AUSTIN, Texas — California coach David Durden was confident his team would end up on top Saturday night, even though the Golden Bears trailed going into the last day of the NCAA men’s swimming and diving championships.
He was right.
Six points behind Texas entering the day, Cal regained the lead in the first event Saturday and extended it after nearly every event to win its third national title in four years.
Michigan’s Connor Jaeger successfully defended his title in the 1,650-yard freestyle in 14 minutes, 29.27 seconds, and the Golden Bears’ Jeremy Bagshaw was second to push Cal back ahead of the Longhorns by 11 points.
“I would have never thought we would’ve won this championship based on the performance of a Cal miler,” Durden said. “Jeremy Bagshaw set the tone going 14:39 and our guys followed suit.”
In the next event, freshman Ryan Murphy, who already contributed to four other victories this week, posted a time of 1:37.55 in the 200 backstroke, setting a NCAA championships record and giving Cal a 15-point lead.
“It’s been one of the best meets of my life,” said Murphy, who helped the Golden Bears win their fifth national title in program history. “I’ve never been an emotional swimmer, but this meet, in order to be successful, you have to swim with a lot of emotion.”
As they did the last time they hosted the championships in 2003, the Longhorns finished second with 417.5 points — 51 behind the champion Golden Bears. Florida (387 points) was third, with defending champ Michigan (310) and Georgia (259) rounding out the top five.
Top-10 finishes by a pair of Missouri competitors and a strong showing by its relay team propelled the Tigers to a program-best 95 points in the championships.
Missouri finished 16th overall, with a fourth-place finish by David Bonuchi in the platform dive and an eighth-place finish by Sam Tierney in the 200-yard breaststroke.
It was the fourth platform finals of Bonuchi’s career. The senior became a 10-time All-American at Missouri with his performance Saturday and a fourth-place finish in the 1-meter platform dive Thursday. Tierney placed fifth in the 100-yard breast Friday, as well.
The Tigers relay team of Tierney, Michael Chadwick, Logan Mosley and Andrew Sansoucie also earned honorable mention All-America honors with a ninth-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay and a 12th-place finish in the 400-yard medley relay.
Missourian staff contributed to this report.