Cal and Arizona Headline Day One Action
March 4, 2009
LONG BEACH, Calif. - With a nod to the football field, Cal knocked off its Big Game rival in the 200-yard medley relay while Arizona needed a thrilling finish to extend its dominance in the 800-yard freestyle relay on the first day of the 2009 Pacific-10 Conference Men's Swimming Championships on Wednesday at Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool.
With teammates wearing shirts with 'Beast Mode' emblazoned on the back - a signature phrase of former Golden Bears tailback Marshawn Lynch - senior David Russell, sophomore Damir Dugonjic, sophomore Graeme Moore and senior Bennett Clark claimed the title in 1:23.98. In the process, they established a new meet record, breaking the mark set by Stanford in 2005.
'Marshawn is a special part of our Cal football program,' Golden Bears Coach Dave Durden said. 'Anything Cal we like to promote and be a part of. Certainly Marshawn's attitude is something we hope to aspire to.'
With Stanford ranked No. 1 in the country heading into the meet, the Cardinal contingent of Eugene Godsoe, Paul Kornfield, Austin Staab and Jason Dunford finished second in a time of 1:24.19. Arizona came in third, followed by Washington and Arizona State. USC was disqualified.
For the No. 2 ranked Wildcats, winners of the Pac-10 and NCAA titles in the 800-yard freestyle relay for three consecutive years, their conference streak nearly came to an end. Junior Joel Greenshields, however, was able to beat the Cardinal's Philip Morrison to the wall by .02 of a second, giving Arizona the win.
'It was tough racing, eyeball-to-eyeball for 32 laps,' said Wildcats Coach Frank Busch of Greenshields, Jean Basson, Nicolas Nilo and Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or, who finished in 6:14.82.
Cal, Washington, USC and Arizona State rounded out the field.
Cal and Arizona are tied for first place through two events with 72 points. Stanford, winners of every conference championship since 1990, is four points back in second, while Washington (60), Arizona State (54) and USC (28) round out the field.
The 2009 Pac-10 Men's Swimming Championship continues Thursday with the 200-yard freestyle relay, 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard individual medley, 50-yard freestyle and 200-yard relay. Preliminaries begin at 11 a.m. with the finals set for 6 p.m.