Cal Takes On Top Ranked Michigan

Jan. 7, 2003

GOLDEN BEARS HOST NATION'S No. 1 TEAM: The No. 4 University of California men's swimming team (1-0) hosts two dual meets this weekend, taking on No. 1 Michigan (4-0, 1-0) Saturday and unranked Cal State Bakersfield (2-1) Friday. Both meets start at 1 p.m. at Spieker Aquatics Complex.

BEARS BEST WOLVERINES IN CA: Cal owns just a 3-5 record against Michigan, but has fared well against the Wolverines when playing in the Golden State. The Bears were victorious in both previous home meets against Michigan and notched another win versus the Wolverines in a meet hosted at USC. The last meeting against the two teams was January 6, 2001, when the Bears defeated UM 130-113 in Berkeley. Cal's history with Cal State Bakersfield is somewhat less notable, as the Bears and Roadrunners have faced each other just once, a 141-102 Cal victory in 1986.

LAST COMPETITION: Cal finished second at the Texas Invitational to close out the fall segment of the 2002-03 season. The Bears' 637.50 point total was the runner-up to Texas' 721. Cal broke several invitational records, won seven overall events, notched five runner-up finishes and posted numerous NCAA automatic and consideration qualifying times. The Bears were led by junior Alex Lim, who set two meet records-100 fly (46.76) and 100 back (46.83). He also bested the previous 200 back record, as he (1:43.40) and Texas' Aaron Peirsol (1:41.34) both overcame the former mark of 1:43.38. Freshman Michael Cavic also broke the previous 100 fly record, finishing second behind Lim, with a time of 46.86, while the Bears' 400 free relay team (2:52.86) smashed the previous invitational record of 2:55.05.

2002 FALL REVIEW: Cal made the most out of its fall swim meets. The Bears started the 2002-03 season off right, posting a 163-91 victory over the Pacific Tigers at home in early October. Cal captured every event in that meet, with freshmen Cavic, Ryan Lean and Jens Thiele victorious in two events apiece. The squad was next in action at the Pacific Invitational in Stockton, CA. The Bears (353.50) finished fourth in the Division I category behind Stanford (1,085.50), Brigham Young (605) and Pacific (443). The team hosted a triple-distance exhibition meet against Stanford in late November. The nontraditional meet featured each swimmer's combined times over an event with the best total performance marking the winner. Cal won the backstroke and sprint freestyle categories. The Bears' final meet of 2002 came at the Texas Invitational where Cal broke several meet records and won seven overall events. Diving highlights include senior Nic Bartolotta's win in the one-meter springboard (609.35) event at the USC Diving Invitational held in early November.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS: Michigan has earned its first No. 1 ranking since the 1994-95 campaign when it manned the nation's top spot in the polls for the entire season, culminating in the Wolverines 11th overall NCAA title. This season, Michigan boasts an undefeated 4-0 record. Senior Garrett Mangieri is the Wolverines top sprinter holding season best times in the 50 free (20.90) and 100 free (44.74), while sophomore Chuck Sayao is a strong Imer with season best marks in the 200 (1:51.65) and 400 IM (3:55.96). Freshmen Peter Vanderkaay and Chris DeJong are the team's best distance freestyler and backstroker respectively. Vanderkaay has UM's top times in the 500 free (4:20.55), 1,000 free (9:02.00) and 1,650 free (15:02.42), while DeJong has best marks in the 100 (49.49) and 200 back (1:44.18). Cal State Bakersfield, the three-time defending NCAA Division II Champion, is 2-1 with wins over UC Irvine and San Diego. The Roadrunners lone loss was to UC Santa Barbara. Two NCAA individual champions return from last year's squad in seniors Vlasta Burda (200, 500 and 1000 free) and Jacob Fraire (200 and 400 IM).

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.

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