No. 4 Men's Swimming and Diving Host Cal Invite, Travels to Dallas Morning News Invite

Jan. 10, 2007

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The No. 4 California Golden Bears will host the Cal Invitational on Jan. 13-15 in Berkeley at 1 p.m. (PT). The invitational will be held at Spieker Aquatics Complex. The team will also spend Jan. 12-13 competing at the Dallas Morning News Invite in Dallas, Texas. Last weekend, the Bears split meets falling to No. 5 Arizona, and defeating No. 21 Arizona State to open Pac-10 action.

The Bears opened the Pac-10 season in the desert this past weekend. In their first meet against No. 5 Arizona, No. 12 Michigan they dropped their first meet in 14 years to Arizona, 124.00-118.00. The following day, Cal rebounded defeating Arizona State, 185.00-115.00. Against No. 5 Arizona
The Wildcats started out early, edging Cal's team of David Russell, Richard Hunter, Jernej Godec and Nathan Adrian in the 400-meter medley relay. Arizona won the event with its time of 3:50.50, as Cal was clocked just short at 3:50.63. Michigan finished in third with its time of 3:53.97. Arizona and Michigan landed in the top flight in the 800 freestyle. However, Aaron Casey was timed at 8:43.55 and Daniel Lysaught was clocked at 8:50.26. Dominik Meichtry won the 200 free, with his time of 1:53.82. Louis Vayo finished fifth in the event after being clocked at 1:56.11. The Bears also dominated the top five of the 50 free, with Godec winning the race with his time of 23.62 and William Copeland finishing third (23.78). Joe Whittington ended in fifth (24.33). Mark Eckert finished the 200 IM in seventh with his time of 2:13.40. In the 200 butterfly, Patrick O'Neil (2:09.59) and Matt Scanlan (2:10.28) finished fourth and fifth respectively. Dominic Cathey was clocked at 2:15.72 in the race. In his first Pac-10 meet, Adrian held off three Wildcats to claim individual honors in the 100 free with his time of 51.45. Copeland finished fifth after being clocked at 53.52. Russell finished second in the 200 backstroke with his time of 2:08.25 and Casey (2:08.60) and Guy Barnea (2:09.20) rounded out the top five, in fourth and fifth. After winning the 200 free, Meichtry finished third in the 400 free with his time of 4:05.09. Vayo finished fifth (4:10.44). In the 200 breaststroke, Richard Hunter finished fourth with his time of 2:28.81. Graham Lentz finished eighth (2:35.7) and Troy Nissen claimed ninth (2:37.02). The Wildcats also won the 400 freestyle relay, posting the time of 3:25.88, as Cal's team of Adrian, Copeland, Godec and Meichtry finished second with their time of 3:27.63. On the diving side, the Bears were victorious, with Sam Helvie winning both the one-meter (358.10, season-best) and the three-meter (375.00, season-best). Javier Rivas finished third on the one-meter with his mark of 295.85 and fifth on the three-meter, 310.95. Mark Wes finished fourth on the three-meter (312.70) and fifth on the one-meter (291.20). NOTE: all events were long course. Against No. 21 Arizona State, No. 12 Michigan
Cal opened the meet with the top two finishes in the 200 medley relay. The team of David Russell, Richard Hunter, Jernej Godec and Nathan Adrian won the event with their time of 1:29.32. The squad of Guy Barnea, Graham Lentz, Dominic Cathey and William Copeland finished second after being clocked at 1:31.70. In the men's 1000 free, Daniel Lysaught was timed at 9:31.28 and Aaron Casey at 9:39.14 to end out in sixth and seventh place respectively. Dominik Meichtry won the 200 free for the second straight day with his time of 1:38.85. Louis Vayo finished in fourth with his time of 1:39.82. In the 100 back, David Russell won with his time of 49.38. Also in the race Guy Barnea finished third (50.01) and Mark Eckert placed fourth (51.42). Richard Hunter placed second in the 100 breast with his time of 57.13. Graham Lentz finished one spot below Hunter in third (58.36). In the 200 fly, Patrick O'Neil won the event with his time of 1:48.92. Matt Scanlan, also in the event, placed fourth (1:51.46) and Ian Lentz finished seventh (1:54.08). Jernej Godec continued his impressive strength in the 50 free, with a second- place finish after being clocked at 20.49. Nathan Adrian (20.54) and Joe Whittington (20.71) finished third and fourth respectively. In the 100 free, William Copeland took the individual medalist honors with his time of 45.01. Adrian placed third (45.19) and Whittington finished fifth (45.94). After finishing second in the 100 back, Russell, won the 200 back with his time of 1:47.44. Barnea finished fourth (1:50.12) and Eckert placed eighth (1:53.7), also in the race. In the 200 breast, Richard Hunter was clocked at 2:07.49 (fourth), Graham Lentz was timed at 2:08.91 (seventh) and Troy Nissen at 2:11.43 (eighth). Meichtry won his second event of the day in the 500 free, after being clocked at 4:26.34. Also in the race, Casey was timed at 4:37.17 (seventh) and Lysaught at 4:39.16 (eighth). In the 100 fly, Godec won the event after being clocked at 47.95. O'Neil finished in second with his time of 49.05. Dominic Cathey (49.72) and Matt Scanlan (x51.09) were also in the contest. Louis Vayo finished fifth in the 400 IM after being clocked at 3:58.68. Eckert finished in eighth (4:08.36) and Ian Lentz was in ninth (4:10.41). The Bears also claimed honors in the 200 free relay. The squad of Adrian, Copeland, Godec and Whittington won the event with their time of 1:20.86. In diving, Sam Helvie finished second in the one-meter with his mark of 335.37. Javier Rivas was one spot below in third (278.78). Helvie also finished second in the three-meter with his final marks of 355.28.

