Top-Ranked Cardinal Win 22nd Consecutive Pac-10 Title
March 8, 2003
Long Beach, Calif. - The top-ranked Stanford Cardinal recorded their 22nd straight Pac-10 Men's Swimming championship this evening and recorded a sweep of the top three spots in the 200 backstroke on the final day to help them in their effort. The team total score of 879 was more than enough to sustain their streak of successive conference titles dating back to 1982.
The 2003 Championships concluded at the Belmont Olympic Pool with California finishing second with 730.5 points followed by USC (619 pts.) in third, Arizona State (439 pts.) in fourth, Arizona (392.5 pts.) in fifth, and Washington (181pts.) in sixth.
For the third straight year, USC's Erik Vendt came away with the Pac-10 title in the 1650 freestyle, this time in Pac-10 meet record fashion. The national leader in the event, Vendt clocked a 14:35.97 to better the previous mark of 14:36.32 set by Ryk Neethling of Arizona in 2000. Matt Sorlien of Stanford placed third with a 15:05.87. Teammate Mike McLean finished fourth (15:09.96).
Stanford claimed the top three finishers in the 200 backstroke, with Dan Westcott taking the championship in 1:40.71, just shy of the Pac-10 record of 1:40.59 set by Lenny Krayzelburg of USC in 1997. Markus Rogan (1:41.74) took second while Peter Marshall (1:43.43) touched third. All three times are automatic NCAA 'A' qualifying times. Freshman Tobias Oriwol won the consolation final (seventh overall) with a time of 1:45.09.
Anthony Ervin, the three-time defending NCAA champion in the 100 freestyle, won the duel with fellow Golden Bear Duje Draganja at this year's Pac-10s by touching the wall in 42.62, just two-hundredths of a second before his teammate. Draganja, who won the Pac-10 title in the 100 free last year, clocked a 42.64 to surrender his conference crown to Ervin. Randall Bal of Stanford (43.17) came in third. All three of those athletes earned automatic NCAA qualification. Cardinal Bobby O'Bryan took sixth with a time of :43.77 - an NCAA 'B' time.
In the 200 breaststroke finals, Michael Bruce of Stanford set a new Pac-10 meet record of 1:55.70 to give him first-place. Bruce now holds the Pac-10 meet and conference records, as he already held the overall league mark of 1:54.81 that he set last season. Senior Pat Fowler (1:59.60) and sophomore Thomas Brown (2:00.77) placed sixth and seventh respectively.
In the closest event of this weekend's meet, the 200 butterfly produced a race where only 1.2 seconds separated first place from eighth. J.D. Abercrombie of USC (1:45.04) edged out Cardinal Matt McDonald (1:45.09) for the conference title, while Jeff Lee of USC finished third (1:45.26). Dan Trupin (1:45.37) and Jayme Cramer (1:46.86) finished 1-2 in the consolation final for Stanford.
The final event of the 2003 Pac-10 Championships saw California's 400 free relay come in first place with a 2:51.43. Stanford's relay team of Randall Bal, Peter Marshall, Scott Ransenberg and Bobby O'Bryan came in just behind in 2:52.95. Cal and Stanford earned NCAA 'A' times for their efforts.
The swimmers that have qualified will take part in the 2003 NCAA Men's Swimming & Diving Championships, March 27-29 in Austin, Texas.