Cal Takes To Open Water In Tiburon Mile

Sept. 14, 2004

BERKELEY, Calif. -

Sun., Sept. 19	at Tiburon Mile	Tiburon, CA	9:00 a.m.

The 2004-05 California men's swimming team will send a contingent of Golden Bears to compete in the Tiburon Mile Sunday, Sept. 19, at 9 a.m. in Tiburon. The sixth-annual event spans one nautical mile from Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay to downtown Tiburon. It benefits the Marin chapter of the Special Olympics.

Cal officially begins its season with a home meet against Florida State at 1 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 22, at Spieker Aquatics Complex.

Olympians Alex Lim and Renato Gueraldi and fellow 2003-04 senior Jeff Natalizio are gone, but they leave behind an experienced group led by seniors Duje Draganja Caleb Rowe and John Dorr, junior Milorad Cavic and sophomores Rolandas Gimbutis and Jonas Tilly. Draganja was an NCAA finalist in the 50 and 100 freestyle events and joined Cavic in the top three in the 100 butterfly. All four veterans played important roles in Cal's strong relay teams at the Pac-10 and NCAA Championships. Draganja, Cavic, Tilly and Gimbutis will lead a strong group of swimmers, including freshmen Joe Whittington and William Copeland, in the sprint freestyle and butterfly events. Whittington, from Bakersfield, Calif., competed in the 50 freestyle at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials, while Copeland is the Virginia state record-holder in the 50 and 100 free. Cal Olympians Daniel Lysaught and Miguel Molina lead the way in the freestyle's middle distances. The biggest holes to fill will be in the backstroke events, which Lim and Natalizio anchored over the past few years. Sophomore Chris Gibson could get help from a nine-man freshmen class in the backstroke, with Louis Vayo and Mark Eckert likely candidates to swim the back and IM events. Vayo, of Placentia, Calif., competed in the 100 and 200 back, the 200 free and the 200 IM at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials. Freshman Zac Monsees, who currently plays for the Cal men's water polo team, is a strong contender in the 400 IM.

2003-04 RECAP
Duje Draganja had a standout performance at the 2004 NCAA Championships, where Cal took seventh place. He took second in the 100 freestyle in 46.64 and fourth in the 50 free (21.61), and helped the Bears take fourth in the 400 medley relay (Alex Lim, Caleb Rowe, Milorad Cavic and Draganja in 3:30.82) and third in the 200 medley relay (Lim, Cavic, Ricky Barbosa and Draganja in 1:35.02). Cavic (50.81) and Draganja (51.56) finished 2-3 in the 100 butterfly, behind only the world record-setting swim of Ian Crocker (49.07). The Texas and eventual U.S. Olympic swimmer broke the world record Cavic set the previous December. At the Pac-10 Championships, Cal finished second (773 points) for the third straight year. Individually, Draganja won the 50 free (19.17) and 100 free (Pac-10 meet record 41.96) and Cavic won the 100 fly (Pac-10 and meet record 45.44). The Bears dominated the relays, winning the 400 free relay (Rolandas Gimbutis, Jonas Tilly, Cavic and Draganja in 2:52.75) for the fifth straight time, the 400 medley relay (Lim, Barbosa, Cavic and Draganja in 3:07.31), the 200 free relay (Draganja, Cavic, Renato Gueraldi and Tilly in 1:17.23) and the 200 medley relay (Lim, Rowe, Cavic and Draganja in 1:25.16).

Twelve current and former Golden Bears competed at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens this summer. Returning senior Duje Draganja was the only medallist, winning the silver for Croatia in the 50 freestyle in 21.94. Other Bears who competed were returning swimmers Ricky Barbosa (Brazil), Milorad Cavic (Serbia & Montenegro), Rolandas Gimbutis (Lithuania), Daniel Lysaught (Australia), Miguel Molina (Philippines) and Jonas Tilly (Sweden) and former Bears Renato Gueraldi (Brazil), Bart Kizierowski (Poland), Gordan Kozulj (Croatia), Alex Lim (Malaysia) and Ratapong 'Nuk' Sirisanont (Thailand).

Nort Thornton, who was inducted into the ASCA (American Swimming Coaches Association) Hall of Fame in September of 2002, enters his 31st season as the director of the California men's swimming team. Thornton, the dean of all Pac-10 swimming coaches, led the 2003-04 Golden Bears to a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Championships. A true indication of Thornton's success is the fact that Cal has finished in the Top 10 nationally in 25 of the 30 years he has been at the helm of the Golden Bears program. In addition, Thornton has led the Bears to two national championships - back-to-back titles in 1979 and 1980 - and produced a stellar cast of All-Americans.

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