No. 11 Cal at NCAA Championships

March 14, 2005

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Date .................. Thursday-Saturday, March 17-19, 2005
Place ................ West Lafayette, IN
Time .................. Prelims 11 a.m., finals 7 p.m.

OFF TO THE RACES
No. 11 Cal travels to West Lafayette, Ind. looking to make a splash at the NCAA championships, which run Thursday-Saturday. The Golden Bears (9-2 overall, 6-2 Pac-10) come off a third place showing at the Pac-10 championships, which took place Feb. 23-26. Cal finished behind No. 5 Stanford and No. 6 Arizona, the only two teams to have defeated the Bears in dual meet competition this season.

This year, Cal sends 12 athletes to the NCAA championships, including one senior, two juniors, four sophomores and five freshmen. Six of the non-freshmen are returning NCAA competitors, and five are All- Americans.

The Bears finished sixth place at the 2004 NCAA Championships. In her final NCAA meet, Olympic gold medalist Natalie Coughlin won individual titles in the 100-meter butterfly and 100-meter backstroke, events in which she holds the NCAA, American and world records. She set an NCAA, American and U.S. open record with her split (52.81) in the 400-meter freestyle relay and an NCAA record in her lead-off on the NCAA champion 800-meter relay squad. Current Cal swimmers, junior Ashley Chandler, senior Lauren Medina and sophomore Erin Reilly swam the other three legs of the relay.

Also in 2004, Chandler set a school record after seizing fourth in the 400-meter freestyle final with a time of 4:05.89. Chandler posted a fourth-place finish in the 200-meter free (1:57.99).

In addition, Cal plays the role of defending national champion in the 800 free relay. Medina, Chandler and Reilly return from the national champion and NCAA-meet-record setting squad.

DETAILS
All events take place in the Boilermaker Aquatic Center at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. All session passes for the 2005 NCAA Division I Swimming and Diving Championships are currently on sale at purduesports.com.

Links to the ticket order form can be found on the men's and women's swimming & diving pages. Individual-session passes will not be for sale until the event begins on Thursday, March 17. The three-day championships meet runs through Saturday, March 19, with prelims beginning daily at 11 a.m., diving trials at 1 p.m. and finals at 7 p.m.

Adult all-session passes are priced at $50.00, while student (ages 3-college) all session passes cost $30. Children ages two and under receive free admission. For more information, call the Purdue Athletics ticket office at (765) 494-3194 or 1-800-49-SPORT, or visit http://purduesports.collegesports.com.

For information about interviews, please contact Christina Teller at (510) 643-2938. The media coordinator for the championships is Purdue assistant sports information director Chris Macaluso. He can be reached at (765) 494-3198 or cmacalu@purdue.edu.

Results will be available at www.ncaasports.com and CalBears.com.

PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS
Cal finished third at the Pac-10 championships held in Federal Way, Wash., Feb. 23- 26. The Bears (1,088.5 points) claimed one relay and two individual titles at the meet. First-place Stanford won its second consecutive title with 1,499 points, followed by Arizona (1,237).

The 800-freestyle relay team of senior Lauren Medina, sophomore Erin Reilly, junior Ashley Chandler and freshman Emily Silver successfully defended the Bears' conference title, clocking a 7:08.37. Medina, Reilly and Chandler swam on the winning squad in 2004, as well.

Silver won the 200 freestyle title in 1:46.71, which is fifth on Cal's all-time list. Silver clocked a 49.51 to take second in the 100-yard freestyle, No. 3 all-time at Cal. Sophomore Annie Babicz took first in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:01.12), edging Olympic gold medalist Agnes Kovacs (Hungary) of Arizona State, who finished in 1:01.31. Babicz's time puts her second on Cal's all-time list.

Chandler turned in a second-place performance in the 500 free in a time of 4:41.65, which is fifth nationally. Cal's 400 medley relay of junior Helen Silver, freshman Leann Toomey, Babicz and Emily Silver took third in 3:39.91. The 400 freestyle relay team of sophomore Lauren Andrews, Emily Silver, sophomore Sherry Tsai and Medina clocked a third-place time of 3:20.60 to close out the meet.

QUALIFIERS
Cal qualified a talented crop of swimmers for the 2005 NCAA Championships. A detailed look at each of the 12 swimmers follows.

Sophomore Lauren Andrews (400 free relay, 100 back, 100 free, 200 back)
Qualified for 400 free relay in 3:20.60 (13th nationally), which was good for third-place at the Pac-10 Championships...will swim in the 100 free (50.83), 100 back (56.04) and 200 back (2:00.20).

Sophomore Annie Babicz (100 fly, 100 breast, 200 breast, 400 medley relay)
The sophomore All-American qualified for NCAAs for the 100 breast in 1:01.12 (1st, Pac- 10s, 7th nationally), 200 breast (2:15.00, 27th nationally), 100 fly (54.74, 42nd nationally) and 400 medley relay (3:39.91, 9th nationally)...swam at last year's NCAA meet in 100 breast, 400 medley relay (4:02.49, 7th) and 200 medley relay (1:53.42, 14th)...competed at the 2004 U.S. Olympic trials...holds two top 10 marks on Cal's all-time list, in the 100 breast and 200 breast.

