2001-02 Cal Men's Swimming Outlook
Dec. 6, 2001
BERKELEY, CA - As is the case, pretty much year in and year out, the California men's swim team will again feature a talented core of returners and a solid group of newcomers. The 2001-02 edition of the Golden Bears will again have the services of one of the world's elite sprinters, junior Anthony Ervin, who was the world champion in both the 50 and 100-meter freestyle this summer at the World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. Cal also has five more returning All-Americans - senior Matt Macedo, senior Peter Aronsson, senior Maciej Burny, junior Frank Uxa and sophomore Alex Lim - to boost its squad. The Bears return juniors Joe Bruckart, Trent Holsman and Daniel Kim, who were members of Cal's 2001 NCAA squad, as well.
In addition, head coach Nort Thornton and co-head coach Mike Bottom brought in some impressive newcomers - senior Mattias Ohlin from LSU and standout freshman sprinter Duje Draganja from Split, Croatia - to name a few.
It all adds up to the Bears being competitive in 2001-02.
'We have a strong nucleus of swimmers, but the Pac-10 and the rest of the nation is loaded,' said Thornton. 'As a team we might be better than we were last year, but the dual meet competition is going to be tough. We are just going to work towards swimming our best at the end of the season and give ourselves a boost going into the Pac-10 and NCAA Championships.'
Cal's strength again this season should be the sprints and the breaststroke. The Bears are also counting on utilizing their relay teams to earn points at the season-ending championships.
Obviously, Cal will be led in the sprint freestyle by Ervin, who won the gold medal in the 50-meter free at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. He is the school record-holder in the 50 free with a time of 19.11, winning the 2001 Pac-10 title and surpassing Cal legend Matt Biondi's time of 19.15 set in 1987. Ervin also tied Biondi's school record time of 41.80 in the 100 free when he repeated as the NCAA 100 free champion in 2001. He is a member of school record-setting 200 medley, 200 free and 400 free relays as well. Ervin even has Cal's third-best all-time mark in the 100 back (47.74).
Senior Matt Macedo has been a solid contributor for the Bears ever since his freshman year. Macedo earned All-America honors five times last season, swimming lead-off legs on Cal's 400 free relay that placed second, 200 free relay that placed fourth and the backstroke legs of the 200 and 400 medley relays that placed sixth at the NCAA Championships. Individually, he finished eighth in the 100 free. Macedo is a member of the Bears all-time Top 10 list in four different individual events - the 50 free (fourth), the 100 free (fourth), 100 back (fourth) and the 200 back (fifth). He is a member of three school record-setting relays (200 medley, 200 free, 400 free) as well.
Senior Peter Aronsson earned All-America honors last season, swimming the breaststroke leg on Cal's 200 and 400 medley relays. Individually, Aronsson has the school's fifth-best all-time mark in the 100 breast and ninth-best time in the 200 breast. He is also a member of the Bears school record-setting 200 medley relay. Senior Maciej Burny had his best season of his career in 2001, swimming the second leg on Cal's 400 free relay that was the national runner-up. Burny has the school's ninth-best time in the 100 free.
Junior Frank Uxa, like Burny, also had his best collegiate season last year. Uxa swam the second leg of the Bears 200 free relay that placed fourth at the NCAA Championships. Sophomore backstroker/butterflyer Alex Lim was extremely impressive last season as a true freshman. Lim swam the butterfly leg of Cal's 200 and 400 medley relays that placed sixth at the NCAA meet. Individually, he has the school's second-best all-time mark in the 100 back, third-best mark in the 200 back and sixth-best mark in the 100 fly.
Juniors Joe Bruckart, Trent Holsman and Daniel Kim should all contribute again to the Bears success. Bruckart owns the school's seventh-best all-time mark in the 200 fly and has Cal's ninth-best times in the 200 free and 200 IM. Holsman qualified for the NCAAs last season in the 100 and 200 free, while Kim has the school's fourth-best time in the 100 breast and seventh-best time in the 200 breast.
Two more Bear returners, senior Hiro Sakoda and sophomore Jeff Natalizio, are on the Cal all-time Top 10 list and will be key contributors. Sakoda has the school's 10th-best time in the 200 fly and Natalizio has the school's 10th-best mark in the 200 back.
Senior Mattias Ohlin is a pleasant addition to the Bears, transferring from LSU. A member of the Swedish National Team, Ohlin was an All-American and team MVP for the Tigers in 1999, placing sixth at the '99 NCAA Championships in the 100 fly. True freshmen Duje Draganja, John Dorr, Caleb Rowe and Brooks Jenkins should also play key roles for Cal. Draganja has been extremely impressive in the 50 and 100 free for the Bears in early season competition and should also contribute in the relays. Dorr is a top freestyler and IMer as well, and Rowe could be an immediate contributor in the breaststroke. Jenkins is projected to help in the IM, breaststroke and distance free events.
The following is an event-by-event look at the 2001-02 California men's swimming and diving team.
FREESTYLEThe Bears have an exceptionally strong sprint freestyle group, led by one of the world's top freestylers Anthony Ervin, who not only is the defending NCAA champion in the 100 free, but tied Gary Hall, Jr. for the 2000 Olympic gold medal in the 50-meter free. This past summer, Ervin was the world champion in the 50 and 100-meter free at the World Championships in Japan.
Besides Ervin, Cal also returns two more members of the 2001 NCAA runner-up 400 free relay team, seniors Matt Macedo and Maciej Burny. Individually, Macedo was eighth at the 2001 NCAA Championship in the 100 free and has bests of 19.63 in the 50 free and 42.99 in the 100 free. Burny has the school's ninth-best all-time mark in the 100 free with a time of 43.91.
