2018-2019 Season: Men's Swimming

bearz012
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The women's swimming thread has been up for a while now, so I thought I'd create this season's men's swimming thread.


Chris Jhong, Reece Whitley

swan
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Bearz102,

Thanks for opening the 2018-19 message thread for the men. The challenge this year will be to replace star free and fly sprinters (Lynch and Josa) and top breaststroker Connor Hoppe. Durden also needs to find new team leaders to replace guys like Nick Silverthorne and Zach Stevens who made important contributions in and out of the pool.

The 2018-2019 roster is not yet posted but hopefully we only suffer the normal attrition of graduation and do not have any scholastic or home-sick casualties. If that is the case, the prospects look very for the Bears to challenge for national honors again.

Last year we finished a very close 2nd at NCAAs without a single individual or relay first place finish, and we have the bulk of our NCAA points returning (Seliskar, Thomas, Quah, Norman, Sendyk, Grieshop, Hoffer, Carr, Mefford, Sand and Julian). Unfortunately, Texas and Indiana are loaded as well so much depends on the Coach Durden ability to get Hoffer to return to top form and to guide super frosh Reece Whitley to a smooth transition to the rigors of Cal academics and D1 swimming. Of the 2018 freshmen, only Whitley is expected to score NCAA points this coming March.
longseeker
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I just wish we had gotten Sancov who swam high school last season in the East Bay area (Concord). Wish Cooper (Pleasanton) who still has another year at Foothill High School would change his mind on Ohio State and join to of his Foothill team mates at Cal.

We must get 16 year old Urlando from the Sacramento area who is pushing Michael Phelps' times at the same age group.
swan
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longseeker said:

I just wish we had gotten Sancov who swam high school last season in the East Bay area (Concord). Wish Cooper (Pleasanton) who still has another year at Foothill High School would change his mind on Ohio State and join to of his Foothill team mates at Cal.

We must get 16 year old Urlando from the Sacramento area who is pushing Michael Phelps' times at the same age group.

After a couple of chats with people closer to recruiting, there wasn't an academic match with Sancov, and USC could offer more $$. Jonah Cooper decision to swim in Ohio is a head-scratcher, but the kid speaks highly of their nursing program and I am sure they could offer more funding than Cal.

Agreed about Urlando and I know that Matt Whittle has been in his ear, but he also told Gianluca to enjoy recruiting, go on his trips, but in the end to choose Cal.
longseeker
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Thanks for the update and hope we land Urlando. Sancov has a friend (can't recall the name right now) who I think may be a foreign student and who has swim times on the level of Sancov. Hope he doesn't go to USC, too!
swimmer19
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longseeker said:

Thanks for the update and hope we land Urlando. Sancov has a friend (can't recall the name right now) who I think may be a foreign student and who has swim times on the level of Sancov. Hope he doesn't go to USC, too!
Assuming you are talking about Andrei Minakov out of Terrapins as well?
longseeker
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Yes.. I never heard anything about him reading Swim Swam.com.
bearz012
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UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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RANKING THE 2018 MEN'S NCAA RECRUITING CLASSES: #5-8


Cal's class is very small, but it does feature the #1 swimmer in the class: one Reece Whitley. Archive photo via Tim Binning/TheSwimPictures.com


#8: CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS

Top-tier additions: #1 Reece Whitley (PA breast/IM), Christopher Jhong (CA IM)
The rest: Daniel O'Connell (CA fly), Kyle Millis (WA back)

It's a very small class for the returning NCAA runners-up, but there's an argument they could be ranked even higher for nabbing the #1 recruit in the class. Reece Whitley has a chance to be one of the greatest breaststrokers in NCAA history, coming in with the fastest breaststroke times of any high schooler we've ever ranked. 51.1 and 1:51.4 would have both placed top-3 at NCAAs last year, and Whitley could be both a multi-time NCAA champ and a major difference-maker on the breaststroke leg of medley relays. Far from a one-stroke specialist, Whitley is also the best 200 IMer in the class (1:43.55) and there are some who suspect Whitley could ultimately develop more into an IM type than a true breaststroker. (It's too easy to forget he's 3:44.7 in the 400 IM and has the ability and training background to chew up yardage in those tough races).

Christopher Jhong is another very good IM prospect, bringing in times of 1:45.5 and 3:49.0 in the IM events. He's also a very good butterflyer (48.3/1:47.2) and should be a productive prospect for the Bears.

