California Brings Out Big Guns in Pac-10 Men's Swimming Championships Contention on Day Three

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LONG BEACH, Calif. - In day three of action at the 2011 Pac-10 Men's Swimming Championship at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach, Calif., the Stanford Cardinal held onto its lead, but the California Golden Bears are proving to be tough competition. Through 14 events, Stanford holds a 19 point lead, 599 points to Cal's 580.

Today's evening finals session began with the 400y IM finals, and Stanford sophomore Matt Thompson had tough competition from the 2010 Big West 400y IM champion Peter Kline of Cal Poly. Thompson was able to pull through for the win, finishing at 3:45.01 and Kline took second at 3:45.91. California sophomore Ben Hinshaw rounded out the top three with a time of 3:46.33.

In the 100y butterfly, the final was stacked top to bottom, from the 2010 NCAA champion Tom Shields, to Nathan Adrian, to Stanford's Bobby Bollier. Stanford senior Austin Stabb, the 2009 Pac-10 champion in the event, finished strong, with an Pac-10 meet record and NCAA 'A' qualifying time of 44.66. California's Shields took second with a time of 44.78 and his teammate Graeme Moore took third (46.20).

 In the 200y freestyle, USC came out strong, with freshman Dimitri Colupaev winning his first Pac-10 title with a time of 1:34.05. Stanford senior Jake Allen finished in second (1:34.28) and USC senior Clement Lefert rounded out the top three (1:34.39).

 The 100y breaststroke proved to be huge for the Golden Bears, as they swept the top four places. Senior Damir Dugonjic took first (52.36), junior Nolan Koon took second (52.69), senior Nick Ferrif in third (52.76) and senior Martti Aljand came in fourth (52.74). Through event 11, Cal cut Stanford's leaf to just 45 points, 502 to 463.

In event 12, the 100y backstroke, the Bears passed Stanford, in overall points, thanks to a first place finish by Tom Shields on an NCAA 'A' qualifying time of 45.65, a fourth place finish by senior Guy Barnea (47.04), a sixth place finish by junior Chris Rogers (47.18) and an eighth place finish by Mathia Gydesen (47.63) in the championship heat. Stanford only had a fifth place finish in the championship heat by Matthew Swanston (47.12). The Golden Bears took full advantage of their top finishes and overtook Stanford through event 12 for first place in the meet with 527 points to Stanford's 519 points.

However, Stanford's lead was short-lived, for after the addition of the men's 3 meter diving points, Stanford was again back in front with 565 points to California's 540 points.

In the final event of the day, the 400y medley relay, California came up with 40 big points, as the foursome of Gydesen, Dugonjic, Shields and Adrian finished first with a stellar time of 3:05.29, an NCAA 'A' qualifying time. Stanford finished in second with a time of 3:07.20 from Swanston, Criste, Stabb and Coville. Arizona rounded out the top three with a time of 3:09.09 from Tolic, Wyman, Jordens and Shapira Bar-Or.

Through 14 events, Stanford leads with 599 points, California is in second with 580, USC in third with 339, Arizona in fourth with 336, Arizona State in fifth (190), UCSB in sixth (115) and Cal Poly in seventh (114).

The Pac-10 championships will resume on Saturday, March 5 for the final day of competition. The men's 1650y free, 200y backstroke, 100y free, 200y breaststroke, 200y fly and the 400y free relay on tap. The 2011 champion will be crowned tomorrow night and we will find out once and for all if the Cardinal has what it takes to win its unprecedented 30th-straight title.