If insanity, according to Albert Einstein, is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results each time, then the members of the Cal men’s swim and dive team could not be further from going insane.
With each competition the team attends, the blue and gold believe in doing the same thing repeatedly: Swim all events as technically sound as possible, while putting in enough effort to make every single fiber of muscle in the body burn from lactic acid.
Except, instead of expecting a different result each time, the Bears expect one thing and one thing only once they step into a pool arena. They expect to utterly dominate whoever dares enter the pool with them. More often than not, their expectations are met.
The team’s performance at the annual Cal Poly pentathlon over the weekend proved that this holds true both for national championships and smaller dual meets alike.
Instead of the traditional scoring format, where swimmers gain points based on their results in one individual event, all swimmers at this meet swam the same five events: the 100 freestyle, 100 fly, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke and the 100 individual medley.
These events are short and fast, typically all lasting under a minute, and are meant to test the swimmer’s sprinting capabilities along with their ability to recover quickly between events.
The swimmer with the lowest combined times from these five events is then crowned King of the Pool. This year’s King was Cal junior Destin Lasco, who blitzed the field with a total time of 4:04.23 — a staggering eight seconds faster than sophomore Robin Hanson who finished with a time of 4:12.34. In a sport where winners and losers are often decided by milliseconds, winning anything by a margin of eight seconds is an impressive feat.
But perhaps more impressive was the team’s overall performance at this dual meet with Cal Poly. Cal left the event having taken the top 22 places of the meet, with Cal Poly’s highest finisher being junior Kieran McNulty coming in 23rd.
Something interesting to note at this meet, however, was that a number of Cal swimmers were noticeably absent from the races. Among them are some of the Bears’ fastest swimmers, including Bjorn Seeliger, Liam Bell, Reece Whitley and Gabriel Jett. While there has been no official word on the reasons for their absence, Lasco’s path to earning that crown may not have been as comfortable had they been churning the waters alongside him.
Looking further down the line, the next competition the Bears attend will be a divisional showdown against Utah on Oct. 12, at the Bears’ own Spieker Aquatics Complex. Barring any setbacks, the blue and gold will head into that meet with the same mentality as the rest: Swim hard, swim fast and most importantly: win.