No. 3 Cal Opens Pac-10 Season at ASU, Arizona

Jan. 21, 2003

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GOLDEN BEARS DUEL IN ARIZONA
The No. 3 University of California men's swimming team (2-0, 0-0), coming off a win at the Dallas Morning News Classic, heads to the desert to take on No. 13 Arizona State (1-2, 0-1) and No. 14 Arizona (0-2, 0-1). Named the Classic's Most Outstanding Swimmer last weekend, freshman Michael Cavic will lead the Golden Bears into the Pac-10 season. Cal opens league competition at ASU on Friday at 2 p.m., before heading to Tucson for Saturday's meet at Arizona at 1 p.m.

AGAINST SUN DEVILS & WILDCATS, BEARS DOMINATE IN THE DESERT
Cal swims well in sunny Arizona, holding significant records against both desert schools. Last year, the Bears also opened their Pac-10 slate against the Sun Devils and Wildcats, defeating Arizona State (162-130) and Arizona (130-95) in Berkeley. Cal holds an 18-3 all-time mark against Arizona and is 19-4 against ASU.

BEARS NOTCH SECOND CONSECUTIVE DMN CLASSIC TITLE
Cal won the Dallas Morning News Swimming & Diving Classic for the second consecutive year, amassing 352 points. Cavic, the Classic's Most Outstanding Swimmer, notched two individual titles, setting the pool record in the 50 free (19.85) and also winning the 100 fly (46.94). Cavic was also a part of Cal's three victorious relay teams. The Bears' won the 200 (1:20.96) and 400 free relays (2:57.64) and the 400 medley relay (3:12.10). Junior Alex Lim posted three wins, in the 100 (46.99) and 200 back (1:43.93) and 200 fly (1:45.96), while sophomore Duje Draganja won the 100 free (43.77) and was a member of Cal's three relay wins. Senior Joe Bruckart registered a runner-up finish in the 200 IM (1:50.12), while several other Bears posted wins in the consolation finals.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
The Bears and Sun Devils have met twice this year, most recently at the Dallas Morning News Classic, where ASU finished in fourth place (254 pts). Senior Christian Harcsas is the Sun Devils' top backstroker (100-48.42, 200-1:43.82) and also holds their top time in the 200 IM (1:50.30). Junior Nick Brunelli holds ASU's top times in the 100 (43.87) and 200 (1:36.55) free. Cal also competed against the Wildcats earlier this season, meeting both the Arizona and ASU teams at the Texas Invitational. The Bears placed second at that meet (637.50), while the Sun Devils were fifth (454.50 pts) and the Wildcats finished eighth with 196 points. Arizona's last dip in the water was at that meet. Junior Eric la Fleur is the Wildcat's top freestyler with season-best times in the 50 (20.56), 100 (44.21) and 200 free (1:39.42). Sophomore Chris Trimble is Arizona's best distance freestyler holding the season's top marks in the 500 (4:30.21), 1000 (9:27.26) and 1650 free (15:45.47) events.

DID YOU KNOW
Cal's squad is packed with one-two punches, as the team holds the two best 100 freestylers (1. Draganja, 2. Cavic) and 100 flyers (1. Lim, 2. Cavic) in the nation. The Bears also have three of the five top relays teams in the country, holding season-best marks in the 200 (1:19.60) and 400 free relays (2:52.86) and 200 medley relay (1:27.08). Cal's 400 medley relay ranks second with a time of 3:12.10.

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 202-79 (.719). The 2002 Bears 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.

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