No. 4 Men's Swimming Travels to Pac-10 Championship

Feb. 20, 2007

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The fourth-ranked California Golden Bears will travel to the Pac-10 Championships in Federal Way, Wash., on Feb. 21-24. The Bears finished out the dual meet season with a 169-131 loss at home to Stanford on Feb. 10. The divers competed at the Pac-10 Championships, Sam Helvie finished fifth on the three-meter.

The Pac-10 men's swimmers will converge on Federal Way, Wash., on Feb. 21-24, for the 2007 Pac-10 Swimming Championships, hosted by Arizona. The event will be held at the Weyerhaeuser King Aquatics. Admission to the championship is free. At last year's championships, Stanford won the meet (880.0), as the Golden Bears finished in second with 769.0 points. USC (530.0) followed in third, as Arizona (519.0), Arizona State (352.0) and Washington (188.0) rounded out the meet. Arizona's Simon Burnett was named Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year, while Stanford's Nate Cass received Newcomer of the Year honors. Stanford's head coach, Skip Kenney, picked up his sixth-straight Coach of the Year award.

The Pac-10 swimming championship results will be posted on the Pac-10 website (, as well as on the Arizona website ( at the conclusion of each event.

The fourth-ranked California men's swimming team could not muscle past No. 2 Stanford on a rainy afternoon in Berkeley. The Cardinal got the best of the Golden Bears, defeating Cal 169-131, at Spieker Aquatics Center. The Bears quickly got out in front with a first-place finish in the 200 medley relay. The squad of David Russell, Richard Hunter, Jernej Godec and William Copeland won the event with its time of 1:25.88, edging Stanford's second-place team (1:26.60) by 1.28 hundredths of a second. On his senior day, Daniel Lysaught finished second in the 1000 free with his time of 9:06.22. Aaron Casey finished behind Lysaught in third (9:15.65) and Michael Jafari was fourth (9:23.70). Dominik Meichtry won his fifth 200 free title of the season, edging teammate freshman Nathan Adrian (1:34.51), by 1.2 hundredths, winning 1:34.51. Meichtry, however, could not hold off the nation's leading time-holder Stanford's Shuan Phillips in the 500 free, as Phillips edged Meichtry (4:21.36) to win the race with his time of 4:19.81. In the 100 back, David Russell notched second place with his time of 47.52. Mark Eckert finished behind Russell in third with his time of 47.99. Guy Barnea came in fifth with his time of 48.20. Also on his senior day, Patrick O'Neil put on the jets to win his last Cal dual meet 200 fly with his time of 1:44.98. Matt Scanlan (1:47.82 - fourth) and Justin Pollard (1:48.41 - fifth) were also in the race. The Bears finished two-three in the 50 free. Jernej Godec placed second with his time of 19.55, as William Copeland finished behind Godec in third after posting a 19.80. Copeland also finished second in the 100 free with his time of 43.45. Adrian (43.78) and Joe Whittington (44.07) finished third and fourth, respectively. In the 200 back, Russell finished second, as he did in the 100 back, with his time of 1:44.27. Eckert finished fourth after posting 1:44.72 in the race. Godec won his fourth 100 fly of the season, after being clocked at 47.06 in today's race. O'Neil finished third with his time of 47.69. Louis Vayo finished the 200 IM second with his time of 1:48.21, as Eckert finished behind Vayo in third (1:49.07). In the last event of the meet Cal finished second in the 400 free relay. The group of Adrian, Copeland, Godec and Meichtry finished the race at 2:53.51. Because of the meet coinciding with the Pac-10 Diving Championships, the Cal men's divers dove against Stanford during the women's Cal-Stanford match-up on Feb. 3. Sophomore sensation Sam Helvie won the one-meter with his mark of 329.70. However he finished second on the three-meter with his mark of 342.67.

The Arizona men are ranked No. 1 in four of five relay events, nationally. The Wildcats recorded the top times at the 2006 Texas Invitational in December. Arizona is led by Albert Subirats, who has won four individual events, after recording an Arizona school record in both the 100 back (45.90) and 100 fly (45.00) at the Texas Invitational. He has posted an automatic qualifying time in the 100 free with one of the fastest times in the nation.

The Sun Devils are led by senior CJ Ness was clocked at the runner-up against Arizona in the 1000 free, .45 behind winner Matt Biel of Arizona his season. Ness also swam personal bests in the 500 and 1650 at the Texas Invite. Against Cal and Michigan this season he swam a dual-meet best in the 100 free, 200 breast and 400 IM.

