No. 6 Cal Opens New Year with Busy Week

Jan. 2, 2005

The No. 6-ranked California men's swimming team (2-0) opens 2005 with an appearance in the Snow Flake Invitational on Monday, Jan. 3, in Colorado Springs, Colo., before taking on UNLV and hosting No. 9 Michigan in a pair of meets later in the week. The Cal divers also return to action at home against the Wolverines.

Cal was ranked No. 6 in the latest national poll and No. 8 in the latest CSCAA national poll.

UNLV (3-1) hosts Cal and North Carolina on Thursday, Jan.6, in a tri-meet at Buchanan Natatorium in Las Vegas, Nev. One of the Rebels' big stars is Canadian Joe Bartoch, who won the 100-meter butterfly (54.68) on Dec. 5 at the U.S. Open Championships. The junior also took 16th (53.70) in the 100-meter fly at the World Short Course Championships last October. The Rebels are coming off a third-place finish among 10 teams at their own UNLV Winter Invitational, which ended Dec. 20.

Like Cal, Michigan also has a busy week, competing at USC on Tuesday, Jan. 4, and at Stanford on Friday, Jan. 7, before facing the Bears. Leading the Wolverines is All-American and U.S. Olympian Peter Vanderkaay, who won a gold medal as part of the winning 800-meter freestyle relay in Athens, Greece. More recently, the junior won the 500-yard free in an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 4:15.32 at the Texas Invitational in early December. Michigan took fourth place in Austin, Texas, to edge fifth-place Cal, in its last competition of 2004.

Cal rode a solid performance to take fifth place at the Texas Invitational held at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swim Center Dec. 2-4. The Golden Bears finished with 414.50 points, while the host Longhorns won their meet with 764.50 points.

The Cal A team won the 200 free relay on the first day in an NCAA B qualifying time of 1:20.14. The squad of sophomore Rolandas Gimbutis, sophomore Jonas Tilly, junior Matt Lyon and freshman Joe Whittington just edged USC's A squad, which swam a 1:20.20. Gimbutis later added a fourth-place showing (20.19) in the 50 free in another NCAA B qualifying time. Gimbutis had Cal's best performance on the final day, taking third place in the 100-yard freestyle with an NCAA B qualifying time of 43.97. Swimming in the consolation final of the 100 free, Tilly took 10th-place overall with another NCAA B qualifying time (44.25).

In Athens, Ga., Cal senior diver Louie Gagnet finished third (534.75 points) on the three-meter springboard, fourth (289) on the one-meter board and fifth (434.70) on the platform Dec. 3-5 at the Georgia Invitational.

2004-05 RECAP

Daniel Lysaught led the Golden Bears to a repeat performance as the college team champion in the Tiburon Mile on Sept. 19 in Tiburon. The Australian swam the best time among college men, with a 20:43, and took seventh-place overall in the race, which spanned one nautical mile from San Francisco Bay to downtown Tiburon. The Bears won the team title with 103 points.

Cal opened the 2004-05 college season with a 171-127 victory over No. 24 Florida State on Oct. 22, at Spieker. Cal won 11 of the 14 events. Diver Louie Gagnet, a former Seminole who won the one- and three-meter springboard events, was the only Bear to win multiple events. He scored 346.20 points, a school record, on the one meter and 337.425 on the three meter. In another competition with FSU on Oct. 23, Gagnet set a school record (590.10) for an 11-dive three-meter event.

Cal swept the 200 butterfly, won by sophomore Patrick O'Neil (1:49.06). Senior John Dorr (1:51.55) took second place and freshman Justin Pollard (1:52.49) was third. Cal's Chris Gibson, Caleb Rowe, Rolandas Gimbutis and Matt Lyon opened the meet by winning the 200 medley relay in a time of 1:32.22. Bears sophomore Daniel Lysaught won the day's first individual event, the 1000 freestyle, in 9:11.91. Other Cal winners included Alexander Holdridge in the 200 free (1:40.62), Gibson in the 100 backstroke (50.82), Graham Lentz in the 100 breaststroke (56.41), Lyon in the 50 free (20.95), Rowe in the 200 breast (2:03.57), John Foster in the 500 free (4:31.26) and Jernej Godec in the 100 fly (49.49).

Cal won 15 events and repeated as champion of Pacific's Speedo Invitational, with a total of 1,181 points, Oct. 29-30 in Stockton, Calif. Several Golden Bears had outstanding swims, including freshman Louis Vayo, the meet's top scorer, with 67 points. The product of Placentia, Calif., who was fourth in the 500 freestyle and fourth in the 200 individual medley on Day 1, won the 400 IM in 3:58.83 and was second in the 200 butterfly (1:55.70) on Day 2 of the meet, which was swum in short course yards.

Cal won 16 of 19 events in a non-scoring meet with Cal State Bakersfield on Nov. 6 at Spieker. Two Bears won three individual events ? freshman Jernej Godec won the 50 butterfly (22.51), the 100 fly (50.36) and 200 fly (1:55.67) and junior Miguel Molina won the 100 IM (52.26), the 200 IM (1:51.66) and the 400 IM (3:55.68). John Dorr, Rolandas Gimbutis and freshman Dominic Cathey each won two events, at the meet, which was swum in short course yards. Dorr owned the middle- and long-distance freestyle events, winning the 500 (4:40.86) and 1000 (9:54.34). Typically a freestyler, Gimbutis won the 100 back (52.36) and 200 back (1:55.11). Cathey won his first two events of the season, taking the 100 breaststroke (59.80) and 200 breaststroke (3:55.68).

Cal won four out of six categories and split the relays with No. 2 Stanford at the Triple Distance Meet held at Stanford's Avery Aquatics Center on Wednesday, Nov. 17. John Dorr won the IM category with a combined time of 6:40.28. Rolandas Gimbutis won the sprint freestyle category, with a combined time of 2:43.42. Henrique Barbosa took the breaststroke category in a combined time of 3:25.35. Daniel Lysaught won the distance free in a combined time of 15:30.11. The Cal A team won the 400 free relay (2:58.52), while Stanford won the butterfly, the backstroke and the 400 medley relay (3:19.49).

Cal throttled Pacific, 158-86, in a dual-meet on Saturday, Nov. 13 at Spieker Aquatics Complex. The Golden Bears collected all 158 points through the first 10 events and swam the final four races as exhibitions. Underclassmen won eight of the 12 individual events. After the freshmen-dominated Cal A team of Mark Eckert (freshman), Henrique Barbosa (junior), Jernej Godec (freshman) and Joe Whittington (freshman) won the 200 medley relay in a time of 1:32.67, freshman John Foster won the 1000 free in 9:21.56.


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 213-81 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, now 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 has also worked with Milorad Cavic, who, with Draganja, finished 2-3 in the 100 fly at the 2004 NCAA 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.

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