No. 3 Cal Hosts Cal State Bakersfield

Nov. 2, 2004

BERKELEY, Calif. -

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The No. 3-ranked California men's swimming & diving team (1-0) hosts defending Division II champion Cal State Bakersfield on Saturday, Nov. 6, at Spieker Aquatics Complex. The starting time for the dual meet is approximately 12:15 p.m., depending on the end of the Cal men's water polo match vs. UC Davis, which starts at 10 a.m. also at Spieker Aquatics Complex.

The Golden Bears have a 10-0 dual-meet record against Cal State Bakersfield. Their last scored dual meet, a 111-68 Cal win, was on Nov. 5, 1999. Last season, Cal competed in a non-scoring triathlon meet in Bakersfield, where the Bears won 17 of 22 events.

Lance Cansdale is in his first year of coaching Cal State Bakersfield, which competes at Stanford on Friday before coming to Berkeley. Like Cal, the Roadrunners competed at Pacific's Speedo Invitational in Stockton, Calif. The Roadrunners won the non-Division I competition, with 944.50 points, in a field that included Seattle University and UC Santa Cruz. Senior Matt Jones won the non-Division I individual crown with 80 points, 13 points more than Cal's Louis Vayo had to win the Division I title. Jones won the 200 IM (1:55.45) 400 IM (4:10.99), 100 backstroke (52.28) and 200 backstroke (1:52.75).

Other Bakersfield winners included senior Mike Trujillo in the 100 freestyle (46.93), Piotr Gegotek in the 200 free (1:43.10), Carl Crawford in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.90) and Mark Soho in the 50 free (21.53). The `Runners won the 200 medley relay (1:36.80), 400 medley relay (3:30.38), the 200 free relay (1:24.43), 800 free relay (7:03.17) and the 400 free relay (3:06.42). The latter time was faster than Cal's Division I-winning 400 free relay time (3:06.74).

Cal won 15 events last weekend and repeated as the Division I champion of the University of Pacific's Speedo Invitational, with a total of 1,181 points. Host Pacific was second with 709 points, and UC Davis was third with 353 points.

Several Golden Bears had outstanding swims, including freshman Louis Vayo, the meet's top Division I scorer with 67 points. The product of Placentia, Calif., who was fourth in the 500 freestyle and fourth in the 200 individual medley Friday, won the 400 IM in 3:58.83 and was second in the 200 butterfly (1:55.70) Saturday at the meet, which was swum in short course yards.

Cal sophomore Rolandas Gimbutis won two individual events - the 100 freestyle (44.09) and 200 freestyle (1:40.08) - and was a member of two winning relays. The 6-10 native of Kaunas, Lithuania, swam the third leg of the 200 medley relay (1:34.83) and anchored the 400 freestyle relay (3:06.74). Sophomore teammate Jonas Tilly, from Trelleborg, Sweden, won the 50 free (21.08), the 100 butterfly (51.28), took second to Gimbutis in the 100 free and also swam on the winning 200 medley relay and 400 free relay.

Other top performers for Cal included junior Henrique Barbosa, who won the 100 breaststroke (56.52) and took third in the 400 IM (4:08.34); freshman Jernej Godec, who won the 100 backstroke (51.21), finished second in the 100 fly (51.37) and swam third on the 800 free relay (6:51.44); freshman Justin Pollard, who won the 200 fly (1:53.90) and was sixth in the 200 free (1:44.67); sophomore Graham Lentz, who won the 200 breaststroke (2:03.61) and was second in the 100 breaststroke (57.50); sophomore Chris Gibson, who won the 200 backstroke (1:50.39), was fourth in the 100 fly (52.13) and led off the winning 200 medley relay; sophomore Daniel Lysaught, who won the 500 freestyle (4:29.38); and senior John Dorr, who won the 200 IM (1:51.23).

A large incoming class could help boost Cal back into the top five teams in the country. The Bears bring in a strong contingent of swimmers who will keep them strong in the sprints. Freshmen Jernej Godec, who swam in Slovenia's 4x100 freestyle relay at the 2004 Athens Olympics, Joe Whittington, who competed in the 50 freestyle at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials, Chris Talbott, who won the last two Central Coast Section 200 freestyle titles, Justin Pollard, the 2004 CCS 50 free champion, and William Copeland, the Virginia state record-holder in the 50 and 100 free, will help fill the void in the sprint freestyle events until Cavic and Draganja return. The biggest holes to fill over the course of the season will be in the backstroke, which Lim and Natalizio anchored over the past four years. Cal will look to freshmen Louis Vayo and Mark Eckert as likely candidates to join sophomore Chris Gibson in swimming the backstroke. Earlier this year, Eckert won Hawaii state titles in the 100 backstroke and 200 IM, while Vayo competed in the 100 and 200 back, the 200 free and the 200 IM at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials. Freshman Zac Monsees is a contender in the 400 IM. But both Monsees and Talbott play for the Cal men's water polo team and will join the swim team when the water polo season is over. Michael Jafari joins Lysaught and junior Ryan Lean in the distance freestyle events; Jafari's best times in the 1000 and 1650 would have ranked third and second, respectively, on Cal's 2003-04 team. Javier Rivas, the Southern Pacific Association Diver of the Year from 1998-2003, and Mark Wes, an Atherton product who took sixth at the 2002 Central Coast Section Championships, bolster Cal's divers.

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, former and future 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. Others who competed were returning swimmers Henrique Barbosa (Brazil), Milorad Cavic (Serbia & Montenegro), Rolandas Gimbutis (Lithuania), 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). Freshman Jernej Godec swam for Slovenia in Athens.


HEAD COACH Nort Thornton
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. The veteran coach has an impressive 212-81 career dual meet record, has been National Coach of the Year twice and has been the Pac-10 Coach of the Year four times, most recently in 1999.

California co-head swim coach Mike Bottom, in his eighth season in Berkeley, has established himself as one of the world's top sprint coaches. Last season, he and head coach Nort Thornton directed Cal to a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Under his tutelage, Duje Draganja has become one of the top sprinters in the world. The Croatian took silver in the 50 freestyle, behind Gary Hall Jr., another Bottom-coached swimmer, at the 2004 Athens Olympics and more recently won bronze in the 50 butterfly at the 2004 World Championships. Bottom's work coaching sprinters began in the 1990s and expanded to include several of the top swimmers in the world, including former Bears Anthony Ervin, Gordan Kozulj and Bart Kizierowski. Internationally, Bottom's sprinters have won various Olympic medals and World and European Championships.

Ron Kontura was hired Aug. 10, 2004, to take California's diving program to the world-class level. Kontura brings a decade of elite club and collegiate experience to Berkeley. Kontura was both the diving coach and director of business operations of Nadadores Diving in Mission Viejo, Calif., from 2002-2003. Kontura earned his Master's in Business Administration from Illinois State University in 1999 and his Bachelor's in Business Administration from Ohio University in 1991.