Pac-10 Teams Look To Break Stanford's Streak of 29-Straight Titles
The winners of 29-straight Conference titles, Stanford is again the team to beat at the 2011 Pac-10 Men's Swimming Championships. With numerous national team members and several 2008 Olympians among the field, the event will showcase many of the swimmers who will make headlines at the 2011 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships, to be held March 24-26 at the University of Minnesota.
The Cardinal's Chad La Tourette, one of the nation's top distance swimmers, looks make it three Pac-10 titles in a row in the 1650y freestyle. The junior, who will represent Team USA at the 2011 FINA World Championships this summer, is a four-time All-American and the 2010 NCAA champion in the 1650. Other Stanford standouts include junior Bobby Bollier, a three-time Pac-10 champion and seven-time All-American, and senior Alex Coville, who holds 12 All-America honors and has been on three Pac-10 champion relay teams.
Powered by senior sprinter Nathan Adrian and sophomore Tom Shields, California looks to break Stanford's reign on the Pac-10 Championships. Shields, the defending NCAA champion in the 100y butterfly, captured three individual events as the Golden Bears upended then-No. 2 Arizona in Tucson on January 22. Cal moved to the No. 1 ranking in the TYR/CSCAA Poll following strong performances at Arizona and Arizona State. Adrian, one of the world's top spring freestylers, is a two-time defending NCAA champion in the 100y free. He will join La Tourette on Team USA this summer. The Bears also have depth in seniors Martti Aljand and Damir Dugonjic.
Junior Cory Chitwood, a seven-time All-American and the defending NCAA champion in the 200y backstroke, will lead Arizona in Long Beach. Chitwood is seeking his first Pac-10 title. The Wildcats will also look for points from juniors A.J. Tipton, Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or and Kevin Munsch.
USC should start the meet with valuable points from junior diver Harrison Jones, the two-time Pac-10 Champion and All-American who upset the field and won the 3-meter springboard title at the USA Diving Winter National Championships in February. The Trojans return sophomore Clement Lefert, the defending Pac-10 Champion in the 200y freestyle and a 2008 Olympian for France. The two-time All-American is joined by freshman Vladimir Morozov, a former member of the Russian national team who looks to challenge in the sprint events.
Arizona State is led by junior Jesper Akesson, who made an immediate impact in the butterfly and freestyle sprint events last year after transferring from Wayne State. Junior Yutaro Yamashita looks to score points for the Sun Devils in the mid-distance and butterfly races. ASU will look for point production from its top divers - Constantin Blaha, Riley McCormick and Cameron Bradshaw.
Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara will make their first appearances at the Pac-10 Championship as affiliate members in men's swimming and diving. Cal Poly is led by senior Peter Kline, who last season became the Mustangs' first qualifier for the NCAA Division I Championships since Cal Poly elevated to Division I in 1994. Kline broke the school record in the 200y IM (1:47.82) in the prelims at the 2010 NCAA Championships.
Juniors Kevin Ferguson, Tim Freeman and Chris Peterson anchor the UC Santa Barbara squad. The Gauchos won 23-consecutive Big West Conference titles from 1979-2001. Ferguson is a two-time Big West champion in the 100y backstroke. All three swam on the winning 200y and 400y medley relay teams at last year's Big West Championship.