Pac-10 Men's Swimming Championships Recap Day Four

March 4, 2006

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - The Stanford men's swim team capped off a quarter-century of dominance by winning their 25th straight Pac-10 Championship with strong performances on the meet's final day. The Cardinal squashed any upset notions entertained by second-place California, who came into the final day within striking distance, but never seriously threatened Stanford who pulled away throughout the evening at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatics Center.

Stanford's final tally of 880 points gave them a solid cushion over Cal, who scored 796. Southern California passed Arizona for third place with two events left. The Trojans finished with 530 points, while the Wildcats posted 519. Arizona State placed fifth with 352 while host-school Washington came in sixth place with 188 points.

No team in Division I sports history has won as many consecutive conference titles in any sport as the Stanford men's swim team. After extending the streak, Stanford Head Coach Skip Kenney reflected on the program's tradition.

'The admissions director loves swimmers because in 27 years we've graduated 100%. So they understand these guys do the job, they work hard, they study hard and they graduate,' said Kenney. 'It's just an honor to be in the Pac-10 conference because all the good swimming schools are here.'

'It started in 1982, so none of these kids were even born when the streak began,' Kenney continued. 'Against Cal we had 55 alums that flew in from all over the country to come back and just remind them that they're there for them. We're all part of a team. We're all connected for 25 years.'

Stanford took decisive control early on as they crowned four more champions in the evening's first four events. During that stretch, junior Hongzhe Sun scored his third individual win of the Championships in the 200 backstroke. Sun previously captured the 100 backstroke and 200 individual medley. He was named the Pac-10 Swimmer of the Meet for his efforts. Sun also was glad to continue on the streak that so many before him have worked to build.

'I'm very happy for our team. The whole time, all we had in our minds was don't let our alumni down,' said Sun. 'We've got 25 years of Stanford history behind us and every one of us had that in mind. We swam our hearts out for the alums.'

Sun went out flying in the 200 backstroke, finishing the first 50 yards in 23.42 seconds, over a half second faster than any other competitor. He increased his lead with the fastest time once again in the second 50 split, and cruised to the win in 1: 41.17. It was the second straight year that Sun won the event. Coach Kenney had high praise for Sun's progression.

'He's a quiet guy and he didn't come in with a lot of confidence in his performance and then he just got better and better. Now as a junior, not only is he swimming well, but he's teaching. He is a heck of a leader and a great guy and thank goodness he can swim,' Kenney said.

The evening began with the longest swim of the championships, the 1650 freestyle. Stanford's Shaun Phillips defended his title from 2005 by covering his mile of water in 14 minutes and 43.89 seconds. Cal's Daniel Lysaught placed a distant second in 15:03.72. Both times were good to automatically qualify the pair for the NCAA Championships.

Cardinal senior Ben Wildman-Tobriner capped off an exceptional four days by taking the 100 freestyle in 42.79 seconds, outdueling Arizona Olympian Simon Burnett, who was second in 43.00. Wildman-Tobriner also won the 50 free and was part of Stanford's first-place 200 freestyle relay team Thursday evening.

The 200 breaststroke was a two man race between Stanford freshman Paul Kornfeld and Cal senior Henrique Barbosa, the 100 breaststroke champ. In this case, youth won out over experience, as Kornfeld won Stanford's fourth straight event, finishing with a time of 1: 55.30. Barbosa was right behind, touching in 1:55.93. The two will meet again as both times were automatic NCAA qualifiers.

The spotlight was momentarily stolen from Stanford by USC junior Viktor Bodrogi, who shattered a 19-year-old record long held by former Olympian Pablo Morales who swam at Stanford. Bodrogi electrified the crowd with his push to the wall in the 200 butterfly, where he touched in 1: 44.20, four tenths faster than Morales' mark of 1:44.60. Bodrogi made his move in the third 50 yards, where his time of 25.74 seconds was much quicker than the splits of second and third place finishers Sam Masson and Mark Stephens, who each swam that particular leg in 27.39 seconds.

Breaking a conference record held by an all-time great was not exactly part of Bodrogi's plan, but now that he's passed one Olympian, he is setting his sights on another.

'It was a good swim. I was surprised with my time. I set my own pace and didn't pay attention to other people,' said Bodrogi. 'I knew it was an old record. But first of all I wanted to break Jeff Lee's school record (1: 42.94), but I broke the Pac-10 record and I'm very happy with that. My goal was to go 1:42.50 by the end of the season. I reached that by now so I want to go half a second faster at least and beat Michael Phelps' time.'

Although Cal would settle for second place for the fifth straight year, they swam hard until the very end, evidenced by their win in the meet's final event, the 400 freestyle relay. Cal's top team was comprised of William Copeland, Jernej Godec, Jonas tilly and Milorad Cavic. Cavic overtook Arizona's Adam Ritter on the closing leg to earn the win. Cal finished in 2:51.27, followed by Arizona's quartet of Simon Burnett, Lyndon Ferns, Nicholas Nilo and Ritter who swam 2: 51.73.

Coach Kenney gave the Golden Bears a lot of the credit for why his Cardinal teams have been so tough.

'These other teams in the Pac-10 bring the best out of our guys, and it's that way year-in and year-out. Our rivalry with Cal is healthy, it's wonderful, it's the highest level possible. We feel like we help them and I know that they help us.'

