Cal Competes in Pacific Invitational This Weekend
Oct. 22, 2002
BEARS TRAVEL TO STOCKTON TO TAKE ON SEVERAL TEAMS: The Cal men's swimming and diving team (1-0) travels to Stockton, Calif. to participate in the Pacific Invitational, Oct. 25-26. Several teams will compete in the meet, but the Golden Bears will only be scored against the host Pacific, Brigham Young and Stanford. Last season, Cal placed second at the Invitational, and looks to dethrone rival Stanford as the Cardinal took first place a year ago.
LAST COMPETITION: The University of California's men's swimming team (1-0) opened the 2002-03 season with a 163-91 win over Pacific in a dual meet at Spieker Aquatics Complex. The Golden Bears captured every event, with freshmen Mike Cavic, Ryan Lean and Jens Thiele victorious in two events apiece. Cavic won the 50-yard freestyle (20.53) and 100-yard butterfly (49.68), while Lean notched wins in the 500 free (4:32.91) and 1000 free (9:20.16) and Thiele won the 100-yard backstroke (48.75) and 100 free (45.48). Other winners for the Bears included seniors Joe Bruckart in the 200 free (1:40.37) and Quentin Byma in the 100-yard breaststroke (56.05), juniors Jeff Natalizio in the 200 back (1:50.90) and Keith Vogelgesang in the 200 fly (1:52.17), and sophomores Caleb Rowe in the 200 breast (2:03.41) and John Dorr in the 400-yard individual medley (3:59.85). The team also won both the 200-yard medley relay (1:34.13) and 200-yard freestyle relay (1:22.83).
2001-02 REVIEW: Anchored by 2000 Olympic gold medallist Anthony Ervin, Cal finished the regular season with a 6-2 overall record and 3-1 mark against Pac-10 competition. Eight Bears earned All-American status, including 2002-03 returners, Ervin, Bruckart, Duje Draganja, and Alex Lim. Cal finished sixth at the 2002 NCAA Championships, led by Ervin's national titles in the 100 free (41.62) and the Bears' 400 free relay victory (2:50.01). Ervin won the 100 free NCAA title for the third consecutive year (it was the 100-meter free in 2000) and broke his own NCAA, American and U.S. Open records he had shared with former Bear Matt Biondi. Draganja, was the national runner-up in the 100 free with a time of 42.22. Other impressive showings at the championships included Lim's runner-up finish in the 100 back (46.05) and Ervin's second-place finish in the 50 free (19.10). At the Pac-10 Championships, the Bears squad finished second with 708.5 points to Stanford's 918. The team won an individual title-Draganja's victory in the 100 free (42.82)-and the 400 free relay title, as the team of Mattias Ohlin, Draganja, Macedo and Ervin turned in a 2:51.08 performance. Cal also had runner-up finishes in the 50 free (Ervin, 19.43), 400 medley relay (3:09.92), 200 medley relay (1:27.43) and 100 and 200 breast (Bayani Flores, 54.82 and 1:58.61, respectively).
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS: Cal has a 60-6 dual meet record versus Pacific, including a win over the Tigers to open this season. The Tigers claimed the Big West Conference title in 2002, the victory breaking a 23-year reign in the Big West for UC Santa Barbara and giving Pacific its first title in men's swimming since 1974. The Tiger squad clinched the championships with five wins in the final five events they competed in. Following the meet, senior Filip Wronski was named the Big West Swimmer of the Year. Stanford was last season's national runner-up, edged by Texas who scored 512 points to the Cardinal's 501 points, marking the second-closest NCAAs since the 16-place scoring system was introduced in 1984. Junior Markus Rogan finished second in the individual high points standings with 55 and won the 200 IM and 200 back titles. Stanford won its 21st consecutive Pac-10 Conference championship and head coach Skip Kenney earned his 14th career Pac-10 Coach of the Year honor. The Bears hold a 4-0 dual meet record against Brigham Young. Last season, BYU its third consecutive Mountain West Conference title and placed 23rd at the NCAA Championships. The squad only lost one senior from last year and returns 18 letterman. Of those returning, eight were All-Conference performers.
HEAD COACH NORT THORNTON: Nort Thornton, the 1999 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, is in his 29th season as the skipper of the Cal men's swimming team. Thornton, the dean of Pac-10 swimming coaches, sports a career dual meet record of 201-79 (.718) with the Golden Bears and his 2002 squad finished sixth at the NCAA Championships. Thornton led Cal to back-to-back NCAA titles in 1979 and 1980, and his teams have finished in the Top 10 nationally 23 of the 28 years he has directed the Bears.