Sixth-ranked Men's Swimming Hosts Alumni Meet and Cal State Bakersfield

Oct. 24, 2006

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The No. 6 California Golden Bears will host their first home meet of the 2006-07 season on Saturday, Oct. 28. The Bears and Cal State Bakersfield will dual it out starting at 9 a.m. at Spieker Aquatics Complex. Both swimmers and divers will compete. Two weeks ago, Cal defeated Pacific in its opening meet, 143-108, in Stockton, Calif., on Oct. 13.

The Division II Roadrunners will come to the Berkeley campus to open their first meet of the new season. Last season Cal State Bakersfield finished with a 4-4 record. Three of their losses came against top-ranked Stanford, third-ranked Cal and fourth-ranked Southern California. At the NCAA Championships, Piotr Gegotek won the 200 yard-freestyle, finished third in the 100 freestyle and finished fourth in the 50 freestyle.

On Friday, Oct. 28 at 2:30 p.m. (PT) Cal will host its annual alumni meet. The diving competition will begin first, at 2:30 p.m., with the swimming races starting promptly at 3:30 p.m. (PT). There will be three teams composed of the Blues (Alumni) - captains will be Scott Greenwood and Ryan Lean. The Golds will be composed of the upperclassman (junior/seniors) - the captains will be Patrick O'Neil, Graham Lentz and Richard Hunter. The Whites will consist of the underclassmen (freshmen/sophomores) - the captains will be Nathan Adrian, Matthew Benoit and Matt Scanlan.

On Friday, Oct. 13, the Bears squared off against Pacific in its first dual meet of the season. The Bears defeated the Tigers 158-98. Cal won 11 events, including both the 200 freestyle relay and the 200 medley relay. The freshmen started off their Cal careers on fire, as Nathan Adrian won the 200 freestyle and Adrian Casey won the 1000 freestyle. The Bears also built new relay teams, which swept both the 200 free and 200 medley relays.

In their first collegiate meet, Cal's new freshmen got off to an exciting start, as Nathan Adrian (200 free) and Adrian Casey (1000 free) won their respective races. Troy Nissen finished second (59.53) in the 100 breast and Brooks Haller placed third (2:12.48) in the 200 breast.

Against Pacific, junior Daniel Lysaught finished second behind Cal freshman Nathan Adrian in the 200 free. Lysaught was clocked at 1:39.76 in the race. Last season, he swam the Bears' best times in the 1000 freestyle (8:54.96) and the 1650 (14:58.96). He earned honorable mention All-American honors at the NCAA Championships with his 10th-place finish in the 500 freestyle and his 11th-place sentence in the 1000 freestyle.

The Bears swept both the 100 and 200 backstroke against Pacific two weeks ago. In the 100, David Russell was clocked at 49.52 to beat out Pacific's Wojciech Betlej who finished second at 51.46. In the 200 back, Mark Eckert won the race with his time of 1:47.89. Betlej finished second (1:49.15) in the 200 also.

At last year's NCAA Championships, the men's 200-yard freestyle team placed third (1:16.72). In their opening meet this season, the Bears were eight seconds off from their time at last year's championships. The team of William Copeland, Patrick O'Neil, Dominic Cathey and Guy Barena won the race at 1:24.51, edging Cal's other team of Nathan Adrian, Daniel Lysaught, Mark Eckert and Ian Lentz, which finished second at 1:24.60.

Cal returns 10 All-Americans from last season. Those swimmers include junior William Copeland (200-medley relay, 200-free relay, 400-free relay, 100 free), junior Jernej Godec (200-medley relay, 200-free relay, 100 fly, 50 free, 400-medley relay), junior Dominik Meichtry (200 free, 500 free, 800-free relay), senior Daniel Lysaught (500 free, 1650 free), senior Patrick O'Neil (200 fly, 100 fly), sophomore David Russell (400-medley relay), junior Louis Vayo (800-free relay, 200 back), junior Garrett Wagner (400-free relay, 800-free relay, 200 free) and junior Joe Whittington (200-free relay) .

In August, senior Patrick O'Neil was rewarded a spot on the 2007 Pan Am Games swimming team. The games will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 17-22, 2007.

Nort Thornton, who was inducted into the ASCA (American Swimming Coaches Association) Hall of Fame in September of 2002, enters his 32nd season as the director of the California men's swimming team. Thornton led the 2005-06 Golden Bears to a sixth-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 27 of the 32 years he has been at the helm of the Golden Bears program. Thornton, the dean of all Pac-10 swimming coaches, 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 226-82 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. Thornton is assisted by co-head coach Mike Bottom. Bottom, now in his 10 season in Berkeley, has established himself as one of the world's top sprint coaches. Under his tutelage, former Bear Duje Draganja became one of the top sprinters in the world. The Croatian took silver in the 50 freestyle at the 2004 Athens Olympics and won five titles at the 2005 NCAA Championships. Bottom has also worked with former Cal All-American Milorad Cavic, who swam on three 2005 championship relays (200 free, 400 free and 200 medley). Cavic also finished second, and Draganja was third, in the 100 fly at the 2004 NCAA Championships. Former Cal sprinter Rolandas Gimbutis was also a part of the winning 2005 relays and, individually, placed fifth in both the 50 and 100 frees at last season's NCAA Championships. This season, Tom Davidson, joins the aquatics program as the diving coach. Prior to Cal he was the diving coach at Illinois State. While at Illinois State Davidson guided Emily Hirt to her first ever NCAA Zone diving championship. Hirt placed in the top 40 regionally with a score of 204.05 on the three-meter board, but did not advance to the final round.

The Bears will travel to Austin, Texas, to compete against No. 4 Texas and No. 12 Indiana. The contest will run from Friday, Nov.3 to Saturday, Nov. 4.

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