The rest of the class has upside based on Cal's track records in their events. Millis is a backstroker (48.2/1:45.2) who has a ways to go, but does join a program that churned out Jacob Pebley, then Ryan Murphy, then Daniel Carr and Bryce Mefford.

O'Connell's 47.7 100 fly is intriguing, especially given he's only been swimming year-round for a handful of seasons. He was just 51.7 in the spring of 2016, 49.9 a year later and 47.7 this spring, so the trajectory is awfully exciting.


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http://instagr.am/p/BnM1SW7B5uC

http://instagr.am/p/BnM4BTRFofs

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bearz012
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Top Swimmers Named to 2018-19 National Team

- Adrian, Nathan: 50/100 free
- Grieshop, Sean: 400 IM
- Jensen, Michael: 50 free
- Mefford, Bryce: 100/200 back
- Murphy, Ryan: 100/200 back
- Norman, Nick: 800 free
- Pebley, Jacob: 100/200 back
- Prenot, Josh: 200 breast, 200 IM
- Seliskar, Andrew: 200 free, 200 IM
- Shields, Tom: 100/200 fly
UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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Go Bears! #EarnIt


UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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COLLEGE SWIMMING PREVIEWS: REVITALIZED SELI TO LEAD #2 CAL



#2 CAL GOLDEN BEARS

Key Losses: Justin Lynch (15 NCAA Points, 3 NCAA Relays), Matthew Josa (20 NCAA Points, 2 NCAA relays), Connor Hoppe (30 NCAA Points, 2 NCAA Relays)
Key Additions:
Reece Whitley (PA - breast/IM), Christopher Jhong (CA - IM)


2017-2018 LOOK BACK
Coming just short of 2018 champions Texas and just ahead of an upset-hungry Indiana, the Cal Golden Bears prided themselves on an NCAAs where individual scoring was the main driver of their point accumulation. Specifically, contributions from Andrew Seliskar, Connor Hoppe, and a dynamite freshman class propelled Cal to its runner-up position.

Cal was without an individual nor relay title, though Seliskar touched 2nd in a hotly-contested 200 breast to IU's Ian Finnerty, 3rd in the 400 IM, and Nick Norman had a breakout year with a 3rd place finish in the 1650. In addition to other top 8 finishes from a host of other swimmers, Cal shot three swimmers each into both butterfly event A finals, and managed top-3 finishes in both 200-yard relays.

Many chalked it up to diving as Cal's missing link and the reason for their falling short of the Longhorns, though one could look to all four of their 100 freestylers missing finals by tenths as another way they weren't able to claim the crown. Ifs ands and buts aside, Cal put forth a tremendous effort last season without a single title and without any scoring divers.


SPRINT FREE: A
Outgoing Justin Lynch was a sprint free and relay staple during his time at Cal, but individually he was only responsible for 3 sprint free points. Impressively, the Bears return not one, but two sub-19 sprinters in junior Pawel Sendyk (18.94) and the heralded high school recruit and now-sophomore Ryan Hoffer (18.97). Bowen Becker of Minnesota (18.88 at NCAAs, 18.69 at Big Tens) is the NCAA's top returner from last year's championship, meaning Sendyk and Hoffer have as good a chance as any to nab a title. In the 100 free, however, both are going to have to do more than they did last year if they want to score.

Junior Michael Jensen ended up on the wrong side of the line with painful finishes of 19th, 19th, and 21st in the 50/200/100 frees, respectively. His freshman season was a bit more fruitful, as he scored in the 50 free B final, but he's a fringe asset who will definitely help out on relays. This summer was big for Jensen, as he registered times of 22.0/48.7 in LCM at Nationals, meaning he may be right around the corner from a break through 2019 NCAAs.

Andrew Seliskar shocked many fans with a lights-out 1:45 200 free title at Nationals to secure not just his first, but his first two international roster spots for the 2018 Pan Pac Champs as well as the 2019 World Champs. He may stick with the 400 IM over the 200 free individually, but he will be a huge boost to the 800 free relay and may get pasted onto the 200 and 400 free relays with Lynch out and no elite sprinters joining the program this year. Bryce Mefford snuck into the A final of the 200 free, too, which was a big swim from the freshman.


DISTANCE FREE: A-
Nick Norman is the main name returning here. After finishing 6th to last in the mile as a freshman and 2nd to last in 2017, Norman found his engine and really took off last season. Touching all the way up at 3rd in the mile and nearly a full minute faster than he was as a sophomore, Norman is reinvented and will challenge for a title in this race in his senior season if all goes well. He backed up his 2018 NCAA showing with 4th place finishes in the 800 and 1500 frees at Nationals this past summer and he's looking the best he ever has - he wasn't too far scoring in the 500 last year, either, but that's more of a tough bet to make as he really excels in the mile.

