Cal Seniors Dominate in Win over Utah

By Michael Hamann on SwimSwam

Cal vs. Utah (Men)

October 22nd, 2021
Salt Lake City, Utah
SCY Dual Meet

Team Scores

Cal 166 Utah 95

Full results

The Cal Golden Bears easily handled Utah in their trip to Salt Lake City this weekend, topping the Utes 166 to 95. The Golden Bears were led by their stout senior class, which won five individual events on the day. Cal is the second Bay Area foe to trek into the mountains to take on the treacherous Utah altitude, after Stanford topped Utah in Salt Lake last week. 

At about 4800 feet, the University of Utah qualifies for the middle tier of NCAA altitude conversions in events 100 yards or longer. 100 yard races get to subtract .10 seconds. 200 yard races cut 1.2 seconds off. 400 and 500 yard races get 7 seconds off, and the 1000 free gets 18.5 seconds off.

Fifth year senior Hugo Gonzalez was a double winner on the day for Cal, taking the 100 back and 200 breast. In the 100 back, the two-time Spanish Olympian used a quick opening 50 to take the victory in 48.08 by nearly 7 tenths over sophomore teammate Destin Lasco. Gonzalez returned later to dominate the 200 breast, winning by over 7 seconds by touching first in 1:57.18. Last season, Gonzalez was an NCAA A finalist in the 200 breast and 200 IM and scored in the B final of the 400 IM. 

Fellow senior classmates Reece Whitley, Trenton Julian and Chris Jhong all won one event apiece as well. Whitley, a Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania native, easily won the 100 breast in 54.54, touching 2 seconds ahead of freshman teammate Forrest Frazier. Whitley has been one of the top breaststrokers in the NCAA in his career, having made the A final at NCAAs in the 100 and 200 breast in each of his three years with the Bears. 

US National teamer and Cal fifth year Trenton Julian won his signature 200 fly in 1:46.03. The Glendale, California native touched a  second and a half ahead of sophomore teammate Dare Rose. Fellow senior Chris Jhong, a native of Pleasanton, California, touched first in the 400 IM in 4:00.95. 

Notably absent for Cal was high-impact transfer Liam Bell. Now a junior, Bell spent his first two seasons in Tuscaloosa, Alabama competing for the University of Alabama. While swimming for the Crimson Tide he broke out as a freshman in 2020, posting the sixth fastest 100 breast time in the NCAA before the cancellation of the 2020 NCAA’s. He qualified for NCAA’s as a sophomore as well, but ultimately elected not to compete.

Utah took three events on the day, starting early in the meet when sophomore Marko Kovacic won the 200 free in 1:38.73. That 200 free is a great early-season swim for the Bosnia and Herzegovina native, whose best time is only 1:38.32. Utah’s second event win came in the 500 free as sophomore Dylan Becker touched out Cal’s Tyler Kopp 4:41.31 to 4:41.40. Utah’s final event win came in the 100 fly, where fifth year senior Santi Contreras won in 49.19, out-touching Cal freshman Dare Rose by just .06. 

Other individual event winners: 

1000 free: Gabriel Jett (Cal) 9:35.14
50 free: Bjorn Seeliger (Cal) 20.82
100 free: Jack Alexy (Cal) 44.95
100 back: Colby Mefford (Cal) 1:48.40

Cal returns to the pool on November 5th when they host Stanford for their annual triple distance meet, while Utah will travel south to take on UNLV on November 6th. 

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