshman Matthew Chai, who has already been 14:45 within the 1650 earlier than setting foot on campus. It might take a really modest enchancment from Chai to securely be in scoring vary at NCAAs this season.

The five hundred free is trying promising for the Golden Bears, thanks largely to the addition of Patrick Callan. The fifth-year has a private better of 4:11.79, a time which he swam on the 2020 Large Ten Championships. Gabriel Jett was Cal’s quickest swimmer within the occasion final season, clocking a 4:13.90 as a freshman. After an exceptional summer time of LCM swimming, Jett might be considerably sooner this yr.

Cal additionally brings within the freshman Chai, who’s the quickest 500 freestyler in his class. Chai has a private better of 4:15.91, making him one of many quickest excessive schoolers ever within the occasion. It took a 4:13.81 to qualify for the ‘B’ closing at NCAAs final season.


Cal misplaced Daniel Carr and Bryce Mefford, which is an enormous hit to their backstroke group, but the stroke nonetheless stays one of many Golden Bears’ finest.

Each Destin Lasco and Bjorn Seeliger have been ‘A’ finalists within the 100 again final yr, and each return for his or her junior seasons this yr. Sebastian Somerset swam nice within the again occasions final yr, clocking a forty five.87 within the 100 again, which was about half a second off what it took to make the ‘B’ closing at NCAAs.

Although Carr and Mefford have been phenomenal 200 backstrokers, Cal nonetheless returns the defending NCAA champion in Destin Lasco. The sophomore received the occasion convincingly final yr, swimming a 1:37.71 to the touch the wall first by over a second. Colby Mefford was a ‘B’ finalist final yr as nicely, additionally breaking 1:40 with a 1:39.66. The youthful Mefford brother in getting into his senior season this yr.

Somerset was simply off qualifying for the ‘B’ closing as nicely final yr, swimming a 1:40.66 in prelims to complete twenty first.

The Golden Bears usher in a number of backstrokers with this freshmen class as nicely. Tommy Roder is available in with a private better of 48.19 within the 100 again and 1:47.27 within the 200. Zachary Tan, who’s primarily an IM’er, however might swim the 200 again at championship meets, is 48.98 within the 100 again and 1:46.56 within the 200.


This breaststroke group has the potential to be completely unimaginable. After all, Reece Whitley returning as a fifth yr is big, as he’s an NCAA title contender in each breaststroke occasions. Whitley scored 27 factors in breaststroke occasions at NCAAs final yr, taking fourth within the 100 breast (50.84) and seventh within the 200 (1:50.83). Whitley’s season finest within the 200 breast was a 1:49.96, which he swam at Pac-12s.

Proper there with Whitley is Liam Bell, who was third within the 100 breast at NCAAs final yr, clocking a blistering 50.50. Bell received the ‘B’ closing of the 200 breast with a 1:51.36.

That is the place we have now to notice the standing of Hugo Gonzalez. A senior final yr, Gonzalez is just not at present on Cal’s roster and is again dwelling in Spain coaching at present. Nonetheless, Gonzalez has advised SwimSwam that he might doubtlessly return to Cal for the winter semester and use his fifth yr of eligibility. For our scoring on this preview, we’re leaving Gonzalez out, since he’s not at present on the roster, however we nonetheless wish to word that he might be on the roster by the tip of the season.

Gonzalez wouldn’t race the 100 breast at NCAAs, however he would race the 200 breast, the place he’s an ‘A’ finals contender. He swam a 1:50.57 at Pac-12s final season, however ended up taking tenth at NCAAs with a 1:51.45.

Jason Louser was additionally proper there final yr, swimming a 1:51.91 at NCAAs in prelims, which was sufficient to get him into the ‘B’ closing, the place he would take thirteenth (1:52.08).

Cal additionally brings in a pair nice breaststrokers with this class. Luca Gissendaner begins his collegiate profession with a better of 53.50 within the 100 breast and 1:59.32 within the 200 breast. Proper behind him is Hank Rivers, who’s a 53.91 within the 100 and a pair of:00.95 within the 200. Zachary Tan is a really versatile swimmer, however he’s notably quick at breaststroker, the place he’s been 54.74 within the 100 and 1:58.17 within the 200.

Additional boosting their breaststroke group is the addition of Luke Rodarte, a switch out of Cal Lutheran who was the Division III nationwide champ within the 100 breast final season (52.71).


