Cal Makes Splash at USA Championships

Aug. 8, 2006

IRVINE, Calif. - Several current and former California swimmers starred at the 2006 ConocoPhillips USA Swimming National Championships Aug. 1-5 at the William Woollett, Jr., Aquatic Center. U.S. Olympic star Natalie Coughlin, a former Golden Bear and current volunteer assistant coach for the Cal women, won two individual titles and paced Cal Aquatics to two relay victories. On the men's side, returning sophomore David Russell had Cal's best finish, taking sixth place in the 100-meter backstroke for his Bluefish Swim Club.

Russell swam a time of (55.19) in the 100 back and swam a 2:04.24 to take 13th in the 200 back. Russell also led off his Bluefish club's seventh-place finish (3:47.54) in the 400-medley relay and junior Joe Whittington led off his Bakersfield Swim Club's 20th-place finish (3:57.73) in the 400-medley relay.

Other Cal men at nationals included junior Louis Vayo, who was 13th (4:25.63) in the 400 individual medley and 14th (2:02.27) in the 200 back, senior Patrick O'Neil, who was ninth (54.27) in the 100 fly and 18th (2:01.35) in the 200 fly and junior William Copeland, who was 17th (23.17) in the 50 free.

Coughlin swam a time of 57.78 to win the 100 fly and a time of 1:58.11 to win the 200 free. She also led off Cal Aquatics' win in the 400-medley relay (4:03.32) and swam the second leg of Cal Aquatics' victory in the 800-free relay (8:08.16). Cal sophomore Jessica Hardy, senior Erin Reilly and junior Emily Silver joined Coughlin on the 400-medley relay, while Reilly, senior Lauren Andrews and Silver joined Coughlin on the 800-free relay. Hardy, Coughlin, Reilly and Silver also took second place (3:43.19) in the 400-free relay.

The 50 free featured a trio of Bears, with Coughlin second (25:17), Silver 10th (25.81) and Reilly 17th (26.04). The same three competed in the 100 free, with Coughlin second (54.25), Silver ninth (55.79) and Reilly 19th (56.55).

Other Cal women's highlights included Hardy's second-place finish (1:07.65) in the 100 breaststroke, Reilly's seventh-place finish (2:00.46) in the 200 free and ninth-place finish (59.81) in the 100 fly, and sophomore Lauren Rogers' 10th-place finish (1:03.42) in the 100 backstroke.

Junior Leann Toomey took 17th place (1:00.93) in the 100 fly and Andrews was 20th (2:18.48) in the 200 back. Also, recent graduate Helen Silver took ninth place (2:16.68) in the 200 backstroke and 14th place (1:03.95) in the 100 back.

Rogers led off her Terrapins Swim Team's seventh-place finish (4:17.81) in the 400-medley relay. The Cal Aquatics B squad also competed with current Bears, taking sixth place (3:51.58) in the 400-free relay with Andrews, senior Anne Babicz and junior Rachel Ridgeway and taking 18th place (4:20.87) in the 400-medley relay with Andrews, Babicz and Ridgeway.

The swimmers will compete for a spot on a national team which will compete at one of the five following events: the 2006 Mutual of Omaha Pan Pacific Championships (Aug. 17-21, Victoria, British Columbia), the 2007 FINA World Championships (March 25-April 1, Melbourne, Australia), the 2007 World University Games (Aug. 8-13, Bangkok, Thailand) and the 2007 Pan American Games (July 14-21, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).

Complete results from the USA National Championships can be found on the following Web site:

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