AUSTIN, TEXAS - Bolstered by national titles in the 200 free and 400 medley relays, the Cal men's swimming team sits only point behind host Texas, 146-145, after the first day of the 2014 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships in Austin, Texas.
David Durden's Golden Bears, looking for their third NCAA team title in the last four years after winning crowns in 2011 and 2012, won the 200 free relay with a time of 1:15.27 behind the swims of sophomore Tyler Messerschmidt, freshman Ryan Murphy, senior Tony Cox and junior Seth Stubblefield.
After winning Day One's opening event, the 200 free relay, Cal captured the evening's final event, the 400 medley relay with a time of 3:02.66 from backstroker Murphy, junior breaststroker Chuck Katis, senior butterflyer Marcin Tarczynski and junior freestyler Stubblefield.
"To be honest with you, we just kind of put our heads down and just said,'you know what, we're not supposed to be here. We're not supposed to be in that final.' And we're just like 'you know what, let's go win it' and we just wanted to swim our race and just let everybody else catch up." said Messerschmidt on his mindset during the 200 free relay win.
Other top performances for the Bears were sophomore Josh Prenot placing fifth (1:41.97) and Murphy finishing eighth in the 200 IM. Stubblefield was fifth in the 50 free (18.09), while Cox was 11th (19.28) and Messerschmidt 12th (19.33) in the sprint free.
Additional Cal Quotes:
Ryan Murphy (California), 400 medley relay champion
On his first day: Before this meet people tell you that it’s a lot different than any other meet you’ve been to. Those expectations helped a lot because it is a lot different. It’s a lot more intense. It’s all guys so there’s a lot of testosterone going around. It’s very exciting and emotionally draining. Overall it’s a lot of fun.
On if emotion got the better of him in the 200 IM: Swimming the IM was kind of even more of a mental thing for me. I had a really good swim this morning. I was really excited to get into that top heat and tonight I just wasn’t really feeling it in the 200 IM, honestly. I think maybe getting so high after that 200 free relay did affect me a little bit in the 200 IM but I don't want to use that as an excuse.
On how he turned it around for the medley relay: Being on relays it’s really easy to get that emotional high, like I was talking about. It was easy to get up for 400 medley and obviously we did pretty good on that.
Seth Stubblefield (California), 400 medley relay champion
On his emotions today: Like Ryan (Murphy) said, we got to that high point, especially just walking out in prelims. Looking to your left and seeing all of the parents and fans and some of them dressed as (Cal) Bears up in the stands and then looking to your right and seeing all of these guys, my brothers, who I swim with, train with, live with, hang out with every single day. You can’t help but swim fast in that kind of environment. We’ve been talking about this all year…just not really worrying about what everyone else is doing and not worrying about outside factors but just kind of doing what we do every day.
On swimming in Austin (as a Texas native): This is the first time I’ve swam in a meet in Austin since high school state. It just brings back a lot of familiar memories. Walking around deck you see some of the guys you swam with at the state (championship) meet and then it’s kind of like you’re bringing your new brotherhood along with you. It’s really special. Just looking in the stands and seeing mom and dad and my sister and then a few other family members, it’s really close to home. I think familiarity is good and it definitely feels good to be back.