Distance was a severe weakness for Cal up until last year, what with Norman's surge and Sean Grieshop scoring in the 500. Grieshop, now a sophomore, could be up in the A final after touching 9th in prelims in 2018, and he was also 11th in the mile.


IM: A+
Seliskar returns with only Stanford's Abrahm Devine ahead of him based on last year's A final times in the 400 IM, and Cal has more in the tank in the IMs. Mike Thomas showed up for B final appearances in both IMs last year, while Grieshop was just out of the B final by one place. A whopping 9 of 16 400 IM finalists last year have graduated, leaving room for some uptick from people like Grieshop.

In the 200 IM, Seliskar should also be in the mix for a top 3 finish, and Thomas and Zheng Quah lurk after racing in the B final last season.

Reece Whitley comes in at 1:43.5 in the 200 IM and 3:44.7 in the 400, and while he'll almost definitely do the 100 breast on day 3 of NCAAs, his 200 IM is already at B final level. Chris Jhong, an in-state pickup, is also a very capable IMer at 1:45.5/3:49.0 who may develop into a scoring threat.


BUTTERFLY: A+
Butterfly was the strongest point of Cal's roster last year. They had six men make A finals in the flys, with the three who A-finaled in the 100 being completely different from the three who made the 200 fly A final. Josa, Lynch and Hoffer reached the 100 fly A final, while Quah, Thomas and Trenton Julian A-finaled in the 200. Lynch and Josa are gone, which is tough considering Josa was the 400 medley fly leg and Lynch was a sub-20 medley relay fly split, but there isn't trouble in this paradise for now.

Quah is still a remarkable all-around talent in the fly, and with Sendyk and Jensen (and even Seliskar) available to anchor medleys if needed, Hoffer may just slot into Lynch's 200 medley fly spot and/or Josa's 400 medley spot. All of Cal's 200 flyers are back, and Quah lurks for a potential A final showing in the 100 fly.

And, Seliskar might feel like tackling a different beast instead of the 200 breast - either way, he's a title contender in either the 200 fly or breast.


BACKSTROKE: B+
Similar to Indiana, backstroke is the weakest point of this roster (diving excluded), but there isn't really much that Cal is lacking in this department. Freshmen Mefford and Daniel Carr absolutely turned it out for the Bears, coming through when they were so needed, despite being freshmen. Carr is the fastest 200 medley lead-off returning (he was 2nd-best in the entire field last year) and was a B finalist in both backstrokes, while Mefford finished 4th in the 200 back and just this summer was 4th in the 200 back at Nationals.

Quah and Ethan Young were both 46's last year in the 100, while Young hit a 1:41 in the 200.


BREASTSTROKE: A+
As All-American Hoppe exits, stud freshman Reece Whitley enters. Whitley is a true blue-chip recruit, with A-final level times in the 100 and 200 breast (51.16 and 1:51.43, respectively). It could end up being quite a smooth transition, actually as Hoppe's runner-up time in the 100 breast at NCAAs is Whitley's exact lifetime best, while the freshman has been about a second faster than Hoppe in the 200.

Meanwhile, there's Seliskar, who nearly won the 200 breast NCAA title over a fading Finnerty and pulled out a nearly incomprehensible 28.91 final 50. Carson Sand, a 52.3/1:54.8 breaststroker, rounds out three very capable swimmers in Cal's arsenal.

Whitley may be called upon for medley duties, as Seliskar is wildly versatile and may be needed elsewhere, and then there's Sand who can hop in if needed, too.


2018-2019 OUTLOOK
Several Cal men are coming off of great NCAA seasons and arguably even greater summers in long course. Key players were lost to graduation, but Whitley's addition is seismic - he may well bring in 40 or more points strictly from his three individual races at NCAAs, and his lethal breast speed on relays should allow for the versatile Seliskar to do damage elsewhere.

Surely, Cal has lost too much from its departed class to make up much ground on a Texas team whose freshman class is so deep. When looking at the numbers, though, only Drew Kibler comes in with a time that can score individually (Daniel Krueger is the only other new face who even has an invited time). Cal is going to need more out of its sprint freestylers, and they certainly cannot afford to have guys who are capable scorers stuck finishing in the late teens. With Indiana also on a roll, these three teams up top are going to be in a triangular battle for the ages.
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