Wildcats third at Pac-12 men’s swimming

MONTEREY PARK, Calif. — Stanford claimed its 31st consecutive conference title in men’s swimming, claiming the Pac-12 Championship on Saturday at East Los Angeles College. The Cardinal finished with 939.5 points, followed by California (808) and Arizona (543). Arizona State finished seventh with 221.5 points.

Stanford’s David Nolan was voted Swimmer of the Meet after claiming six conference titles and putting up five automatic NCAA qualifying times over the last four days.

Stanford senior Chad La Tourette claimed his fourth consecutive 1650 freestyle title with an automatic NCAA qualifying time of 14:41.90. La Tourette is the second athlete in Conference history to win this event all four years. Arizona’s Ryk Neethling was the first to accomplish this feat (1997-2000). USC freshman Cristian Quintero was second at 14:55.58 and Cal freshman Adam Hinshaw placed third with 14:55.68.

Stanford freshman David Nolan won the 200 backstroke with an automatic NCAA qualifying time of 1:40.70. Arizona senior Cory Chitwood took second with an automatic NCAA qualifying time of 1:41.44 and Stanford junior Matthew Swanston was third at 1:42.23

USC sophomore Vlad Morozov placed first in the 100 freestyle with an automatic NCAA qualifying time of 41.86. Stanford junior Aaron Wayne came in second at 42.77 and UC Santa Barbara senior Chris Peterson was third at 43.27.

Arizona junior Carl Mickelson won the 200 breaststroke with an automatic NCAA qualifying time of 1:53.12. Cal freshman Christian Higgins was second with a time of 1:54.57 and Cal junior Trevor Hoyt rounded out the top three at 1:55.15. Mickelson won the 100 breaststroke earlier in the meet.

“Carl was one of the highlights of the meet,” Arizona head coach Eric Hansen said. “Cory (Chitwood) and Adam Small also stepped up for us throughout the week.

“I think our performance was pretty predictable with what we were willing to invest in this meet,” Hansen said. “We battled hard and I think it was really important for our preparation for NCAAs. I really believe we are on track to do what we have worked for all season.”

Cal swept the 200 butterfly, with junior Tom Shields repeating as champion of the event with an automatic NCAA qualifying time of 1:41.87. Shields is the current NCAA record holder, posting a time of 1:40.31 at the 2011 Pac-10 Championships. Freshman Will Hamilton was second with an automatic NCAA qualifying time of 1:42.84 and junior Austin Brown came in third at 1:43.70.

The Golden Bears won the 400 freestyle relay in 2:51.45, swimming the fastest time in the nation this year. USC came in second at 2:51.70, the third-fastest time in the nation this year, and Stanford placed third at 2:52.28.

Next up is the NCAA Championships, March 22-24 in Federal Way, Wash.