No. 4 Cal To NCAA Championships
March 22, 2004
Date Thursday-Saturday, Mar. 25-27, 2004Place Long Island, NYTime All Day
NATIONAL TITLE WITHIN REACH
Cal enters the premier event in college swimming ranked No. 4 in the country and fresh off a second-place finish at the Pac-10 Championships. This could be the Bears' year as they are top-ranked in both the 400 free relay and the 400 medley relay. Further, they feature individual title-contenders in junior Duje Draganja, senior Alex Lim, and sophomore Milorad Cavic, as well as several competitive point-scorers. Cal is looking for its first national championship since 1980, when Cal came off back-to-back national championship seasons. The team has finished in the Top 10 in 24 of the last 29 seasons, but that No. 1 spot has eluded the Golden Bears the last 24 years.
The NCAA Championships will be held at the Goodwill Games Aquatic Center in East Meadow, N.Y. For ticket information, call (516) 572-0509 or (516) 572-0508. The meet will be swum in short course meters.
LAST TIME AROUND
At last year's NCAA Championships in Austin, Tex., the Bears came in fourth (329 points) behind No. 1 Auburn (609.5), No. 2 Texas (413), and No. 3 Stanford (379). Cal took home the NCAA title in the 400 yard freestyle relay (2:48.99 - current junior Duje Draganja, current sophomore Milorad Cavic, then-senior Joe Bruckhart, then-senior Anthony Ervin), setting a new NCAA and U.S. Open record. Draganja also won the 100 freestyle crown (42.02) and finished third in the 100 butterfly. Cavic finished second in the 50 freestyle and third in the 100 butterfly. Current-senior Alex Lim finished third in the 100 backstroke and sixth in the 200 backstroke. Cal also posted Top-5 finishes in the 200 freestyle relay, the 200 medley relay, and the 400 medley relay.
GAGNET TO COMPETE AT NCAA DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
With his solid performance at the NCAA Zone E Diving Regionals, junior Louie Gagnet earned a place at nationals where he can earn points for the Bears. Gagnet finished second in the platform dive (481.75), fifth in the three meter dive (485.45), and sixth in the one meter dive (597.15) at the event held March11-13 in Oklahoma City, O.K.
THE GOLDEN BEARS
Thirteen Bears have been invited to compete at NCAA Championships:
Junior Duje Draganja enters the top seed in the 50 meter freestyle and 100 freestyle and the third seed in the 100 butterfly. He left the Pac-10 Championships with two individual titles. He set a Pac-10 meet record in the 100 yard freestyle (41.96), breaking the 42 second barrier that has only been crossed by two others in world history, Golden Bears Anthony Ervin and Matt Biondi. He also won the 50 freestyle (19.17), the quickest 50 free swum in the country this year.
Sophomore Milorad Cavic won the 100 yard butterfly at Pac-10 Championships, setting a new school and Pac-10 record with his 45.44 time. He is the world record holder in the 100 short course meter butterfly (50.02). He is the second seed in the 100 butterfly, the seventh seed in the 50 freestyle and the ninth seed in the 100 freestyle contest.Senior co-captain Alex Lim is seeded second in both the 100 backstroke and the 200 backstroke, where he set a new school record this season (1:41.27). He is the 31st seed in the 100 butterfly.
Versatile senior co-captain Jeff Natalizio has qualified in three different events, seeded eighth in the 200 IM, 11th in the 100 backstroke, and 15th in the 200 backstrokeOther competitors incude senior Renato Gueraldi in the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle, juniors John Dorr in the 400 IM and 200 IM and Caleb Rowe in the 100 breast, 200 breast and 200 IM, sophomores Ricky Barbosa in the 100 breast and 200 breast and Miguel Molina in the 400 IM, the 200 freestyle and the 200 IM, and freshmen Rolandas Gimbutis in the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle, Jonas Tilly in the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and the 100 butterfly, Daniel Lysaught in the 400 freestyle and 1500 freestyle, and Patrick O'Neil who will take on the 100 butterfly and 200 butterfly.
