California Leads After Day One of the Pac-10 Men's Swimming Championship

March 3, 2010


Long Beach, Calif.- Looking to upend Stanford’s unprecedented reign of 28-straight Pac-10 Conference titles, the California Golden Bears approached the start blocks on Day 1 of the Pac-10 Men’s Swimming Championships Wednesday night at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach, Calif. with a look of determination reflected in their goggles. The Bears’ - who won the 200 medley relay event last year, posting a Pac-10 record time of (1:23.98) - turned those images into reality when they won the meet's opening event here is 2010, repeating as the 200 medley relay champion for the second straight year.

 

The event title is the third consecutive for the Bears’ and fourth title in five years. Guy Barnea (backstroke), Damir Dugonjic (breaststroke), Graeme Moore (butterfly), and Josh Daniels (freestyle) sprinted to claim the shorter of the weekend's two medley relays in 1:24.85.

 

“It was a good start but we can’t get too excited yet,” said Daniels, a junior who anchored the relay team this season.  “We have a lot of work still to do but this was a great way to start the meet.”

 

In a repeat of last season's Pac-10 Men's Swimming Championship, the Bears’ foursome beat runner-up Stanford's time by just over half of a second, checking in with an NCAA-qualifying time. The Cardinal made the NCAA 'A' cut with a time of (1:25.25). Rounding out the podium was Arizona who also just made the NCAA “A” cut by four-tenths of second with a time of (1:25.62).

 

Arizona’s relay team touched the wall first in the heat that preceded the championship seeding. The team of Ivan Tolic, Clark Buckle, Adam Small, and Nick Popov finished in a time (1:26.28). The 1:26.28 set by Arizona's 'B' squad would have placed fifth-best in the championship final.

 

The evening's excitement carried through to the second and final event of the night, the 800 freestyle relay. USC’s Clement Lefert led off the Trojans' effort to notch their first Championship victory in the event since 2002.

 

The Trojans led from start to finish and would not relinquish their lead over the pack. But the race was not without extreme pressure. Stanford and California fell no further than a body length from the lead at any point during the race. In fact, anchor Rob Andrews hinted at a Cardinal come-from-behind win with just one flip turn remaining. Despite swimming the second-fastest split in the event, Andrews could not overcome native Hungarian Zoltan Povasky of USC. The Trojan squad touched the wall in 6:19.17 an NCAA automatic time. Stanford's 6:19.52 and California's 6:19.79 were NCAA automatic qualifying marks as well. Arizona finished fourth with a time NCAA qualifying time of 6:22.60. 

 

California is atop the leaderboard with 72 points, carrying a narrow lead over USC(70) and Stanford (68) at this early stage of the meet. Action resumes at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach, Calif., tomorrow with morning preliminaries set to take off at 11 a.m. Watch a live stream of the swims at http://www.pac-10.org/championships/2010-Mswim.html.


 


 

 

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