The powerful Cardinal are kept in pace behind Hongzhe Sun, who has set NCAA 'A' qualifying marks in the 200 fly (1:44.00), 100 back (47.29), 200 back (1:41.98) and 200 IM (1:46.19). As Stanford seeks its 26th straight Pac-10 championship, it will need to utilize Sun and Shaun Philips, who holds the fourth best time in the nation in the 200 free (1:34.84) and also has set his NCAA qualifying mark in the 500 free (4:16.31) and 1650 free (14:51.77).

NO. 7 USC:
The USC Trojans return seven of their eight All-Americans from last season. Again senior Larsen Jensen has provided an edge for the Trojans in the distance events. Jensen has clocked automatic times in the 500 free (4:17.59) and 1650 free (15:28.19), along with his preliminary times in the 200 free (1:37.57).

Anchoring Washington this season are Jared Osborne, Henry Hudson and Scott Spansail. In their last meet against Seattle and Simon Fraser, Osborne won the 100 back (52.91) and 100 fly (50.87), while Hudson clinched the 200 back (1:53.25) and 200 IM (1:55.83) titles. Spansail capped off Washington's double event winners, picking up wins in the 500 free (4:35.34) and 1000 free (9:37.59).

This season junior Dominik Meichtry has racked up five 200 free titles, including his 1:34.51clocking against Stanford in the last dual meet of the season, where he put on the jets in the final 50y to beat teammate freshman Nathan Adrian and Stanford's Andy Grant. Meichtry's time of 1:34.76 he set at the Husky Invitational in December is the nation's third best time. At the Pac-10 Championships, Meichtry will go against four of the top six national time holders, including: Arizona's Adam Ritter (second-best time, 1:34.30) and Jean Basson (fifth-best time, 1:35.04), also Stanford's Shaun Phillips (fourth-best time, 1:34.84) and Andy Grant (sixth-best time, 1:35.38). Last year at the Pac-10 Championships, Meichtry finished second (1:34.31), behind Pac-10 Champion Arizona's Simon Burnett (1:33.26). He also placed third at the NCAA Championships in the event with his time of 1:33.75. Burnett also won the NCAA title in the 200 free with his time of 1:31.20.

Junior Dominik Meichtry picked up his fifth individual title in the 500 free against USC. He beat USC's Larsen Jensen, by 4.13 seconds, with his winning time was 4:19.47. At the Dallas Morning News Invitational, he won the event with his time of 4:19.26. Against Arizona State he won the 500 free with his time of 4:26.34. At the Husky Invitational, in early December, he swam a season-best in the 500 free of 4:18.72, which stands seventh nationally on the best time list. His first victory in the 500 free was against Cal State Bakersfield after being clocked at 4:32.43.

During last year's season, Jernej Godec set his Cal career-time of 19.58 in the 50 free. This season he broke that time in the prelims of the 50 free at the Husky Invitational and has since won the event three times. In the prelims, at the Husky Invitational, the junior swam his career-best 19.52, winning his heat. That time is the nation's fifth best time of the year. He followed up his performance with a second-place finish after being clocked at 19.85 in the finals. He has shown strength in the race after the Husky Invitational, with his latest win against USC (19.91). Against Arizona in the 50-long course free he won with a time of 23.62. Against Arizona State and Michigan, Godec finished second with his time of 20.49. Then at the Dallas Morning News Invitational, Godec won the race with his time of 19.95.

On his senior day, senior Patrick O'Neil secured his fifth individual honor of the season in the 200 fly. The Roseburg, Ore., native won the event with his season-best time of 1:44.98 (10th best time in the nation). Also matching his personal best in the 200 fly of 1:44.00, he set in the prelims of the 200 fly at the 2005 Pac-10 Championships. He also captured the 200 fly titles this season at the Husky Invitational (1:46.40), against Arizona State, Michigan (1:48.92), at the Dallas Morning News Invitational (1:46.75), and USC (1:46.33). In his final season in Berkeley, he has also won one 100 fly title and one 200 IM title.

A + Adrian:
A major addition to the Bears, freshman Nathan Adrian has already made a statement in his opening campaign. Adrian has captured titles in the 200 free (twice), 50 free (once) and 100 free (once). His 100-free time of 44.27 from the Texas/Indiana meet is the team's top time in that event. Adrian has also swam the first leg of the Bears' 400-free relay team, which has won the event at four consecutive competitions (Cal State Fullerton, Texas/Indiana, Stanford Relays and Husky Invitational), including the team's best time of 2:54.17 at the Husky Invitational.

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 United States' 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 33rd 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 10th 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 Golden Bear swimmers and divers who qualified for the NCAA Championships will prepare to compete in Minneapolis, Minn., on March 8-10.

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