March 6, 2013
FEDERAL WAY, WASH. -Behind senior Tom Shields' victory in the 200 fly (1:43.23) and several other strong performances, the Cal men's swimming and diving team has broken Stanford's 31-year streak of winning the conference team title as the Golden Bears captured the 2013 Pac-12 championship, 825-800, over the Cardinal Wednesday night (March 6). USC was third with 638.5 points and Arizona fourth at 483.
"I am proud of the way our men competed over the last three and a half days," said Cal coach David Durden. "It is amazing to think about a 31-year streak such as Stanford's and all of the great teams that they have held off over the years. I am glad that we were able to do this for our fans, alums, parents, and for Nort (Thornton)."
Cal, the defending 2011 and 2012 NCAA team champions, was the last school besides Stanford to win the conference team title, accomplishing the feat back in 1981 when Nort Thornton was the head coach. This season, the Bears are 7-0 in dual meets and are looking for a third straight national title at the 2013 NCAA championships, March 28-30 in Indianapolis.
Shields was named the 2013 Pac-12 Swimmer of the Meet after five first place finishes and a second place finish during the championship. He won individual Pac-12 titles in the 100 and 200 fly and the 100 back, and was a member of the Bears' 200 and 400 medley relays. In addition, he was a member of Cal's second place 800 free relay. The senior finished his career with a total of 16 Pac-12 titles.
Other top swims for the Bears on Wednesday were freshman Jacob Pebley placing second in the 200 back with an NCAA automatic time of 1:40.45, and freshman Josh Prenot finishing as the conference runner-up in the 200 breast with an NCAA automatic 1:53.63. Also in the 200 breast, senior Trevor Hoyt was third (1:53.76, NCAA automatic) and sophomore Christian Higgins was sixth (1:55.14).
Additional top finishers in the final night of conference competition, sophomore Will Hamilton was third behind Shields in the 200 fly (1:44.55), senior Austin Brown was sixth (1:45.33) and senior Ben Hinshaw was seventh (1:46.05). Sophomore Adam Hinshaw was fourth (15:10.76) and Prenot seventh (15:16.43) in the 1650 free, while sophomore Fabio Gimondi was seventh in the 100 free (43.44).
On Tuesday, Cal freshman standout Prenot set a Pac-12 meet record winning the 400 IM with a time of 3:41.82, and Shields captured conference titles in the 100 fly and the 100 back. The Bears also won Tuesday evening's final event, the 400 medley relay (3:06.09), behind the swims of Pebley, Hoyt, Shields and sophomore Seth Stubblefield. On Sunday night, Cal won the conference title in the 200 medley relay (1:24.42, junior Tony Cox, Hoyt, Shields, junior Shayne Fleming) for the sixth year in a row.