Cal finished second (773 points) at the Pac-10 Championships, held March 3-6, 2004 at Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach, Calif. The Golden Bears dominated the relays, winning the 200 medley, 200 freestyle, and 400 medley, and 400 freestyle, and picked up three individual titles. Cal set a new Pac-10 and school record in the 200 medley relay at 1:25.16 (Senior Alex Lim, junior Caleb Rowe, sophomore Milorad Cavic, and junior Duje Draganja). The 400 medley relay team (Lim, sophomore Ricky Barbosa, Cavic, and Draganja) set a new meet record with a time of 3:07.31. Draganja, Cavic, senior Renato Gueraldi, and freshman Jonas Tilly won the 200 freestyle relay in 1:17.23. The 400 free relay team consisiting of freshman Rolandas Gimbutis, Tilly, Cavic, and Draganja won the event in 2:52.75. Draganja broke the Pac-10 meet record in the 100 freestyle , winning in 41.96. He also won the 50 freestyle in 19.17. Cavic broke the old school, Pac-10, and meet records to win the 100 butterfly (45.44) for the second year in a row.
2004 MEET-BY-MEET RECAP
The California Golden Bears never moved from their perch at No. 4 in the rankings this season.
Fall: The Bears started their season with a couple wins over Pacific (150-102) and Hawaii (184-111). They added a first-place finish at the Pacific Invitational and more non-scoring meets at the Texas Invitational and the Snowball Invitational, hosted by Michigan in Colorado, before jumping into the meat of the season in 2004. At the Snowball Invitational vs. Michigan in Colorado Springs, Colo., Jan. 3, Cal had 11 event winners to Michigan's seven.
Over the December break, sophomore Milorad Cavic broke the world record for the 100-meter butterfly Dec. 12, 2003, at the European Short Course Swimming Championships. His time of 50.02 seconds bettered the record by 0.08 seconds. The previous record was set in January 2002 by German Thomas Rupprath, who came in second to Cavic at the Championships in December. Cavic was swimming for his parent's homeland of Serbia. Halfway around the world, Cavic's teammates, senior Alex Lim, sophomore Miguel Molina, and alumni Nuk Sirisanont won 16 medals at the South East Asian Games held in Hanoi, Vietnam, in December. Lim, swimming for Malaysia, was a triple-gold medalist in the 100-meter fly (where he set a SEA Games record 2:03.54), the 100-meter back, and the 200-meter back. Molina, swimming for the Philippines, won a gold in the 200-meter free.
Jan. 23: Win over Arizona, 169-118. Cal finished first in 11 of 12 individual events and seized first and second in the 400 medley relay with the A team (Lim, sophomore Ricky Barbosa, Cavic, and junior Duje Draganja), finishing in 3:39.45. The B team took second with a 3:40.81 time (senior Jeff Natalizio, junior Caleb Rowe, freshman Patrick O'Neil, and freshman Jonas Tilly). Lim dominated the backstroke, claiming the 100 (55.44) and the 200 (1:57.64). Rowe won both breaststroke events, the 100 (1:02.55) and the 200 (2:14.83). Freshman Daniel Lysaught took both the 800 freestyle (8:00.35) and the 400 freestyle (3:54.02). Cavic finished first in the 50 free (21.90) and the 100 butterfly (52.24).
Jan. 24: Win over Arizona State, 166-128. At the meet, seniors produced strong performances in their final home meet: Natalizio won the 100 breaststroke (1:03.10) and the 200 breaststroke (2:14.46); Lim finished first in both the 100 backstroke (54.88) and 200 backstroke (1:56.99); Rehrmann claimed second (8:24.94) to fellow Golden Bear sophomore Ryan Lean (8:11.64) in the 800 freestyle; Gueraldi finished second (22.21) in the 50 freestyle to Draganja (21.87). California swept the 100 freestyle with a top finish by Draganja (48.18), second-place showing by freshman Rolandas Gimbutis (49.55), and a third-place finish by Tilly (49.73). Other individual event winners included Cavic in the 200 butterfly (1:57.79). In all, Golden Bears took first place in ten of eleven individual events. In the relays, Cal split with Arizona State. In the 200 medley relay, Cal's A team (Lim, Rowe, Cavic, Draganja) and B team (Natalizio, Barbosa, Tilly, Gimbutis) seized first (1:39.04) and second (1:39.50), respectively.