At the Husky Invitational, Jernej Godec started his streak in the 50 free. In the prelims the junior swam his career-best 19.52, winning his heat. He followed up his performance with a second-place finish after being clocked at 19.85. He continued his impressive strength in the race, with a time of 23.62 against Arizona and Michigan in the 50-long course free. Against Arizona State and Michigan, Godec finished second with his time of 20.49.

Entering David Russell's sophomore season high expectations were in place for him to challenge for a NCAA title in either of the backstrokes. Russell is starting to meet those expectations. At the Husky Invitational, he swept both backstroke events, winning the 100 with his time of 46.75 and the 200 back (1:43.26). This was Russell's second straight event title in the 200, after winning the event against Texas and Indiana with his time of 1:45.36. He also had previously won the 100 back at Pacific, with his season opening time of 49.52. Again, against Arizona State and Michigan, Russell swept both backstroke events. He won the 100 back with his time of 49.38 and the 200 back with his time of 1:47.44.

In his first meet off the boards, sophomore diver Sam Helvie posted his season-best marks at the Georgia Invitational, on the three-meter with his final mark of 319.60. Against Texas and Indiana he finished third on the one-meter, with his score of 294.20. Both scores are the team's best in each respective event. To open the Pac-10 season, Helvie swept both the one and three-meter dives against Arizona. Helvie posted a 358.10 in the one-meter and a 375.00 in the three-meter. The following day against Arizona State, Helvie finished second in both events (335.37 on the one-meter and 355.28 on the three-meter.

Opening the Pac-10 season junior Dominik Meichtry won the 200-long course free against Arizona and the 200 and 500 free against Arizona State. Against the Wildcats Meichtry was clocked at 1:53.82 in the 200-long course free. The following day against the Sun Devils, Meichtry won the 200 free with his time of 1:38.85 and the 500 free with his time of 4:26.34. That was Meichtry's third win this season in the 500 free. At the Husky Invitational he swam a season-best in the 100 free (44.52), the 200 free (1:34.76) and the 500 free (4:18.72). His times in the 200 free and 500 free were event-winning times. This was Meichtry's first 200-free victory and second 500 free win (the first came against Cal State Bakersfield). Meichtry has swum the last leg of the 400-freestyle relay team, which has won the event in three consecutive meets.

In his final season in Berkeley, senior Patrick O'Neil has proven what a gem he is. The Roseburg, Ore., native has won on 100 fly title, two 200 fly titles and one 200 IM title this season. His season-best times came at the Husky Invitational. In the 100 fly O'Neil was clocked at 47.59 (he won the event). In the 200 fly he was timed at a season-best 1:46.40 at the Husky Invitational, winning the event. He also won the 200 fly against Arizona State, Michigan with his time of 1:48.92. In the 200 IM, his season-best time 1:50.40, came at again at the Husky Invitational. O'Neil won the 200 IM against Cal State Bakersfield with his time of 1:55.57.

