Men’s swimming, ranked No. 13 in the nation, will head to the Pac-12 Championships, which will run from Wednesday through Saturday in Federal Way, Wash. The conference championships will offer some of the toughest competition in the country, as USC will have to take down No. 1 Cal and No. 5 Stanford to bring the title back to Los Angeles.
The diving team already competed during the men’s diving championships last weekend, which were held alongside the women’s Pac-12 Championships. Junior Dashiell Enos took home the 3-meter springboard title for the second year in a row, with freshman Henry Fusaro finishing close behind in second place. Enos won with a 428.35 score, and Fusaro followed him up with a score of 408.15. Both performances were personal bests, firmly outpacing Arizona State’s Heikki Makikallio, who finished in third with 372.50 points.
Enos also reached his first 1-meter final and took fourth on the platform, while freshman Nick Mamola finished eighth in his first conference final competition. Enos took home fourth place with a final score of 335.95, and Mamola finished with 291.20 points.
The Trojans finished second in last year’s conference championship after taking home the title in 2015 for the first time since 1979. USC has not had three consecutive top-two finishes in the Pac-12 since the mid-’70s, but it’s an accomplishment the Trojans could achieve with all of their 2016 Pac-12 swim champions still on the squad.
Senior co-captain Reed Malone will return in his final Pac-12 championship to defend his conference titles in the 200y and 500y freestyle, and fellow senior co-captain Steven Stumph will look to repeat in the 200y breaststroke and become the first Trojan to win the event three years in a row. Junior Ralf Tribunstov will also look to protect his 100y backstroke title, while sophomore Patrick Mulcare will race again in the 200y backstroke.
Sophomores Alex Valente and Carsten Vissering will also return to the pool after finishing second overall in the 100y butterfly and the 100y breaststroke, respectively, at last season’s championships. Vissering will enter this week’s competition as the top seed in the conference in the 100y breaststroke.
Redshirt junior Dylan Carter is also the top seed in the 200y freestyle, and the Trojans will enter the pool as top seeds in the 200y freestyle relay. The team will look to continue its dominance in the 100y freestyle event, which it has won three times in the past five years.
The Trojans boast a balanced team of seasoned upperclassmen including All-Americans such as Malone, Mulcare and Tribuntsov and 2016 Olympians such as Carter (Trinidad and Tobago) and redshirt junior
Santo Condorelli (Canada).
The championships will kick off at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center on Wednesday with the 200y medley and 800y freestyle relays. Thursday will feature the 500y freestyle, 200y individual medley, 50y freestyle sprint and 200y freestyle relay. Friday will be the longest day for the Trojans, with races in the 400y individual medley, 100y fly, 200y freestyle, 100y breaststroke, 100y backstroke and 400y medley relay.
The tournament will conclude on Saturday with the 1650y freestyle, 200y backstroke, 100y freestyle, 200y breaststroke, 200y butterfly and 400y freestyle relay.
These four days will be a test to see if the Trojans can compete among the best of the best in both the Pac-12 and the NCAA, setting the stage for the national championships in March.