In the end, 25-straight conference titles speaks for itself. Coach Kenney said it was hard to put the streak in perspective, likely because no other team in college sports has ever known the feeling.

'One of the greatest honors ever was to break John Wooden's record (for consecutive Pac-10 titles in one sport),' Kenney said. 'But to see the success of young men that go to Stanford, it just doesn't get any better than that.'

2006 Pac-10 Men's Swimming Championships
Final Standings

1) Stanford 880
2) California 796
3) USC 530
4) Arizona 519
5) Arizona State 352
6) Wasington 188

NCAA AUTOMATIC QUALIFIERS

Arizona
Adam Ritter (200 Individual Medley, 1:45.69)
Simon Burnett (50 Freestyle, 19.50; 100 Freestyle, 42.79; 200 Freestyle, 1:33.26)
Lyndon Ferns (100 Butterfly, 46.43; 100 Freestyle, 43.23)
Nick Thoman (200 Backstroke, 1:42.71)
200 Medley Relay (Albert Subirats, David Rollins, Lyndon Ferns, Simon Burnett) 1:25.76
200 Freestyle Relay (Simon Burnett, Lyndon Ferns, Adam Ritter, Nicholas Nilo) 1:18.40
400 Freestyle Relay (Simon Burnett, Lyndon Ferns, Nicholas Nilo, Adam Ritter) 2:51.73
800 Freestyle Relay (Simon Burnett, Lyndon Ferns, Tyler Deberry, Adam Ritter) 6:18.70

Arizona State
Gal Nevo (400 Individual Medley, 3:46.07)

California
Dominik Meichtry (500 Freestyle, 4:15.89; 200 Freestyle, 1:34.31)
Daniel Lysaught (500 Freestyle, 4:18.31; 1650 Freestyle, 15:03.72)
Milorad Cavic (50 Freestyle, 19.35; 100 Butterfly, 47.06)
William Copeland (50 Freestyle, 19.69)
Jernej Godec (100 Butterfly, 46.73)
Garrett Wagner (200 Freestyle, 1:35.48)
Henrique Barbosa (100 Breaststroke, 52.90; 200 Breaststroke, 1:55.93)
David Russell (100 Backstroke, 47.08; 200 Backstroke, 1:43.53)
Mark Eckert (200 Backstroke, 1:43.89)
200 Medley Relay (David Russell, Henrique Barbosa, Jernej Godec, Milorad Cavic) 1:25.44
400 Medley Relay (David Russell, Henrique Barbosa, Milorad Cavic, Jonas Tilly) 3:08.87
200 Freestyle Relay (Milorad Cavic, William Copeland, Jonas Tilly, Jernej Godec) 1:17.71
400 Freestyle Relay (William Copeland, Jernej Godec, Jonas Tilly, Milorad Cavic) 2:51.27
800 Freestyle Relay (Dominik Meichtry, Garrett Wagner, Louis Vayo, Miguel Molina) 6:21.02

Stanford
Shaun Phillips (500 Freestyle, 4:16.55; 200 Freestyle, 1:35.43; 1650 Freestyle, 14:43.89)
Mike McLean (500 Freestyle, 4:19.04)
Hongzhe Sun (200 Individual Medley, 1:44.49; 100 Backstroke, 46.79; 200 Backstroke, 1:41.17)
Nate Cass (200 Individual Medley, 1:44.99)
Mark Stephens (400 Individual Medley, 3:45.94; 200 Individual Medley, 1:45.48)
Tobias Oriwol (400 Individual Medley, 3:46.65)
Ben Wildman-Tobriner (50 Freestyle, 19.26; 100 Freestyle, 42.79; 100 Butterfly, 46.67)
Jason Dunford (100 Butterfly, 47.25)
Andy Grant (200 Freestyle, 1:34.85)
Paul Kornfeld (100 Breaststroke, 53.46; 200 Breaststroke, 1:55.30)
200 Medley Relay (Hongzhe Sun, Paul Kornfeld, Jason Dunford, Ben Wildman-Tobriner) 1:26.50
400 Medley Relay (Hongzhe Sun, Paul Kornfeld, Jason Dunford, Ben Wildman-Tobriner) 3:09.90
200 Freestyle Relay (Jason Dunford, Ben Wildman-Tobriner, Kyle Ransom, Matt Crowe) 1:17.54
400 Freestyle Relay (Jason Dunford, Ben Wildman-Tobriner, Kyle Ransom, Andy Grant) 2:52.28
800 Freestyle Relay (Danny Beal, Andy Grant, Tobias Oriwol, Shaun Phillips) 6:21.45

USC
Ous Mellouli (500 Freestyle, 4:14.21; 400 Individual Medley, 3:43.90)
Sam Masson (100 Butterfly, 46.71)
Mihaly Flaskay (100 Breaststroke, 53.50)
Viktor Bodrogi (200 Butterfly, 1:42.35)
200 Medley Relay (Viktor Bodrogi, Mihaly Flaskay, Sam Masson, Sean Sussex) 1:26.50
400 Medley Relay (Viktor Bodrogi, Mihaly Flaskay, Sam Masson, Ous Mellouli) 3:10.85

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