Fourth-Ranked Men's Swimming Set to Tango in the NCAA Championship

March 13, 2007

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The fourth-ranked California Golden Bears will compete for the final time this season in the NCAA Championships, on March 15-17 in Minneapolis, Minn., at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center. The Bear finished the Pac-10 Championships in second behind Stanford, with 657 points. Stanford has won the Pac-10 Championship for 26th consecutive years, as Cal has finished second to the Cardinal for 11 straight years.

The NCAA swimming championship results will be posted on the NCAA website ( as well as on the Minnesota website ( at the conclusion of each event.

Follow the NCAA Championships on TV, as ESPN360 provides coverage. ESPN360 is available on Several Olympic swimmers are set to provide commentary to the scoreboard feed from the University of Minnesota's Aquatic Center. Coverage begins on Friday, March 16 at 7-10 p.m. and follows the next day, Saturday, March 17, from the same time.

The University Aquatics Center, located east of Cooke Hall on the Minneapolis campus, was built in 1990. It was fashioned to meet or exceed Olympic standards so that it could host major swimming and diving events. Nearly two acres in size, the Aquatics Center houses the Dorothy L. Sheppard Pool, a 50-meter competition pool, eight lanes wide and eight feet deep, with a movable bulkhead. The separate diving well features a pair of one-and three-meter boards, as well as 1, 5, 7.5 and 10-meter diving platforms. In addition to the 1,346 permanent seats, there is room for 1,200 temporary bleachers. In 2005, the Aquatics Center added a new state-of-the-art video display system completed at a cost of $250,000. Purchased and installed through Colorado Timing Systems, the 21-foot by 10-foot digital video display is the largest permanent video installation in an aquatic facility in the United States. Skylights run the length of the ceiling, reducing the need for electric lighting at daytime events. Fifty-four loudspeakers surrounding the pool give it 'the best acoustics in the country,' according to aquatics director Duane Proell. The Aquatics Center has been the site for some of the top swimming and diving events in the country: nine Big Ten Championships, six NCAA Championships, many national and international competitions and countless State High School Championships. The Aquatics Center was the site of the Men's Big Ten Championships and hosted the meet again in 1994, 1998, 2001 and 2005. The Women's Big Ten meet has been held at the Aquatics Center four times, in 1991, 1996, 1999 and 2004. The Aquatics Center also hosted the Phillips 66 USS National Championships in 1998 and 2002, and was the site of the U.S. Open in 2003. The Men's NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships were held for the first time in 1994, and again in 1997, 2000 and 2005. In 2007, the facility will host the NCAA men's and women's swimming and diving championships. The Aquatics Center is also the site for Minnesota amateur, high school, and small college meets annually, and has a full schedule of recreational sports for the campus and the community. - Compliments University of Minnesota Athletic Media Relations.

These 12 Golden Bear swimmers will be competing at the NCAA Championships: Nathan Adrian, Guy Barena, William Copeland, Mark Eckert, Jernej Godec, Richard Hunter, Daniel Lysaught, Dominik Meichtry, Patrick O'Neil, David Russell, Louis Vayo and Joe Whittington. Also diver Sam Helvie will compete.

The California Golden Bears have one of the richest traditions at the NCAA Championships. Former Bear Duje Draganja still holds the NCAA Record for the 100 free; he set with his NCAA 100 free title 2005 race of 41.49. The 200 free relay team of Draganja, Gimbutis, Tilly and Cavics' time of 1:15.78 set in 2005 still stands. Also in 2005, Draganja, Cavic, Tilly and Gimbutis set the NCAA Championship record of 2:47.70 in the 400 free relay. Last year at the NCAA Championship, Henrique Barbosa won both the 100 breast (52.52) and 200 breast (1:53.97). Starting in 1977 and continuing to last year, Cal has had an NCAA Individual Champion, 18 of those years. Also claiming NCAA event titles for the Golden Bears, was Matt Bondi and Anthony Ervin.