Other Bear sprinters who should contribute are juniors Trent Holsman and Frank Uxa, and freshman Duje Draganja, who have all swam well for Cal in early season competition. Holsman has a best of 20.34 in the 50 free and qualified for the NCAAs last season in the 100 free and 200 free with times of 44.44 and and 1:38.17, respectively. Uxa was a member of the Bears 200 free relay (second leg) that placed fourth at the 2001 NCAA meet. Draganja has been impressive as a Cal newcomer, already posting bests of 20.24 in the 50 free and 44.43 in the 100 free.
In the middle distance freestyle, the Bears will feature junior Joe Bruckart and Burny. Bruckart qualified for the 2001 NCAA Championships in the 200 free and has the school's ninth-best all-time mark in the 200 free with a time 1:36.37. Burny is also strong in the 200 free with a best of 1:36.79.
The distance freestyle events will be covered by seniors George Wilkinson and Sean Gruver, and freshmen John Dorr and Matt Schmelzer. Wilkinson has a best of 15:22.26 in the 1650 free, while Gruver has bests of 1:38.85 in the 200 free and 4:31.19 in the 500 free. Dorr has a high school best of 4:25.98 in the 500 free.
BUTTERFLYIn the 100 fly, Cal features sophomore Alex Lim, who has the school's third-best all-time mark with a time of 47.43 and swam the butterfly leg of the Bears 200 and 400 medley relays that placed sixth at the 2001 NCAA Championships.
Anther top 100-yard butterflyer for Cal will be senior transfer Mattias Ohlin. Ohlin was a standout for LSU in 1999, placing sixth at the NCAA Championships in the 100 fly with a best time of 47.17, which would be the second-best all-time Cal mark.
In the 200 fly, Cal will be led by junior Joe Bruckart and senior Hiro Sakoda. Bruckart qualified for the 2001 NCAA meet in the 200 fly and has a best of 1:46.39, the seventh-best all-time Cal mark. Sakoda has a best of 1:46.96 in the 200 fly, the 10th-best all-time Cal mark.
BACKSTROKEThe Bears backstroking corps will feature sophomore Alex Lim and seniors Mattias Ohlin and Matt Macedo. Lim has career-bests of 47.52 in the 100 back, the second-best all-time Cal mark, and 1:43.43, third-best all-time Cal mark. Ohlin has a best of 1:45.47 in the 200 back while at LSU, which would be seventh-best on the Bears all-time list. Macedo has the school's fourth-best all-time best mark in the 100 back (47.98) and fifth-best all-time mark in the 200 back (1:44.66). He swam the backstroke leg on Cal's 200 and 400 medley relays that placed sixth at the 2001 NCAA Championships.
The other top Cal backstrokers include sophomore Jeff Natalizio and senior Bruce Vogelgesang. Natalizio has a best of 1:46.49 in the 200 back, the 10th-best all-time Bear mark, while Vogelgesang has bests of 50.20 in the 100 and 1:47.67 in the 200 back. Junior Anthony Ervin is also a talented backstroker, owning the school's third-best all-time mark in the 100 back (47.74).
BREASTSTROKEThe Bears feature a strong breaststroking crew in junior Daniel Kim and seniors Peter Aronsson and Andrew Chan. Kim has a best of 54.29 in the 100 breast, the school's fourth-best all-time mark. He also has a best of 1:58.28 in the 200 breast, the seventh-best all-time Bear mark. Aronsson owns the school's fifth-best all-time mark in the 100 breast (54.52) and ninth-best time in the 200 breast (1:58.69). He swam the breaststroke leg of Cal's 200 and 400 medley relays that placed sixth at the 2001 NCAA meet. Chan is the owner of Cal's third-best all-time mark in the 100 breast (54.25) and sixth-best in the 200 breast (1:58.13).
Additional breaststrokers for Cal will be senior Bayani Flores and freshman Caleb Rowe. Flores has bests of 55.70 in the 100 breast and 2:00.39 in the 200 breast. Rowe has performed well in early season meets for the Bears, swimming a time of 2:02.22 and placing fifth in the 200 breast at the Texas Invitational.
Bruckart is Cal's top returning IMer, qualifying for the 2001 NCAAs in the 200 IM and has a best of 1:47.44 (ninth-best all-time Cal mark). He also has a best of 4:05.17 in the 400 IM. Aronsson qualified for the 2001 NCAAs in the 200 IM as well, and has a best of 1:48.53. Vogelgesang has a best of 4:07.02 in the 400 IM.
Jenkins, who is also an outstanding water polo player, has a best 1:52.22 in the 200 IM, while Dorr has a high school best of 1:50.17 in the 200 IM.
DIVINGThe Bears 2001-02 diving team will consist of junior Nicolas Bartolotta, sophomores Robbie Quinn and Ryan Southwick, and freshmen Noah Chutz, Nathaniel Dean and Richard Rech. Both Bartolotta and Quinn competed in the Zone E Championships last season, with Bartolotta's best finish being seventh in the one-meter competition (289.35) and Quinn's best finish being 12th in the one-meter (259.25) competition. At the Pac-10 Championships, Bartolotta's best place finish was eighth in the one-meter competition (283.10) and Quinn was fifth in the one-meter competition (296.30).
Dean is the Bears top freshman diver, placing a team-best eighth during the Texas Invitational platform competition (368.40), and was 11th in the one-meter competition (254.00) and 13th in the three-meter competition (413.30) at the Texas Invite.