No. 3 Cal Ready for 2003 NCAA Championships

March 24, 2003

The 2002 Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year, Anthony Ervin, and Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year, Duje Draganja, lead the University of California men's swimming team (6-1, 3-1) at the 2003 NCAA Men's Swimming Championships in Austin, TX. The meet, hosted by the University of Texas, is Thursday through Saturday (Mar. 27-29). Swimming preliminaries begin at 11 a.m. and finals start at 7 p.m. each day.

The Golden Bears will send 13 swimmers-three seniors, two juniors, three sophomores and five freshmen-to compete in 16 of the 18 events. The participants include seniors Anthony Ervin, Joe Bruckart and Quentin Byma, juniors Alex Lim and Jeff Natalizio, sophomores Duje Draganja, John Dorr and Caleb Rowe and freshmen Michael Cavic, Rick Barbosa, Matt Lyon, Miguel Molina and Jens Thiele.

Senior Joe Bruckart is the captain of the Bears' 2002-03 team. Bruckart has been an NCAA Championships participant in each of his collegiate seasons. Recently, he garnered his first Pac-10 Championship titles ever-winning the 200 IM in a school record time of 1:44.49 and winning the 200 free (1:34.46) in Cal's second-fastest time ever. Senior Anthony Ervin has been the Bears' leader by example during his time in Berkeley. One of the world's finest sprinters, Ervin is vying for his fourth-consecutive 100-yard freestyle national title. He recently became the Pac-10's 50 (19.28) and 100 free (42.62) champion and is a leading contender for conference swimmer of the year honors for the second consecutive season. Senior Quentin Byma's progress throughout this season has been impressive. Coming into the 2002-03 season with career bests of 55.30 in the 100-yard butterfly and 2:01.53 in the 200 fly, Byma shaved seconds off of both marks, now boasting times of 54.97 and 1:59.88, respectively.

Cal's 2003 squad is a young team, evident by its five freshmen who will compete at this season's national championship meet. Freestyler/Butterflyer Michael Cavic broke the school record in the 100-yard butterfly (46.10) by over six-tenths of a second. The previous record was 46.79 set by Dan Lindstrom in 1999. At the Dallas Morning News Invitational, Cavic was named the Most Outstanding Swimmer after helping Cal to a first-place finish at the meet, in January. Matt Lyon is another swimmer who has made impressive strides in his debut season. With a season-best time of 20.09 in the 50 free, Lyon has helped carry on Cal's penchant for top sprinters. Rick Barbosa posted Cal's top time in the 100 breaststroke (54.50) this season. That mark stands as the fifth-fastest in Cal history. Fellow frosh, Miguel Molina, has also helped the Bears. A swimmer of Philippine decent from Tokyo, Japan, Molina is one of Cal's most versatile swimmers, swimming the Bears' fastest time in the 400 individual medley (3:49.77) this season. Rounding out the newcomers is Jens Thiele from Hamburg, Germany. Thiele dislocated his hip in the fall and opted to forgo surgery, working hard in rehabilitation instead. It seems to have worked, as Thiele swam the Bears' second-fastest times of the season in the 100 back (47.84) and 200 free (1:39.58).

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 205-80 (.719). 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.

With 13 swimmers headed to Texas, Cal totals the second most representatives at the NCAA Championships among Pac-10 schools. Only Stanford has more swimmers competing at the meet, with 16. USC will send 12 swimmers, while Arizona and Arizona State send seven swimmers apiece. Washington has three swimmers set to compete at the championships.

Full meet results will be available each day at these websites: and Complete Cal recaps will be available at, and the 2003 season photo galleries are also available on the Bears' official school website.

Last year, the Bears finished sixth (271 points) at the NCAA Championships, with Texas winning the national title. Cal came away from that elite meet with eight swimmers earning All-America honors. Four of those All-Americans return, led by three-time NCAA Champion Anthony Ervin. With three-consecutive 100 freestyle titles to his credit, Ervin has the opportunity this year to become the Bears' first-ever men's swimming four-time NCAA champion. Ervin was Cal's only individual title winner, claiming the 100 free in a new American, NCAA, U.S. Open, pool and school record time of 41.62. One of the world's top sprinters, Ervin also earned a runner-up finish in the 50 free (19.10) and helped Cal's 400 free relay team (Draganja, Ervin, Matt Macedo, Mattias Ohlin) to a national championship title, as well. Sophomore Duje Draganja was national runner-up in the 100 free (42.22) and swam the lead-off leg in Cal's title-winning 400 free relay. Junior Alex Lim also earned a runner-up finish, his in the 100 back (46.05). Senior captain Joe Bruckart competed in the 200 free and 200 IM events for Cal last season. In addition to the Bears' 400 free relay title, Cal posted a second-place finish in the 200 free relay. This year, Cal currently holds the top 400 free relay time in the nation (2:51.43) and the second-best time in the 200 free relay (1:17.92).