Feb. 5 at Cal State Bakersfield: In a non-scoring meet, Lim turned in the fastest time in NCAA Division I that far into the season in the 200-yard backstroke with a 1:41.77 time. That beat his own school record of 1:43.30. Lim also won the 50-yard backstoke (23.89) although he fell to teammate and Gibson (52.22) in the 100-yard backstroke (Lim came in fourth at 52.85). Cal won 17 of 22 events in the triathlon, which involved all swimmers competing in three events of the same stroke and was swum in short course yards. Natalizio was a true triathlete, dominating the breaststroke where he won the 50-yard (26.72), 100-yard (56.70) and 200-yard (2:00.60) events. Other triathlete winners included freshman Renato Gueraldi for the butterfly and Barbosa in the individual medley.
Feb. 6: Win over USC 152-89: No. 4 Cal dominated No. 11 USC in Los Angeles. Cal won both relays, six of eight individual events, and split the diving boards. In the 400m medley relay, both Cal and Southern California's 'A' teams were disqualified. The 'B' team (sophomores Chris Gibson and Barbosa and O'Neil and Tilly) finished first in 3:42.38, easily beating Southern California's 'B' team (3:55.75). In the 400m freestyle relay, Cal's 'C' team (senior Keith Vogelgesang, O'Neil, Lim and Gibson) touched the wall first in 3:22.35. Among Cal's event winners, Gimbutis won the 50m freestyle (22.38) and Tilly won the 100m freestyle (49.73). Cavic touched the wall first in the 200m butterfly (1:59.02) in another event swept by the Golden Bears. Rowe won the 200m breastroke (2:12.86), the final event swept by Cal. Seniors held their own, with Natalizio winning the 200m individual medley (2:01.51) and Lim seizing the 200m backstroke (1:56.31). Junior Louie Gagnet won the three-meter diving event (354.67).
Feb. 21: Loss to Stanford, 126-117: In its last meet of the season, Cal experienced its only loss as No. 2 Stanford edged the Golden Bears at Avery Aquatics Center. Cal seized both relays. The 'A' team in the 400 medley relays (Lim, Rowe, Cavic, and Draganja) took the first event of the day in 3:09.16 to swim the fastest time in the country, the second-fastest in Cal history, and to set a pool and meet record. To finish the day, the 'A' 400 freestyle relay team (Gimbutis, Gueraldi, freshman Tilly and Cavic) won in 2:54.33, setting a pool and meet record. Draganja put on a show in the inidividual events as well, posting two wins, in the 50 freestyle (19.42), a personal best, pool, and meet record, and in the 100 freestyle (42.77), another pool and meet record. Rowe was another event winner, setting a school record in the 200 breaststroke (1:57.67). In one of the most exciting races of the day between two of college swimming's top backstrokers, Lim ( 1:41.27) finished just a quarter of a second behind Stanford's Markus Rogan (1:41.01) but still managed to set a new school record. Gagnet swept the diving boards (1 m - 307.50, 3 m - 350.33).
No. 1 Auburn: The defending national champion returns as a No. 1 ranked team. The Tigers are in typical form, having recently won their eighth consecutive Southeastern Conference Championship. Sophomore George Bovell is top-ranked in the 200 IM. The Tigers should also provide hot competition in the 200 free relay where they set an NCAA record (1:16.09) but rank just ahead of California (1:17.23).
No. 2 Stanford: The No. 2 Cardinal frustrated the Golden Bears with a 23rd consecutive Pac-10 Championships. Stanford went undefeated this season (7-0, 4-0 Pac-10), breaking many a Bear heart with a 126-117 victory over Cal Feb. 21 (see above). Senior Peter Marshall ranks first (46.14) in the 100 back, just ahead of Cal's Alex Lim (46.38). Stanford boasts another strong backstroker in senior Markus Rogan who ranks first (1:41.01) in the 200 back, again just ahead of Lim (1:41.27).
No. 3 Texas: The Longhorn finished second at last year's NCAA Championships. They recently took hold of the Big XII title, its 25th consecutive conference championship. Texas feautres BIg XII Swimmer of the Year Ian Crocker. Crocker is currently ranked close behind Cal's Cavic in the 100 and 200 butterfly and the 50 freestyle.
No. 5 Florida: The Gators were runners-up to No. 1 Auburn at this year's SEC Championships. Florida has moved up slightly since its fifth-place finish at last year's NCAA Championships.
RELATED NEWS & VIDEOS
TODAY | 12:00pm PTLive
TODAY | 3:00pm PTLive
TODAY | 6:00pm PTLive