Twelfth-ranked Stanford men’s swimming and diving (5-2) wrapped up a solid regular season on Saturday with a 184.5-115.5 loss to its biggest rival, No. 7 Cal (7-0).
The Bears dominated both the relays and the long-distance events, winning 12 of the 16 events. Sophomore Long Gutierrez was particularly impressive for Cal, winning both the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events.
Despite the strong showing from Gutierrez, Stanford found the most success in the freestyle events, where the Cardinal’s sprinters outclassed their much-heralded Cal counterparts. Sophomore Jack Descombes won the 50 freestyle in a personal-best 20.15 seconds, touching the wall just ahead of Cal’s Dillon Williams. The Cardinal favored even better in the 100 freestyle, with senior Thomas Stephens and junior Tom Kremer both passing the Bears’ Seth Stubblefield on the second lap to take first and second place in 44.22 and 44.41, respectively.
The undefeated Bears started the meet off strong, winning the 200 medley relay by over a second and taking the top three spots in the 1,000 freestyle. Gutierrez then won the 200 freestyle, holding off a late charge from Stanford senior David Nolan to win by .01 seconds.
Cal started to pull away from Stanford during the breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly events, sweeping every race and often taking the top two or three spots. The backstroke events in particular were controlled by the Bears’ defending NCAA champion Ryan Murphy. Cal’s dominance in the non-freestyle events was punctuated by a few impressive performances by Stanford, namely Descombes’ second-place finish in the 100 butterfly and Nolan’s near-win in the 200 individual medley.
While Stanford fared poorly in the swimming events, senior Kristian Ipsen and the Cardinal divers did well to narrow Cal’s margin of victory. Ipsen and sophomore Bradley Christiansen took first and second in both the 3-meter and 1-meter diving events.
Stanford and Cal will both travel to Federal Way, Washington for the Pac-12 Championships. The divers will compete from Feb. 26-28 and the swimmers from March 4-7.
Contact Sanjay Srinivas at ssri16 ‘at’ stanford.edu.