Junior Ashley Chandler (200 free, 500 free, 200 fly, 800 free relay)
A junior All-American freestyler will compete in the 500 free (4:41.65, 2nd Pac-10s, 5th nationally), 200 free (1:47.51, 6th Pac-10s, 26th nationally), 200 fly (2:00.85, 42nd nationally) and 800 free relay (7:08.37, 1st Pac-10s, 3rd nationally)...helped Cal claim an NCAA title and meet record in the 800 free relay last year (7:50.94)...finished fourth in 200 free (1:57.99) and 400 free (4:05.89, school record) at 2004 NCAA meet...competed in the Olympic Trials in the 800, 200 and 400 free races.

Senior Lauren Medina (800 free relay, 400 free relay, 200 free, 500 free, 100 free)
Medina, a senior All-American freestyler returns to 800 and 400 freestyle relay squads and to 200 individual free field...qualified for NCAA meet in 200 free with a 1:46.83 (3rd at Pac-10 championships, 17th nationally), 500 free in 4:47.44 (35th nationally), 100 free in 50.43, 800 free relay in 7:08.37 (1st Pac-10s, 3rd nationally) and 400 free relay in 3:20.60 (3rd Pac-10s, 13th nationally)...last year at NCAAs, helped Cal set an NCAA meet record in winning the 800 relay (7:50.94) and swam on third-place 400 free relay (3:40.31) and in the 200 free (1:58.81, 11th...won U.S. Summer National title in the 200 free (2:01.89)...finished 16th in semifinals of 200 free at U.S. Olympic Trials.

Freshman Genevieve Patterson (100 breast, 200 IM, 200 breast)
Qualified for 100 breast (1:02.54, 26th nationally), 200 breast (2:17.21) and 200 IM (2:03.71)...competed at 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 100 breast.

Sophomore Erin Reilly (800 free relay, 200 free, 500 free, 1650 free)
Reilly, a sophomore All-American, qualified for the 200 free (1:47.58, 29th nationally), 500 free (4:46.16, 23rd nationally), 1650 free (16:42.42) and 800 free relay in 7:08.37 (1st Pac-10, 3rd nationally)...helped Cal to an NCAA meet record and NCAA title in the 800 free relay last year (7:50.94)...swam in 200 fly (2:11.98, 12th) and 1500 free (16:12.96, 14th) last year at NCAA meet...competed in the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 400m free, 200 free and 100 fly.

Freshman Rachel Ridgeway (500 free, 200 fly)
Will swim in 500 free (4:52.90) and 200 fly (2:00.16, 35th nationally).

Freshman Emily Silver (50, 100 and 200 free, 800 free relay, 400 free relay, 400medley relay)
Cal freshman may swim as many as three individual events and three relays...qualified for 200 free in 1:46.71 (1st Pac-10s, 13th nationally), 800 free relay in 7:08.37 (1st Pac-10s, 3rd nationally), 100 free in 49.51 (2nd Pac-10s, 22nd nationally), 400 free relay in 3:20.60 (3rd Pac-10s, 13th nationally), 400 medley relay (3:39.91, 9th nationally) and 50 free (22.93, 29th nationally)...older sister, Helen, is a junior All-American backstroker at Cal.

Junior Helen Silver (200 IM, 100 back, 200 back, 400 medley relay)
Silver, a junior All-American backstroker, qualified in the 200 back (1:57.58, 18th nationally),200 IM (1:59.93, 4th Pac-10s, 15th nationally), 100 back (54.83, 6th Pac-10s, 27th nationally) and 400 medley relay (3:39.91, 9th nationally)...in 2004, competed in 100 back (1:00.85, 13th), 400 medley relay (4:02.49, 7th) and 200 medley relay (1:53.42, 14th)...Silver was an All- American in the backstroke as a sophomore...younger sister, Emily, also competing for Bears at NCAA meet.

Freshman Leann Toomey (100 butterfly, 400 medley relay)
Qualified for 100 fly in 54.37 (7th Pac-10s, 32nd nationally) and 400 medley relay (3:39.91, 9th nationally)...competed at 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials in 100 fly.

Sophomore Sherry Tsai (400 free relay, 200 IM, 100 back, 200 back)
Will compete with 400 free relay (3:20.60, 13th nationally), which took third at Pac-10s...will swim in the 200 IM (2:02.62), 100 back (55.20) and 200 back (1:59.27)...represented Hong Kong at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics.

Freshman Emily Verdin (200 IM, 100 back, 200 back)
Qualified in 200 IM (2:01.48, 32nd nationally), 100 back (56.01) and 200 back (1:59.78, 46th nationally)...in high school, Verdin was Virginia state champion in 200 IM (2002-04) and 100 back (2004).

KEEPING UP WITH NATALIE
Former Cal swimmer Natalie Coughlin is one of the 10 finalists for the Sullivan Award, which recognizes the USA's top amateur athlete.

The award is voted on by the Amateur Athletic Union, U.S. Olympic Committee members, college sports information directors and others. For the first time, fans can vote at sports.usatoday.com. Online voting will be weighted to account for one-third of the total.

The award will be presented April 13 at the New York Athletic Club. Past winners range from U.S. Olympian Michael Phelps (2003) and Bobby Jones, who won the award in its inaugural year (1930), to Dick Button (1949) to Bill Walton (1973) to Peyton Manning (1997) and to Michelle Kwan (2001).

At the 2004 Olympics, Coughlin won five medals -- gold in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay and the 100 backstroke, silver in the 4x100 medley relay and 4x100 free relay and bronze in the 100 free.

The other finalists are Phelps (swimming), Andre Ward (boxing), Jeremy Wariner (track and field), Cael Sanderson (wrestling), Steven Lopez (taekwondo), Matt Leinart (football), Paul Hamm (gymnastics), Carly Patterson (gymnastics) and Elisa Au (karate).

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