Senior Patrick O'Neil won the 200 fly title, as the Golden Bears finished second with 657 points on the final day of competition at the 2007 Pac-10 Championships in Federal Way, Wash. Stanford captured its 26th straight Pac-10 team title. A native of Roseburg, Ore., O'Neil won the 200 fly with his time of 1:45.00, edging USC's Viktor Bodrogi (1:45.46). Also in the race, Justin Pollard finished sixth (1:47.43) and Matt Scanlan placed (1:47.50). In the 200 back, Mark Eckert finished second (1:41.64), behind Stanford's Hongzhe Sun (1:41.64). Daniel Lysaught placed fourth in the 1650 free with his time of 15:21.04. In his first Pac-10 Championship, Nathan Adrian placed sixth in the 100 free (43.81). The team of Adrian, William Copeland, Jernej Godec and Dominik Meichtry were just shy of winning the 400 free relay. Cal finished with the time of 2:51.97, as Stanford won with its time of 2:51.50. Meichtry had an edge on all competition during the race, finishing at 1:33.82 to win his first Pac-10 title in the 200 free. Earlier in the day, Meichtry had finished second in the preliminary round (1:35.11), behind Stanford's Andy Grant (1:34.62). Last year, Meichtry finished second to eventual NCAA Champion Simon Burnett of Arizona. In the 100 back, Russell finished the race at 46.93, 15-hundreths in front of 2006 100 back champion Hongzhe Sun of Stanford. Sun won the preliminary with his time of 47.23, but finished the finals at 47.08. This was also Russell's first Pac-10 title. In only his first Pac-10 Championships, Nathan Adrian finished second in the 100 fly, with his season-best time of 46.81. Ben Wildman-Tobriner of Stanford won the race with his time of 46.00. Adrian had finished the preliminaries in third after posting a time of 47.17. Also in action on Friday, Mark Eckert finished third in the 400 IM with his season-best time of 3:49.52. Richard Hunter was clocked at 54.90 in the 100 breast, for seventh place. Jernej Godec finished just shy of the Pac-10 title in the 50 free. Godec was clocked at 19.75 for second. Stanford's Ben Wildman-Tobriner won the event with his time of 19.23. The 200 free relay team of William Copeland, Jernej Godec, Nathan Adrian and Joe Whittington, finished second with the team's season-best time of 1:18.05. Stanford won the race with its time of 1:17.50. Daniel Lysaught finished fourth in the 500 free with his time of 4:21.69, while teammate Dominik Meichtry claimed seventh with his time of 4:25.99. USC's Larsen Jensen won the event with his time of 4:13.52. In the 200 IM, Mark Eckert finished fourth with his time of 1:46.61. Adam Ritter of Arizona won the competition after being clocked at 1:45.51. The squad of David Russell, Richard Hunter, Jernej Godec and William Copeland was clocked at 1:26.73, just short of Stanford's winning time of 1:26.07. The Bears also placed third in the 800 free relay. Nathan Adrian led off for the Bears, Daniel Lysaught followed, as Meichtry swam the third leg and Louis Vayo anchored the Bears. The team finished at 6:23.51. Arizona won the race with its time of 6:20.08.

With 12 athletes competing, Cal has a great opportunity to win the title in 2007. Cal will gear up against Auburn who brings a meet-high 16 athletes, Stanford and Florida both showcasing 15 athletes, Texas with 13 and Arizona with 11. Also several Bears have top 10 times and some even the country's best times. After picking up the 2007 Pac-10 title in the 200 free, junior Dominik Meichtry is probably one of the Bears' best shot at the NCAA title. Meichtry, will have to go up against Adam Ritter from Arizona, Texas' Matt McGinnis and Stanford's Andy Grants who times border Meichtry's nation's best time of 1:33.82. David Russell will also look to continue his title run, after capturing his first Pac-10 title in the 100 back, Russell's time of 46.67 he posted in December ranks among the nation's top. He will have to out last Indiana's powerful Ben Hesen and Northwestern's Matt Grevers, along with Arizona's Albert Subirats. Russell also host the country's sixth best time of 1:43.12 in the 200 back. After a strong showing at the Pac-10 Championships, Nathan Adrian, has qualified on all but one relay team, in addition to his tenth best time in the nation in the 100 free in which he will contend for a title. Pac-10 200 fly champion Patrick O'Neil will also try his luck in the 200 fly at the NCAA Championships.

This season junior Dominik Meichtry has racked up six 200 free titles, including his national best clocking of 1:33.82, he won the 200 free Pac-10 title with. Meichtry swam against four of the top six national time holders in the race. He had an edge on the competition during the race, finishing at a season-best 1:33.82, winning his first Pac-10 title in the 200 free. The time, according to College, is the fastest in the nation this year. Earlier in the day, Meichtry had finished second in the preliminary round (1:35.11), behind Stanford's Andy Grant (1:34.62). Last year, Meichtry finished second to eventual 200 free NCAA champion Simon Burnett of Arizona. He also was timed at 1:34.51 in the last dual meet of the season against Stanford, where he put on the jets in the final 50y to beat teammate freshman Nathan Adrian and Stanford's Andy Grant. Meichtry's time of 1:34.76 he set at the Husky Invitational in December was his best time, until his Pac-10 title race.

