With top-10 seniors Andrew Seliskar and Michael Thomas, breastroker powerhouse freshman Reece Whitley, highly touted sprinter Ryan Hoffer and returning Pac-12 champion butterflyer junior Zheng Quah, the Cal Golden Bears are the favorites to win the conference.
But they didn’t win the first night.
After only two swims in Federal Way Wednesday evening, the Devils are already in first place.
ASU 187, Stanford 160.
The Sun Devils owe 125 of their team points to divers, junior Youssef Selim and graduate student David Hoffer, but the extra 62 came from the relays Wednesday.
In the traditional first race of the meet, the 200 medley relay, sophomore Zach Poti led the relay off with the third fastest backstroke split in the event (21.47). Freshmen Elijah Warren and Khalil Fonder followed on breaststroke and butterfly, while sophomore Evan Carlson toed the line to a sub-19 freestyle split with a lifetime best 19.04. The four underclassmen combined for a third-place finish, behind Cal and USC; ahead of Arizona and Stanford.
Familiar faces alongside new ones brought the 800 freestyle relay to a fourth-place finish. Sophomore Grant House dropped nearly a full second from his previous best with a 1:32.38 swim. The flash start time is two-tenths of a second from an NCAA ‘A’ cut in the 200 freestyle. Sophomore Carter Swift struck next, with a personal best of his own. Freshmen Tyler Zuyus and Ethan Luc finished the relay with–yes–more personal bests.
Both relays marked NCAA ‘A’ cut times, granting automatic berths to the NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas. The Sun Devils aren’t looking that far out though: Thursday brings more tests in the shapes of the 500 freestyle, 200 individual medley, 50 freestyle and the 200 freestyle relay.