Stanford Extends Lead At Pac-10 Men's Swimming Championships

March 7, 2008

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By Joseph D'Hippolito

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Stanford's Austin Staab and Paul Kornfeld set conference and meet records Friday night while helping the Cardinal extend its lead at the Pacific-10 Conference men's swimming championships at Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool.

Staab won the 100-yard butterlfy in 45.36 seconds to break the Pac-10 standard or 45.44 set by Cal's Milorad Cavic at the 2004 conference championships.

Kornfeld took the 100 breaststroke in 52.43 seconds, surpassing the mark of 52.55 that Stanford's Gary Marshall established at the 2005 Pac-10 meet.

The record-setting performances allowed the Cardinal to extend its lead over second-place Cal by 46 points, 558-512. Third-place Arizona remains in striking distance for the team championship with 509.5 points.

'It's more about the team for me,' Kornfeld said after setting his record. 'We're in a big team battle right now. Setting the conference record was just part of getting my hand to the wall first for the team.'

Kornfeld trailed Cal's Damir Dugonjic after 50 yards, as Staab did against the Golden Bears' Jernej Godec. But both Cardinal swimmers relied on their final 25 yards to win.

'I knew he was going to be out fast; he has incredible speed,' Kornfeld said of Dugonjic, who also qualified for the NCAA championships in the event. 'My plan was just to keep getting faster throughout the whole thing. I nailed my last wall and just went from there.'

Staab followed suit against Godec.

'I've always been a back-halfer in my 100 flys,' Staab said. 'Probably the biggest thing was my last wall. I stayed under longer than anybody else. The Olympians have proven that staying under water is definitely faster than coming up and swimming. I'm really tall and that really helps.'

For Staab, that victory came at the right time.

'It's a real confidence booster because I didn't really have much confidence coming into this meet,' the freshman said. 'I wasn't doing what I wanted to at dual meets. So it's a huge confidence boost going into NCAAs.'

Teammate Justin Dunford will join Staab at the NCAA finals, along with Godec and Arizona's Albert Subirats.

Elsewhere, Cal set a school record in the 400 medley relay when Godec, Dugonjic, William Copeland and David Russell combined to win in 3 minutes, 6.84 seconds. Copeland earned this third winner's medal of the meet. Stanford finished second to join the Golden Bears at the NCAA's in the event.

'I would rather be first in that relay than to get that record, personally,' said Kornfeld, who swam in the 400 medley relay.

Arizona's Darian Townsend also won his third first-place medal of the competition by winning the 200 freestyle and upsetting Cal's Dominik Meichtry, the defending Pac-10 champion and last year's NCAA runner-up.

Townsend won in 1:34.12, beating Meichtry by .34 second. Both qualified for the NCAA's, as did Arizona's Nicholas Nilo and Jean Basson, and Stanford's Daniel Beal. The top five swimmers finished within .76 second.

Another defending champion fell when Subirats defeated Russell by .11 second in the 100 backstroke. Subirats swam in 46.5; Russell in 46.61. Both qualified for the NCAA championships, as did Stanford's Eugene Godsoe.

USC earned its first victory of the meet as Vanni Mangoni won the 400 individual medley in 3:45.71 as the conference's only NCAA qualifier in the event.

Team Standings

1. Stanford University, 558 points
2. University of California Berkeley, 512
3. University of Arizona, 509.5
4. Arizona State University, 258.5
5. University of Southern California, 255
6. University of Washington, 159

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