Junior Dominik Meichtry picked up his fifth individual title in the 500 free against USC. He beat USC's Larsen Jensen, by 4.13 seconds, with his winning time was 4:19.47. At the Dallas Morning News Invitational, he won the event with his time of 4:19.26. Against Arizona State he won the 500 free with his time of 4:26.34. At the Husky Invitational, in early December, he swam a season-best in the 500 free of 4:18.72, which stands seventh nationally on the best time list. His first victory in the 500 free was against Cal State Bakersfield after being clocked at 4:32.43.

During last year's season, Jernej Godec set his Cal career-time of 19.58 in the 50 free. This season he broke that time in the prelims of the 50 free at the Husky Invitational and has since won the event three times. In the prelims, at the Husky Invitational, the junior swam his career-best 19.52, winning his heat. That time is the nation's fifth best time of the year. He followed up his performance with a second-place finish after being clocked at 19.85 in the finals. He has shown strength in the race after the Husky Invitational, with his latest win against USC (19.91). Against Arizona in the 50-long course free he won with a time of 23.62. Against Arizona State and Michigan, Godec finished second with his time of 20.49. Then at the Dallas Morning News Invitational, Godec won the race with his time of 19.95.

Capping off a successful run in the Pac-10 conference senior Patrick O'Neil secured the Pac-10 200 fly title. A native of Roseburg, Ore., O'Neil won the 200 fly with his time of 1:45.00, edging USC's Viktor Bodrogi (1:45.46), who was last year's Pac-10 Champion in the race. During the season he won the 200 fly six times. The Pan Am Game United States team member won the event against Stanford with his season-best time of 1:44.98 (12th best time in the nation). His personal best in the 200 fly is 1:44.00, which he set in the prelims of the 200 fly at the 2005 Pac-10 Championships. He also captured the 200 fly titles this season at the Husky Invitational (1:46.40), against Arizona State, Michigan (1:48.92), at the Dallas Morning News Invitational (1:46.75), and USC (1:46.33). In his final season in Berkeley, he has also won one 100 fly title and one 200 IM title.

Sophomore David Russell owns seven of the team's top performances in the 100 back and five in the 200 back. This includes both his prelim and final time at the Pac-10 Championship, in which his final time of 46.93 edged defending 100-back champion Hongzhe Sun of Stanford by 15 hundredths of a second. Sun won the preliminary with his time of 47.23 but finished the finals at 47.08. This was also Russell's first Pac-10 title. Russell's season-best time in 100 back was set in December at the Husky Invitational, of 46.75. That time is the nation's fourth best clocking this season.

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). He improved his 100-free time during the 2006 Pac-10 Championships, posting a season-best 43.64. He also owns four of the team's top ten performance this season in the 100 free, including another amazing time of 43.78 against Stanford and 44.27 from the Texas/Indiana meet. Adrian also swam the first leg of the Bears' 400-free relay team, which has won the event at four consecutive competitions (Cal State Fullerton, Texas/Indiana, Stanford Relays and Husky Invitational). He also was a member of 400 free relay team which posted a team best 2:51.97 at the Pac-10 Championships. Adrian will compete on all, but one of the qualifying relay teams at the NCAA Championship (400 free relay, 800 free relay, 400 medley relay, 200 free relay).

Cal will boast a team in each relay event this weekend at the NCAA Championships. Each time ranks in the country's top 15 this season, starting with the 200 free relay of William Copeland, Jerenj Godec, Nathan Adrian and Joe Whittington's time of 1:18.05 from the Pac-10 Championships. The Bears team of David Russell, Richard Hunter, Godec and Adrian in the 400 medley relay has the ninth best time of 3:11.73 in the country. Cal also showcases the nation's third best time of 1:25.88 the squad of Russell, Hunter, Godec and Copeland. Also competing at the NCAA Championships, Adrian, Daniel Lysaught, Dominik Meichtry and Louis Vayo time of 6:23.51, is sixth in the nation. The 400 free team of Adreian, Copeland, Godec and Meichtry host the nation's fourth best time of 2:51.94, they set at the Pac-10 Championship.

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.

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