That is in all probability Cal’s weakest of the 4 strokes, for the reason that lack of Trenton Julian hurts, notably within the 200 fly. Julian was Cal’s main 200 flyer final yr, ending fourth within the 200 fly at NCAAs with a 1:39.00.

The excellent news is Cal returns Gabriel Jett, who was additionally an ‘A’ finalist final yr, swimming a 1:40.22 to take sixth at NCAAs. Not solely that, however Jett was distinctive this summer time, swimming a 1:54.37 within the LCM 200 fly to win U.S. Nationals in July. On condition that efficiency, it appears as if Jett is primed to dip underneath 1:40 this season.

The Golden Bears additionally return Dare Rose, who took twelfth at NCAAs final yr with a 1:41.23.

The 100 fly can be harder sledding for Cal. Rose was their solely scorer final yr, and he completed sixteenth with a forty five.12. Cal’s second-fastest 100 flyer final yr, and the one different man underneath 46, was Trenton Julian, who’s now not there. Matthew Jensen was shut final yr as a sophomore, swimming a 46.30 at Pac-12s.

They do usher in just a little assist in the 100 fly. Although he’s much more prone to swim the 200 IM, freshman Zachary Tan is available in with a 48.25 within the 100 fly. Tommy Roder has been 48.63 within the occasion earlier than.


Cal had three ‘A’ finalists within the 200 IM final yr at NCAAs, however they undoubtedly lose certainly one of them, and one other could or might not be again. Trenton Julian took seventh within the 200 IM final yr, swimming a 1:40.47, whereas Hugo Gonzalez was fifth in 1:39.82. After all, Gonzalez might probably be returning to Cal for the winter semester, although he hasn’t made that call but.

Fortunately for the Golden Bears, they nonetheless return their quickest 200 IMer, Destin Lasco, who completed second within the occasion final yr in 1:38.21. Beating Leon Marchand appears to be like like a tall order within the occasion, however Lasco was the second-fastest 200 IM’er within the NCAA final season by over a second, setting him up very nicely for his junior season.

Jason Louser was capable of make it into the ‘B’ closing within the 200 IM final season, the place he would end 14th in 1:41.91.

Gonzalez received the 400 IM at NCAAs final season, breaking the NCAA Document with a shocking 3:32.88. In addition they had Sean Grieshop, who was a fifth-year, make the ‘A’ closing, ending eighth (3:40.12). Jason Louser received the ‘B’ closing in 3:38.23 final yr, setting himself up for a bug efficiency in his senior season.

As a freshman, Tyler Kopp narrowly missed out on qualifying for the ‘B’ closing at NCAAs, swimming a 3:42.62 to take twentieth in prelims. Cal additionally picks up terrific freshman IM’er in Zachary Tan, who has been 1:46.77 within the 200 IM and three:48.84 within the 400. Hank Rivers additionally appears to be like like he’ll be a pleasant addition within the 200 IM, the place he has a private better of 1:48.99.

If Gonzalez does find yourself returning to Cal this yr, this IM group unquestionably turns into a five-star group, and doubtless the most effective IM group within the NCAA.


Cal had two divers on the roster final season, Max Valasek and Tyler Wesson, although neither competed final season. Valasek didn’t compete in his freshman season both, although Wesson did compete in 2020-2021, the place he scored at Pac-12s. Cal employed Pei Lin to revitalize the diving program in April, so we’ll see if the duo are competing this season or not.


Cal’s relays are nearly as good as any workforce within the NCAA. They scored 157 factors in relays at NCAAs final yr, out of a doable 200 factors if a workforce have been to win all 5 relays. Their high relay was the 400 medley, the place they received in 3:00.36, beating out Indiana by 0.40 seconds. Importantly, that relay was made up of Destin Lasco, Reece Whitley, Trenton Julian, and Bjorn Seeliger, three of whom return this season. Julian received’t be again for fly duties however Dare Rose ought to be capable of present roughly the identical cut up, or maybe Gabriel Jett might cut up 44 as nicely.

The Golden Bears have been second within the 200 free relay final season, with Seeliger, Jack Alexy, Daniel Carr, and Lasco combining for a 1:14.36. Whereas that was a implausible efficiency, Florida, who received the occasion final yr, has gained Josh Liendo, so the chance Cal will be capable of transfer up on this relay may be very low.

In a really tight end, Cal took third within the 400 free relay final yr, seeing Seeliger, Alexy, Hugo Gonzalez, and Lasco workforce up for a 2:46.42. It’s doable Cal might transfer up a spot or two this yr, although they might be helped vastly in that effort if Gonzalez does certainly return to Cal subsequent semester.

