By Tadzio Garcia
Stanford University won its 31st straight title at the 2012 Pac-12 Men’s Swimming Championships held at East Los Angeles College, Feb. 29 through March 3.
No. 3-ranked Stanford overcame upset bids by defending national champion Cal, which placed second and the University of Arizona, the top-ranked team in the country, which placed third.
“We came to swim our fastest times that would qualify for the NCAA Championships. Our points are a result of our fast times,” said associate head coach Ted Knapp, coaching his 28th season for Stanford.
The ELAC pool, of national acclaim, was once a frequent host of the Pac-12 finals. American records have been set in the pool, such as the five in 1979 by three-time Olympic gold medalist Tracy Caulkins.
“Last weekend was a huge success. The ELAC Swim Stadium was the premiere venue for national level meets in the past. With the 2012 Pac-12 Championships held here, the facility was back to showcasing some of the fastest swimming in the world. It was a great opportunity for ELAC and the community as a whole,” said Erik Matheson, first-year head coach of the ELAC women’s swimming and diving team.
Stanford won 9 of 18 championship events with freshman Dave Nolan winning a total of six, three of them individual titles. As a result, Nolan was awarded the 2012 Pac-12 Swimmer of the Meet.
Cal won four Pac-12 titles. Junior Tom Shields, the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and the 2011 Pac-10 Swimmer of the Meet, added two butterfly titles (100, 200) for the Golden Bears.
The University of Southern California won three freestyle titles in sophomores Dimitri Colupaev and Vladimir Morozov. Morozov is the first Trojan to win the 50 and 100 free in a championship conference meet since two-time Olympic medalist Joe Bottom’s wins in 1977.
Colupaev’s 200 win was the third straight year the Trojans won this event, a feat they also achieved from 1997-1999.
The final men’s Pac-12 Championship standings, including national rankings in parenthesis, are:
1. (3) Stanford, 939.5 points
2. (6) California, 808
3. (1) Arizona, 543
4. (5) USC, 517
5. Utah, 258.5
6. UC Santa Barbara, 251.5
7. Arizona State, 221
8. Cal Poly SLO, 120