Strong efforts in the three freestyle events headlined USC’s efforts at the second day of the Pac-12 championships at the East Los Angeles Swim Center in Monterey Park, Calif., on Thursday.
USC, which earned a title in the 50-yard freestyle for the first time in 16 years and barely missed titles in the 500-yard free and 200-yard free, currently sits in fourth place after the second day with 169 points. Stanford continues its chase for its 31st straight conference team championship, leading the pack with 324.5 points, followed by California with 257 points and Arizona with 181. USC is followed by Utah (114), Arizona State (108), UC Santa Barbara (107.5) and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo(67).
Sophomore Vladimir Morozov was able to bounce back from a second-place finish to current California senior Nathan Adrian in the 50-yard freestyle in last year’s conference championships, earning the top qualifier in prelims (19.46) and beating out Stanford junior Aaron Wayne by .07 seconds (19.48 to 19.55), to win USC’s first 50-yard freestyle conference title since 1996. Morozov’s win also extends USC’s current streak of 16-straight years with at least one conference title.
Senior Jeff Daniels also earned a second swim in the race, winning the “C” final in 19.82, which would have earned him a spot in the “A” final in prelims and placed fourth in the final.
The team of Morozov, sophomore Dimitri Colupaev, sophomore Jack Wagner and Daniels almost ended USC’s drought in the 200-yard freestyle. The Trojans were .04 seconds from winning their first title in the event since 1996, finishing just behind Stanford’s 1:17.92 with a time of 1:17.96.
Morozov led the event with a season-best 19.27, and Daniels passed California on the final leg to move the Trojans up from third to second. Cal finished in 1:18.13.
The 500-yard final proved to be a tight four-man race between Quintero, Bobrosky and Stanford’s Chad La Tourette and David Mosko. Mosko led the event after 300 yards and was overcome by teammate La Tourette after 350, with Bobrosky sitting in third. Bobrosky jumped up to second at 400 yards and remained there at 450, while Quintero moved up to third. La Tourette was able to maintain his lead over the past 150 yards, winning the event in 4:17.38. Quintero’s second-place finish of 4:17.83 earned USC’s best time in the event this year and an NCAA “B” cut. Bobrosky dropped to fifth (4:19.93), falling behind Mosko (4:18.00) and Stanford’s Bryan Offutt (4:18.77).
USC senior Julian Bonse and sophomore Nick Johnson both earned personal records in the event, finishing 11th (4:21.27) and 15th (4:25.63), respectively. Bonse’s time was also an NCAA “B” cut.
In the 200-yard individual medley prelims, junior Alex Lendrum fell .54 short of qualifying for the final. Lendrum, one of the top seeds in the event, took second in the consolation final with a time of 1:46.73 (10th overall). Sophomore Sean Mulroy made his postseason scoring debut with a PR of 1:48.66 and a 16th-place finish, while Wagner and junior Justin DiFederico finished 20th (1:49.25) and 24th (1.51.73), respectively.
The Pac-12 championships continue Friday and Saturday, with prelims starting at 11 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m. on both days.