No. 2 Cal Hosts ASU, No. 5 Arizona in Final Home Meets

Jan. 17, 2006

BERKELEY, Calif. -

THIS WEEK:Fri., Jan. 20 vs. Arizona State at 1 p.m. in Berkeley, Calif.Sat., Jan. 21 vs. Arizona at noon in Berkeley, Calif.

The second-ranked California men's swimming & diving team (3-0) begins the New Year with its last two meets of a brief home schedule. The Golden Bears also open their Pac-10 season when they face Arizona State at 1 p.m. on Friday and host Arizona at noon on Saturday at Spieker Aquatics Complex. The Bears, who hosted the Cal Invitational, an all-comers meet, last weekend, haven't participated in collegiate competition since the Texas Invitational Dec. 1-3, 2005, in Austin, Texas.

Cal freshman Matt Scanlan (mono) is out.

Cal moved up one spot to second place in the latest College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) national top 25 rankings. Defending NCAA champion Auburn is ranked No. 1, Stanford is No. 3, Michigan is No. 4 and Arizona is No. 5.

Arizona State is 2-4 (0-1 Pac-10) after a 176-124 dual-meet loss to eighth-ranked Minnesota on Jan. 14 in Tempe, Ariz. ASU has lost four straight meets after opening the season by beating Hawaii (136-105) and UC Santa Barbara (173-161). Decorated All-American diver Joona Puhakka returns for his final season as a Sun Devil. Puhakka, a Finnish Olympian (2000 and 2004) who won both springboard events at the NCAA Championships last year, was the 2005 Pac-10 and NCAA Diver of the Year. The Pac-10 named Puhakka its Diver of the Month this October.

Against the Golden Gophers, ASU won seven of 16 events. Sun Devil sophomore C.J. Nuess won two events - the 1000-yard freestyle (9:13.49) and the 400 individual medley (1:51.33) - and Puhakka also won two events - the one-meter springboard (426.80) and three-meter board (434.77). Other winning Sun Devils were senior David Kolozar (1:48.83, 200 butterfly), senior Joey Clements (2:04.53, 200 breaststroke) and sophomore Lucas Azevedo (4:29.61, 500 free).

Cal has a 22-4 record in the all-time series with Arizona State. That includes a 149-125 victory over the Sun Devils last year in Tempe, Ariz. Michael Chasson is in his eighth year as head coach of ASU.

Arizona, which takes on Stanford on Friday before facing Cal on Saturday, currently has a 3-0 record (2-0 Pac-10) after wins over USC (138-103), UC Santa Barbara (116-79) and Washington (145-116). Coach Frank Busch brings 10 All-Americans and 200-yard freestyle defending NCAA champion Simon Burnett to face Cal, which beat the Wildcats, 136-97, last year in Tucson, Ariz. The Bears have a 21-3 record in the all-time series with Arizona.

Against the Huskies, Arizona won nine events: the 200-yard medley relay (senior Burnett, sophomore Ivan Barnes, senior Lyndon Ferns and freshman Ryan Richardson, 1:30.97), 200 freestyle (senior Tyler DeBerry, 1:40.96), 100 backstroke (junior Adam Ritter, 51.48), 100 breaststroke (Barnes, 55.62), 50 free (Ferns, 20.59), 100 free (Burnett, 45.32), 100 butterfly (Albert Subirats, 49.13), 200 individual medley (Ferns, 1:53.69) and the 200-free relay (Ritter, Subirats, senior Dave Rollins, Burnett, 1:22.50).

John Collier was the Pac-10 November Diver of the Month after the senior won both the one-meter (318.55) and three-meter (373.55) springboards in a dual meet against USC and won the one-meter (331.15) and took second on the three-meter (348.85) boards in the USC Trojan (diving) Invitational.

LAST TIME OUT: HELVIE WINS PLATFORM IN TEXASThird-ranked California claimed fifth place at the Texas Invitational, held Dec. 1-3, 2005, at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Austin, Texas. The Golden Bears ended the competition with 336 points, behind first-place Arizona (623 points), host Texas (619) USC (486) and Michigan (474).

Cal freshman Sam Helvie won the platform diving final on Dec. 3. Helvie, from Bakersfield, Calif., had a score of 282.85 to beat a field that included sophomore teammate Javier Rivas, who took fourth (254.60) on the platform. Helvie, with his first collegiate victory, was the only Bear to win an individual event at the annual competition. Rivas was also fifth on the three-meter springboard (294.35) and sixth on the one-meter board (260.00).

Other Cal highlights from the Texas Invitational included the Bears' second-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay. The Cal A squad swam the 200 free relay in an NCAA consideration qualifying time of 1:19.19 and finished as the runner-up behind the Arizona A team (1:18.56). The Cal A team also swam an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 1:28.98 to take third in the 200 medley relay.

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