Imagine stepping onto the white blocks for the final dual meet of your long and illustrious career. Picture standing tall with the sun shining brightly on you while your teammates, your friends and your family are loudly clapping for you. How would you want to say goodbye?
Records. That’s how Cal senior Josh Prenot wound down his dual meet career.
While leading the way to a 130-113 win against No. 8 Stanford at the Avery Aquatics Center, Prenot took the pool record in both the 200-yard individual medley and the 200-yard breaststroke. In the 200-yard individual medley, Prenot, 1:45.38, broke Dan Trupin’s 13-year-old record, 1:45.69, from the 2003 season by .31 seconds. Trupin’s record is impressive considering the incredible swimmers like David Nolan and Austin Staab that have competed at Avery Aquatics Center. Nolan is also the American Record holder in this event.
Prenot stamped his name in the history books a second time when he crushed the pool record of the 200-yard breaststroke by 2.1 seconds — a time that was set by Michael Bruce 14 years ago. In the event, he went a 1:53.75. Prenot beat freshman Andrew Seliskar by 5.63 seconds in the 200-yard breaststroke.
Prenot teamed up with Seliskar and juniors Long Gutierrez and Dillon Williams to take second-place in the 200-yard medley relay. The first-place squad of junior Ryan Murphy, sophomore Connor Hoppe, sophomore Justin Lynch and senior Tyler Messerschmidt took the third pool record of the meet. The winning time of 1:25.98 beat out Cal’s record from two years ago when Murphy was just a freshman.
Three pool records were too much for Stanford to handle as the Bears beat the Cardinal, by 17. The final score doesn’t indicate a huge score differential because Stanford’s divers swept the two diving events and closed the gap by 26 points. The Cardinal exhibits a high quality of performance in the diving events even after graduating national champion Kristian Ipsen. Even though Cal senior Peter Cyr earned a 362.70 in the 3-meter diving event, the Bears couldn’t limit the damage from the 16-3 advantage that Stanford had from each of the two diving events.
Murphy — a usual safe bet to win all the individual events he swims in — was beaten by Stanford’s Sam Perry in the 50-yard freestyle, but Murphy got his revenge in the 100-yard freestyle in which Perry finished third. The only backstroke Murphy did against the Cardinal was leading off the 200-yard medley relay to start the competition.
Without Murphy, senior Jacob Pebley won the 200-yard backstroke, 1:43.42. He took control of the race right from the starting whistle and never allowed the rest of the field to catch up to him. Pebley won by just under 2.5 seconds. Pebley added a third-place finish in the 200-yard individual medley behind Prenot and Stanford freshman Abrahm DeVine and was the anchor of the third-place relay team in the 200-yard freestyle relay.
In the end, Cal was able to overcome the depth of Stanford’s swimming and the excellence of the Cardinal’s diving and hold on for a win in the final dual meet of the season. After the loss to USC more than two weeks ago, the Bears showed their perseverance by rebounding successfully and not losing concentration, which bodes well as Cal prepares for the Pac-12 Championships and NCAA Championships.