Cal Honors Aquatics Teams at Annual Banquet
April 22, 2007
OAKLAND, Calif. - California honored its men's and women's water polo teams and its men's and women's swimming and diving teams at the annual Cal Aquatics Banquet held on Sunday night in Oakland. The squads that have already finished their seasons, not including women's water polo, handed out various team awards.
For men's water polo, the MVP award goes to the entire team, as the Golden Bears finished 31-4 and won the program's NCAA-record 12th national title with a thrilling 7-6 victory over USC on a last-second shot by junior Jeff Tyrrell. Cal also had 10 players named All-Americans.
Redshirt freshman Andrew Nesbit with the recipient of the Scholar-Athlete of the Year award. Nesbit, a member of the Dean's List who is intending on majoring in business administration, competed in 12 matches for the Bears and tallied three goals.
The co-winners of the Golden Bear Coaches' Award were senior Cameron Jones and sophomore Trent Calder. Jones was also a member of the 2006 MPSF All-Academic team and finished the season playing in 14 matches and scoring two goals. He also had four assists, two steals, one ejection earned and two field blocks on the year. Calder competed in 35 matches for Cal, notching 23 goals, including a goal against Long Beach State in the MPSF Tournament, and a goal against UC San Diego in the NCAA Tournament semifinal.
Junior goalie Mark Sheredy garnered the Peter J. Cutino Water Polo Trophy as the team's most improved player. Sheredy was spectacular in the NCAA title match, recording 12 blocks in the title match and earning NCAA Tournament MVP honors. Sheredy tallied 198 saves on the year and was competing in his first season with the Bears after redshirting in 2005 as a transfer from West Valley Junior College.
The Cal women's swimming and diving team, which posted a program-best third-place finish at the NCAA Championships in March, named sophomore Dana Vollmer its MVP. A gold medalist in the 2004 Olympics and more recently a world champion, Vollmer made a big splash in her first year in Berkeley, winning four NCAA titles including an individual win in the 100-yard butterfly in a lifetime-best and pool-record 50.69.
Freshman Samantha Young earned the Coaches Award for diving and was named the women's team's Outstanding Diver, while sophomore Emily Verdin took home the Coaches Award for swimming. Young had a stellar first year as a Bear, leading Cal on the one- and three-meter springboards and on the platform. She reached the NCAA Zone E Regional was named the Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year.
Verdin returned to the squad after redshirting the 2006 season due to a hip injury and came on strong late in the season, posting her top times in the 100 and 200 backstroke in the dual meet against Stanford. She also earned a spot on the Pac-10 All-Academic second team.
Sophomore swimmer Lauren Rogers garnered the Most Improved award. In 2005-06, she was an All-American on Cal's 800-yard freestyle relay and an honorable mention in the 200 backstroke. But this season she helped to set American record in the 400-medley relay 3:30.18, was an All-American on the second-place 200-medley relay and earned honorable mention All-American honors in the 100 back at the NCAA Championships.
Seniors Sherry Tsai and Erin Reilly both earned the Golden Bear Award for displaying the most team spirit. Reilly also was named the recipient of women's swimming's Scholar-Athlete Award. The product of Sacramento was a national champion in her final year, swimming on the 400 free and 800 free relays that set American records at NCAAs.
Tsai, who also swims internationally for Hong Kong, was an honorable mention All-American with an 11th-place finish in the 100 backstroke and an 11th-place finish with the Bears' 200-free relay.
The Cal men's swimming and diving team, coming off an eighth-place finish at NCAAs, named freshman Nathan Adrian its MVP. The Bremerton, Wash., native was busy at the national meet in Minneapolis, as he took home All-America honors with in the 100 free, 200-free relay and 800-free relay. He also claimed honorable mention All-America honors in the 100 fly and the 400-medley relay.
Sophomore diver Sam Helvie was Cal's Outstanding Diver after another strong season that included a 12th-place finish on the one-meter springboard at NCAAs.
Senior Patrick O'Neil, who won the 200 butterfly at both NCAAs and Pac-10s and was also sixth in the 100 fly in Minnesota, earned Cal's Most Inspirational award. Junior teammate Dash Rothberg was named the Best Recruiter.
Cal junior Justin Pollard, an economics major who was on the Pac-10's All-Academic first team, shared the Scholar-Athlete Award with junior teammate Paul Hernandez and also took home the Most Improved Award.
Bears junior Dominik Meichtry, the Swiss star who was an All-American in the 200 free and 800-free relay at NCAAs and the Pac-10's 200-free champion, shared the Coaches Award with sophomore teammate Mark Eckert, an honorable mention All-American and the Pac-10's third-fastest swimmer in the 400 individual medley.