No. 3 Cal Looking for Third Pac-10 Vs. No. 7 USC

Feb. 4, 2003

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After a weekend of rest, the No. 3 University of California men's swimming team (4-0, 2-0) looks to protect its unblemished record against No. 7 USC at Spieker Aquatics Complex Friday at 1 p.m. The Golden Bears are just two duel meets away from the end of the regular season. The team then heads to Long Beach, Calif. for the Pac-10 Championships Mar. 6-8.

The Cal-USC duel meet series is the third-longest in the Bears' history. Only Stanford (104) and Pacific (65) hold longer competition records. The Bears and Trojans have competed against each other in 60 duel meets, with USC holding a considerable lead in the win column, 48-12. Cal, however, has won the past two duel meets, which also took place in Berkeley.

Cal posted a victory over the Sun Devils in its opening meet of the Pac-10 season. The Bears left Tempe with a 178.5-121.5 win by capturing 11 of the 16 events. Seven different Bears won individual events for Cal, with sophomore Caleb Rowe and junior Alex Lim tallying two victories apiece. Rowe won the 100 (55.99) and 200 breast (2:01.97), while Lim placed first in the 100 back (47.14) and 100 fly (48.36). The Bears' sprinters were also impressive, as senior Anthony Ervin won the 50 free (20.16) and sophomore Duje Draganja claimed the 100 free (44.26). The distance freestylers also swam well, as freshmen Miguel Molina and Ryan Lean won the 500 (4:34.26) and 1000 free (9:22.22), respectively. Cal had a tougher time in Tucson, but pulled out the 127-115 win over the Wildcats. Seniors Joe Bruckart and Ervin, and Rowe earned wins for the Bears. Bruckart won the 200 IM (1:49.68), Ervin won the 100 free (45.18) and Rowe won the 200 breast (2:01.42). Cal also swept the relays.

The No. 7 USC Trojans are 5-1 overall with a 2-0 record in Pac-10 duel meets. The Trojans have wins over both Arizona State and Arizona. Cal has competed against USC once this season already. Both teams were participants at the Texas Invitational in early December. The Bears finished second in that meet (637.50 points), while the Trojans finished fourth with 578 points. Cal's team features the best sprinters in the nation, but USC answers with 2002 NCAA Men's Swimmer of the Year, Erik Vendt. Vendt is one of the U.S.' premier distance freestylers and currently holds the country's top times in the 500 (4:17.06) and 1000 free (8:51.03), and 400 IM (3:41.49). A three-time NCAA Champion, Vendt and freshman Ous Mellouli are the only Trojans to have already posted NCAA automatic qualifying this season.

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 duel meet record of 204-79 (.721). The 2002 Bears 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.

Top 10 Times in the Nation
(individual events-1/29/03)

50 Free
2. Michael Cavic, 19.81
3. Duje Draganja, 19.91
10. Anthony Ervin, 20.16

100 Free
1. Duje Draganja, 42.61
2. Michael Cavic, 43.28

100 Back
2. Alex Lim, 46.83
8. Michael Cavic, 48.05

200 Back
2. Alex Lim, 1:43.30

100 Breast
5. Ricky Barbosa, 54.50

100 Fly
1. Alex Lim, 46.76
2. Michael Cavic, 46.86
3. Duje Draganja, 47.41

200 Fly
7. Alex Lim, 1:45.96

200 IM
7. Joe Bruckart, 1:48.41

Top 3 Times in the Nation
(relay events-1/29/03)

200 Free Relay
1. Cal, 1:19.60

400 Free Relay
1. Cal, 2:52.86

200 Medley Relay
1. Cal, 1:27.08

400 Medley Relay
2. Cal, 3:12.15

Relay events count for twice as many points as individual events at the Pac-10 and NCAA championships.

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