The 200 medley relay noticed Cal tie for third with NCAA State, swimming a 1:21.69. They misplaced two legs from this relay, Trenton Julian, who swam fly, and Daniel Carr, who swam free. Julian will in all probability get replaced by Dare Rose on fly, and Carr by Jack Alexy on free, although Rose could also be a slight downgrade in a 50 fly from Julian. Seeliger and Liam Bell return for the again and breast legs respectively. Notably, Cal had the quickest first 100 within the area final yr by an enormous margin, with Seeliger splitting 20.08 and Bell 22.71 for a 42.79 on the opening 100.

The Golden Bears have been fourth within the 800 free relay final season, and the excellent news is that they solely misplaced one leg. As soon as once more, it was Trenton Julian, who led the workforce off in 1:31.57 final yr. Because the quickest 200 freestyler on the workforce final season, the loss hurts, although Cal ought to be capable of change him with out an excessive amount of of a difficulty. Dylan Hawk improved fairly a bit within the 200 free final season, swimming a 1:33.14. Whereas that could be a step down from Julian’s 1:31.5, the opposite three legs have been superb for Cal final yr. Robin Hanson (1:31.96), Gabriel Jett (1:31.54), and Lasco (1:31.83) have been the opposite legs final yr. Notably, Hanson and Jett have been simply freshmen final season, and Lasco a sophomore, so we could haven’t seen the most effective out of them but.

Complete Stars: 30/40

2022-2023 OUTLOOK 

The workforce misplaced rather a lot, there’s no denying that, however they’re so deep that they need to be simply fantastic. Cal retains their high scorer from final yr in Destin Lasco, and although they misplaced lots of NCAA scorers, they preserve a majority of their relay legs from final yr.

After all, the largest query is Hugo Gonzalez. If he returns to Cal for the winter semester, it’s needed to choose towards this workforce, since he scored 41 factors final yr and set the NCAA Document within the 400 IM.

Even with out Gonzalez, this workforce appears to be like like they’ve an excellent shot at repeating as champions. Their breaststroke group is unimaginable, because of Reece Whitley returning for his fifth yr. Whitley and Liam Bell ought to each be NCAA ‘A’ finalists within the 100 and 200 breast.

In addition they boast a implausible backstroke group, led by reigning 200 again champion Destin Lasco. Bjorn Seeliger is among the finest sprinters within the NCAA at present. Although he completed second in each the 50 and 100 free final yr, we should always remember the fact that his prelims occasions would have been quick sufficient to win each occasions. He’s additionally became a really quick dash backstroker who appears to be like as doubtless as anybody to make the ‘A’ closing within the 100 again once more this yr.

Gabriel Jett is one other swimmer to regulate. He was nothing in need of distinctive at U.S. Nationals this summer time, profitable the 200 fly in an enormous private better of 1:54.37 (LCM). He was additionally 1:47.44 within the 200 free and 52.19 within the 100 fly at Nationals. Jett was only a freshman final yr, so don’t be stunned if he takes one other step ahead this season.

On high of the person performers, Cal has probably the most effective relays within the NCAA once we take all 5 occasions into consideration.

Our prediction is that Cal will repeat because the NCAA champions.


#1 Cal Golden Bears ★★★★ ★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★★ 30/40
#2 Texas Longhorns ★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★ ★★★★ ★★ ★★★★★ ★★★ ★★★★ 29/40
#3 Florida Gators ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★ ★★½ ★★★★ ★★½ ★★★ ★★★★★ 27/40
#4 NC State Wolfpack ★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★★★★★ 25/40
#5 Indiana Hoosiers ★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ 25/40
#6 Arizona State Solar Devils ★★★ ★★ ★★★ ★★★½ ★★★½ ★★★★★ ★★★★ 25/40
#7 Stanford Cardinal ★★ ★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★★★ ★★★ ★★★★ 21/40
#8 Georgia Bulldogs ★★★ ★★★★ ★★ ★★★ ★★★ ★★★ 20/40
#9 Ohio State Buckeyes ★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★★ ★★ ★★★★ ★★★ 20/40
#10 Virginia Cavaliers ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★★★★ 17/40
#11 Virginia Tech Hokies ★★★ ★★ ★★★ ★★★ ★★★ ★★ 18/40
#12 Louisville Cardinals ★★★ ★★ ★★★  13/40



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