For the second consecutive year, Cal finished second (730.5 points) to perennial Pac-10 Champion Stanford (879 points) at the 2003 Pac-10 Swimming Championships. The Cardinal have now won 21 consecutive conference championship titles. The Bears' second-place showing was minor compared to the major accomplishments the team made. Seniors Anthony Ervin and Joe Bruckart completed their final Pac-10 seasons in style, each garnering two Pac-10 titles. Ervin proved to be the conference's top sprinter with championship victories in the 50 (19.28) and 100 (42.62) free. His time in the 50 free stands as the fastest in the nation this season, while his 100 time is the second-fastest behind teammate Duje Draganja's 42.61 mark. Bruckart won the 200 IM in a new Cal school record time of 1:44.49. His victory in the 200 free (1:34.46) was the second-fastest time swam in that event in Cal history. Freshman Michael Cavic was the Bears' other individual champion at the conference meet. Cavic set a new Pac-10 Championships record with a winning time of 46.32 in the 100 fly. Ervin, Bruckart and Cavic, along with Draganja and freshman Matt Lyon also helped Cal to Pac-10 titles in the 200 (1:17.92) and 400 free relays (2:51.43).

Cal is ranked No. 3 in the latest CSCAA Top 25 poll behind No. 1 Stanford and No. 2 Auburn. Cal nearly recorded a perfect dual meet regular season, until a 173-122 loss in its final meet against Stanford on Feb. 22. The 2002-03 squad won its opening meet against Pacific and then recorded two top-five finishes at the Pacific Invitational (4th) and Texas Invitational (2nd). The team then reeled off five straight victories and a first-place finish at the Dallas Morning News Invitational.

Name Event Ht. Wt. Yr. Ex. Hometown (Last School)Henrique Barbosa Breast 6-4 192 Fr. HS Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil (California HS)Joe Bruckart FR/IM/FLY 6-2 175 Sr. 3V Jamul, CA (Valhalla HS)Quentin Byma Breast/IM 6-1 175 Sr. 3V Vista, CA (Rancho Buena Vista HS)Mike Cavic Fr/Fly/Bk 6-5 195 Fr. HS Tustin, CA (Tustin HS)John Dorr Free/IM 6-1 160 So. 1V Lafayette, CA (Las Lomas HS)Duje Draganja Free 6-5 170 So. 1V Split, Croatia (Vladimir Nazor School)Anthony Ervin Free 6-2 165 Sr. 3V Valencia, CA (William Hart HS)Alex Lim FLY/BK/IM 5-7 160 Jr. 2V Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia (The Bolles School)Matt Lyon Free 6-2 162 Fr. HS Oakland, CA (Miramonte HS)Miguel Molina Free/IM 5-8 142 Fr. HS Tokyo, Japan (St. Mary's International HS)Jeff Natalizio Back 5-10 165 Jr. 2V Santa Ana, CA (Irvine HS)Caleb Rowe Breast 6-1 190 So. 1V Wailuku, Maui, HI (H.P. Baldwin HS)Jens Thiele Free/Back 6-1 162 Fr. HS Hamburg, Germany (CPG Hamburg)

50 Freestyle: Anthony Ervin (19.28), Michael Cavic (19.69), Duje Draganja (19.84), Matt Lyon (20.09), Jens Thiele (20.24)100 Freestyle: Duje Draganja (42.61), Anthony Ervin (42.62), Michael Cavic (43.28), Joe Bruckart (43.42), Jens Thiele (44.43), Matt Lyon (44.78)200 Freestyle: Joe Bruckart (1:34.46)500 Freestyle: John Dorr (4:22.89), Miguel Molina (4:25.14)100 Backstroke: Alex Lim (46.63), Jens Thiele (47.84), Anthony Ervin (48.46), Jeff Natalizio (48.70)200 Backstroke: Alex Lim (1:43.30), Jeff Natalizio (1:44.16)100 Breaststroke: Rick Barbosa (54.50), Quentin Byma (54.97), Caleb Rowe (55.28)200 Breaststroke: Caleb Rowe (1:58.06), Quentin Byma (1:59.88), Rick Barbosa (2:00.46)100 Butterfly: Michael Cavic (46.10), Duje Draganja (46.44), Alex Lim (46.76)200 IM: Joe Bruckart (1:44.49), Jeff Natalizio (1:47.18), Caleb Rowe (1:49.80)400 IM: Miguel Molina (3:49.77), John Dorr (3:49.78)200 Free Relay: 1:17.92 (Cavic, Draganja, Evin, Lyon) seeded second400 Free Relay: 2:51.43 (Bruckart, Cavic, Draganja, Ervin) seeded first800 Free Relay: 6:28.60 (Bruckart, Dorr, Molina, Thiele) seeded ninth200 Medley Relay: 1:26.36 (Byma, Cavic, Ervin, Lim) seeded third400 Medley Relay: 3:09.84 (Barbosa, Cavic, Draganja, Lim) seeded fourth

Now on Pac-12 Network
7:30 AM PT

Airing on:

  • Pac-12 Network
Get Pac-12 Networks
Pac-12 Networks Channel Finder

Before you proceed please complete the captcha below.