Pac-10 Swimmers and Divers Travel to 2011 NCAA Men's Championships
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - Swimmers and divers from all seven Pac-10 teams are headed to the 2011 NCAA Championships this week at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis, Minn. The meet runs from March 24-26. Five Pac-10 schools have combined for 21 NCAA titles, with USC claiming nine overall and STANFORD holding eight of its own. ARIZONA was the most recent to climb the podium in 2008.
Winner of 30-straight Pac-10 titles, the No. 2 Cardinal looks for its first national title since 1998. Stanford finished fourth one year ago. Thirteen swimmers and one diver have been invited to Minneapolis. Thirteen swimmers and one diver have been invited to Minneapolis. Senior Austin Staab, the 2009 NCAA Champion in the 100 butterfly, enters the meet seeded first in the event as well as the 200 individual medley. Junior Chad La Tourette, looking to defend his 1650 freestyle title from last year, is seeded second. Senior diver Brent Eichenseer, an All-American on the platform in 2009, will compete in all three events in his final NCAA meet.
No. 1 California, last year's runner-up, sends 18 swimmers to Minnesota, including senior Nathan Adrian, the two-time defending NCAA Champion in the 50 free and last year's 100 free winner. Adrian is the top seed in both sprint events. Sophomore Tom Shields, named Swimmer of the Meet at the 2011 Pac-10 Championships, holds the top seed in the 200 fly after breaking the NCAA record at the league meet, finishing in 1:40.31. Shields won the 100 fly at the 2010 NCAA Championships. The Golden Bears hold the top four seeds in the 100 breaststroke, led by 2010 NCAA winner, senior Damir Dugonjic. Cal also has the top times in the 200 free, 200 medley and 400 free relays.
Sixth-ranked ARIZONA is led by junior Cory Chitwood, who won the 2010 NCAA title in the 100 backstroke. Chitwood is seeded third in both the 200 back and 200 IM. The Wildcats will have a squad of 15 at the meet. Junior Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or may swim in six events this week. He enters the 200 free as the sixth seed. The NCAA Championships mark head coach Frank Busch's final meet with Arizona as he will take over as USA Swimming's National Team Director in May after 22 years in Tucson.
No. 7 USC has 12 swimmers and two divers who have been invited to Minneapolis. Sophomore Clement Lefert, a two-time All-American and the 2010 Pac-10 Champion in the 500 free, is the fifth seed in both the 200 and 500 free events. Freshman sprinting star Vladimir Morozov is seeded second in the 100 free behind Nathan Adrian. Both divers, senior Steven Starks and junior Harrison Jones, have competed at the NCAA meet each year since joining the Trojans.
CAL POLY senior Peter Kline will compete in the 200 back and 200 and 400 IM events. A year ago, Kline became the Mustangs' first qualifier for the NCAA meet since the program elevated to Division I in 1994. UC SANTA BARBARA junior Chris Peterson has qualified in the 50 and 100 free.
ARIZONA STATE sends three divers to Minnesota. Juniors Constantin Blaha and Cameron Bradshaw will compete in the 1 and 3-meter events. Sophomore Riley McCormick will compete in all three events. McCormick was the runner-up on the platform at last year's NCAA Championships.
For more information on the 2011 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships, please visit http://www.ncaa.com/championships/swimming-men/d1.