Men's Swimming Competes at Texas Invitational
Dec. 3, 2002
BEARS TRAVEL TO AUSTIN FOR MULTI-SCHOOL EVENT: The No. 5 Cal men's swimming team (1-0) travels to Austin, Texas to participate in the Texas Invitational, Dec. 5-7. Several teams will compete in the meet, including fellow Pac-10 squads Arizona, Arizona State and USC. The Golden Bears will also swim against Harvard, Hawaii, Indiana, TCU, host Texas and Wisconsin. Preliminaries begin at 10 a.m. each day with finals at 6 p.m.
A LOOK BACK: Last season, Cal placed fourth at the Invitational with a point total of 480.50. Junior Alex Lim led the Bears, winning three individual titles in the 200 back (1:43.43), 100 fly (47.43) and 100 back (47.42), and posting NCAA qualifying times in each event.
LAST COMPETITION: The Golden Bears last competed in a Cal-Stanford triple distance meet on Nov. 20. Cal won the backstroke and sprint freestyle events in a competition that was not officially scored. Junior Alex Lim finished first in the backstroke category, with a time of 2:55.13 over three events, swimming the 50 (22.37), 100 (47.24) and 200 (1:45.52). Sophomore Duje Draganja won the sprint freestyle category (2:42.93) with leading times in all three events, 50 (19.91), 100 (44.04) and 200 (1:38.98). Prior to the exhibition swim against the Cardinal, the Bears previous competition was at the Pacific Invitational. Cal finished fourth in the invite with a score of 353.50.
2001-02 REVIEW: Anchored by 2000 Olympic gold medallist Anthony Ervin, Cal finished the regular season with a 6-2 overall record and 3-1 mark against Pac-10 competition. Eight Bears earned All-American status, including 2002-03 returnees, Ervin, Bruckart, Duje Draganja, and Alex Lim. Cal finished sixth at the 2002 NCAA Championships, led by Ervin's national titles in the 100 free (41.62) and the Bears' 400 free relay victory (2:50.01). Ervin won the 100 free NCAA title for the third consecutive year (it was the 100-meter free in 2000) and broke his own NCAA, American and U.S. Open records he had shared with former Bear Matt Biondi. Draganja was the national runner-up in the 100 free with a time of 42.22. Other impressive showings at the championships included Lim's runner-up finish in the 100 back (46.05) and Ervin's second-place finish in the 50 free (19.10). At the Pac-10 Championships, the Bears squad finished second with 708.5 points to Stanford's 918. The team won an individual title-Draganja's victory in the 100 free (42.82)-and the 400 free relay title, as the team of Mattias Ohlin, Draganja, Macedo and Ervin turned in a 2:51.08 performance. Cal also had runner-up finishes in the 50 free (Ervin, 19.43), 400 medley relay (3:09.92), 200 medley relay (1:27.43) and 100 and 200 breast (Bayani Flores, 54.82 and 1:58.61, respectively).
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS: Seven of the nine teams Cal competes against are ranked in the top 25 Collegiate Swimming Coaches Association poll. Arizona, the No. 15 team in the nation, is 0-2 on the season after falling to Wisconsin and USC. Arizona State is ranked 11th in the country and is 1-2 after posting a win over UNLV, but losing to Auburn and USC. This meet marks the Bears first against No. 22 Harvard, and it is also the first time Cal will compete against No. 24 Hawaii since 1985. Texas, USC and Wisconsin round out the ranked teams in the Invitational as the Longhorns are No. 3, the Trojans No. 6 and the Badgers No. 13. Texas is swimming well this season and holds a 1-1 record after defeating USC, 208-143, but narrowly falling to No. 1 Michigan, 123-120. The Longhorns are three-time defending national champions. USC has posted a 2-1 record after sweeping a double-dual meet against Arizona and Arizona State, but falling to Texas earlier this season. Wisconsin is 5-1 on the season with wins over UW-Stevens Point, Toledo, Iowa, Arizona and Northwestern. The Badgers' lone loss was to Auburn.
HEAD COACH NORT THORNTON: Nort Thornton, the 1999 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, is in his 29th season as the skipper of the Cal men's swimming team. Thornton, the dean of Pac-10 swimming coaches, sports a career dual meet record of 201-79 (.718) with the Golden Bears and his 2002 squad finished sixth at the NCAA Championships. Thornton led Cal to back-to-back NCAA titles in 1979 and 1980, and his teams have finished in the Top 10 nationally 23 of the 28 years he has directed the Bears.