A + Adrian:
A major addition to the Bears, freshman Nathan Adrian has already made a statement in his opening campaign. Adrian has captured titles in the 200 free (twice), 50 free (once) and 100 free (once). His 50-free time of 20.08 from the Texas/Indiana meet is the team's top time in that event. He also holds the team's best times in the 100 free (44.27, 11/3-4). Adrian has also swam the first leg of the Bears' 400-free relay team, which has won the event at the last four consecutive competitions, including the team's best time of 2:54.17 at the Husky Invitational.

Against some of the best competition in the country, Cal succeeded at winning a couple relay races against Texas and Indiana. The Bears' squad of Nathan Adrian, William Copeland, Jernej Godec and Dominik Meichtry won the 400-free relay with its time of 2:58.91, edging Texas' team by a second. Cal also claimed honors in the 200-medley relay with its time of 1:29.91 (Russell, Hunter, Godec and Copeland) and in the 400-medley relay, with the team of David Russell, Richard Hunter, Jernej Godec and William Copeland and their time of 3:15.08.

Against Cal State Bakersfield, the Bears raced four relay teams in the 400 freestyle relay - finishing in the top four positions. The winning team of Nathan Adrian, Eric Dunipace, Ian Lentz and Richard Hunter won the race with its final time of 3:06.87. Less than a second behind that Cal quartet was he squad of William Copeland, Patrick O'Neil, Justin Pollard and Matthew Scanlan, which finished second with its time of 3:07.43. The other two teams finished third (3:13.13) and fourth (3:13.21), respectively, and Cal State Bakersfield finished fifth (3:14.35).

Cal returns 10 All-Americans from last season. Those swimmers include junior William Copeland (200-medley relay, 200-free relay, 400-free relay, 100 free), junior Jernej Godec (200-medley relay, 200-free relay, 100 fly, 50 free, 400-medley relay), junior Dominik Meichtry (200 free, 500 free, 800-free relay), senior Daniel Lysaught (500 free, 1650 free), senior Patrick O'Neil (200 fly, 100 fly), sophomore David Russell (400-medley relay), junior Louis Vayo (800-free relay, 200 back), junior Garrett Wagner (400-free relay, 800-free relay, 200 free) and junior Joe Whittington (200-free relay) .

In August, senior Patrick O'Neil was rewarded a spot on the United States' 2007 Pan Am Games swimming team. The games will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 17-22, 2007.

Nort Thornton, who was inducted into the ASCA (American Swimming Coaches Association) Hall of Fame in September of 2002, enters his 33rd season as the director of the California men's swimming team. Thornton led the 2005-06 Golden Bears to a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. A true indication of Thornton's success is the fact that Cal has finished in the Top 10 nationally in 27 of the 32 years he has been at the helm of the Golden Bears program. Thornton, the dean of all Pac-10 swimming coaches, has led the Bears to two national championships - back-to-back titles in 1979 and 1980 - and produced a stellar cast of All-Americans. The veteran coach has an impressive 226-82 career dual-meet record, has been National Coach of the Year twice and has been the Pac-10 Coach of the Year four times, most recently in 1999. Thornton is assisted by co-head coach Mike Bottom. Bottom, now in his 10th season in Berkeley, has established himself as one of the world's top sprint coaches. Under his tutelage, former Bear Duje Draganja became one of the top sprinters in the world. The Croatian took silver in the 50 freestyle at the 2004 Athens Olympics and won five titles at the 2005 NCAA Championships. Bottom has also worked with former Cal All-American Milorad Cavic, who swam on three 2005 championship relays (200 free, 400 free and 200 medley). Cavic also finished second, and Draganja was third, in the 100 fly at the 2004 NCAA Championships. Former Cal sprinter Rolandas Gimbutis was also a part of the winning 2005 relays and, individually, placed fifth in both the 50 and 100 frees at last season's NCAA Championships. This season, Tom Davidson, joins the aquatics program as the diving coach. Prior to Cal he was the diving coach at Illinois State. While at Illinois State Davidson guided Emily Hirt to her first ever NCAA Zone diving championship. Hirt placed in the top 40 regionally with a score of 204.05 on the three-meter board, but did not advance to the final round.

Up next for the Bears, they will host No. X USC on Friday, Jan. 26, at 1 p.m. (PT).

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