Cal outscored Texas 136 to 115 on the final day of the NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships on Saturday at Greensboro, North Carolina, but could not overcome the Longhorns’ substantial lead and settled for second place.
The Bears added two more victories on the final day of the four-day event, with Ryan Hoffer winning the 100-yard freestyle for his third individual title and Cal taking the 400 freestyle relay to close the meet.
Cal finished in the top two at the nationals for the 11th straight time but could not defend the title it won in 2019. The 2020 meet was canceled due to the pandemic.
Texas, which took a 42-point lead into Saturday’s action, won with 595 points to 568 for the Bears. Florida was third, well back with 367 points, and Georgia was fourth at 268. No Pac-12 team, other than Cal, finished among the top 12.
The Bears’ 568 points were the most ever by a runner-up at the national meet, surpassing Stanford’s 501 from the 2002 championships, and were more than Cal scored in its 2019 title (560).
Hoffer, a senior from Scottsdale, Arizona, racked up five victories at the meet, including the 50 free and 100 butterfly, and as a member of the Bears’ 200 and 400 free relay teams.
He won the 100 free in a pool-record time of 40.89 seconds, a full 7/10ths of a second ahead of runner-up Drew Kibler of Texas. Hoffer's time in both the morning prelims and the final eclipsed Cal's school record of 41.08, set 12 years ago by Nathan Adrian.
Hoffer teammed with Bjorn Seeliger, Destin Lasco and Hugo Gonzalez to win the 400 free relay in 2:46.60, topping runner-up Florida. Hoffer’s relay split time of 40.86 was actually a hair faster than his winning time in the 100 free.
Hoffer became just the third Bear with three individual victories in one NCAA meet, joining Andrew Seliskar in 2019 (200 IM, 200 free, 200 breast) and Matt Biondi in 1987 (50, 100, 200 free).
The Bears made a big move on the Longhorns in the day’s second event, the 200 backstroke, with Lasco, Bryce Mefford and Daniel Carr taking second, third and fourth place for 48 points.
Seeliger also finished fourth in the 100 free while Reece Whitley and Gonzalez were second and third in the 200 breast.
Cal came to North Carolina having won its fourth straight Pac-12 Championships during which the Bears captured 17 of 18 events.
Cover photo of Ryan Hoffer courtesy of the NCAA
Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo