Minakov, Polonsky help men’s swimming to wins over Harvard, Pacific

Men’s swim claims 10 first-place finishes

Jan. 15, 2022, 11:20 p.m.

Led by strong performances from 2020 Olympians, Stanford men’s swimming powered its way to two victories in its home-opener on Friday afternoon. 

In a rare double dual-meet, the Cardinal competed against both Harvard and University of the Pacific simultaneously. Setting the tone for the 2022 season, Stanford topped the Crimson, 162-127, and obliterated the Tigers, 166-33. 

Of the 16 total events, the Cardinal won 10, thanks in large part to redshirt freshman Andrei Minakov and freshman Ron Polonsky — both of whom competed in the Tokyo Olympics just seven months ago. 

Minakov won the 100-yard fly event in Avery Aquatic Center with a time of 46.33. The victory was largely expected, given that the Saint Petersberg-native is one of the fastest butterfly swimmers in the world; he placed fourth in the 100-meter fly in the most recent Olympic Games, representing the Russian Olympic Federation. Minakov also won the 50-yard free on Friday, clocking an impressive 19.56. 

Polonsky, who swam for Israel in the 2020 Olympics, also picked up two first place finishes in Avery, winning the 100-yard breastroke with a time of 54.29 and the 400-yard I.M. with a time of 3:50.36. Stanford dominated the medley event, sweeping the top four spots. Sophomore Rick Mihm took second, with graduate student Alex Liang and freshman Matt Fenlon close behind.

Graduate student Grant Shoults, the most senior member of the team, also won two events: the 1000-yard freestyle with a time of 9:03.21 (a season-best by 26 seconds) and the 500-yard free with a time of 4:23.78.

Junior Leon MacAlister has been dominating the backstroke this year, and his success continued as he won the 100-yard event with a time of 46.70. Sophomore Aaron Sequeira upset Harvard’s Gunner Grant to win the 200-yard back by 0.53 seconds. 

Stanford also claimed a one-two-three finish in the 200-yard breast, with senior Daniel Roy, sophomore Ethan Dang and senior Jon Cook all taking the top-three spots.

Despite strong performances in the freestyle events, Stanford largely struggled to compete against Harvard’s Dean Farris, who won the 200-yard and 100-yard events. The 24-year old won the 2019 NCAA Championships titles in the 100-yard backstroke and-100 yard freestyle.

Despite the distance from Cambridge, many Crimson fans filled the stands and cheered loudly during breaks.

In the longer of the two freestyle races, Cardinal swimmers (sophomore Luke Maurer, junior Neel Roy and junior Andrew Matekja) took the second, third and fourth spots, respectively, after Farris. Similarly, in the shorter event, Stanford also claimed second, third and fourth with solid performances from MacAlister, senior captain Mason Gonzalez and Maurer, who finished in that order.

On the diving side, senior Conor Casey won the 1-meter events. Freshman Jack Ryan was the Cardinal’s best performer in the 3-meter event, taking home second.

Next up, Stanford will face both Arizona schools in the coming week at home; ASU takes the pool on Friday at 2 p.m. PT, while the U of A will compete on Saturday at noon, giving the Cardinal little time to rest in between meets. 

Senior Daniel Roy claimed a first and second place finish on Friday. (Photo: THOMAS YIM/The Stanford Daily)
Although indoor sporting events at Stanford currently do not allow spectators, visitors are still permitted at outdoor events with additional health-related precautions. (Photo: THOMAS YIM/The Stanford Daily)
Sophomore Aaron Sequeira won the 200-yard backstroke event by 0.53 seconds. (Photo: THOMAS YIM/The Stanford Daily)
Stanford took home first in 63% of their races. (Photo: THOMAS YIM/The Stanford Daily)

Cybele Zhang '22 is a Senior Staff Writer and Desk Editor from Los Angeles. She is double majoring in English Literature with Honors and German Studies and previously served as Sports Editor — Vol. 255, 257 and 258.

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