Cal Opens 2008-09 Season on Saturday at Pacific

Oct. 8, 2008

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This Week
The California men's swimming team opens the 2008-09 season in a dual meet against Pacific on Saturday, Oct. 11, in Stockton, Calif. The Golden Bears divers will make their season debut in the Oct. 30 dual meet against Washington, as there will be no diving in the Pacific meet. Second-year Cal head coach David Durden has another talented squad, including Beijing Olympic gold-medalist Nathan Adrian, fellow 2008 Olympians Martti Aljand, Guy Barnea, Damir Dugonjic and Martin Liivamaagi, and a large cast of All-Americans including David Russell, Sean Mahoney and Graeme Moore.

This will mark a homecoming for Cal first-year assistant coach Greg Meehan, who was previously the head coach of the Pacific swimming teams.

2007-08 in Review
The Bears had a sterling season in David Durden's first year. Led by a third-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay, and then-sophomore Sean Mahoney's third-place finish in the 200 breaststroke on the final day of competition, then-11th-ranked Cal placed fourth in the NCAA Championships in Federal Way, Wash.

The Bears had a total of six top-five national finishes and set school records in the 200 and 400 medley relays as well as in the 100 backstroke by junior David Russell, who finished third in the 100 backstroke in 45.42. Cal garnered 332.5 points and trailed only Arizona (500.5), Texas (406) and Stanford (344).

Under the direction of diving coach Tom Davidson, Cal divers impressed in the NCAA Zone E Championship. Junior Sam Helvie captured second place (708.00) on the one-meter springboard and was eighth (610.80) on the three-meter board. Freshman Taylor Dehn was 10th (572.45) at three meters and 11th (547.45) at one meter, and freshman Thomas Henninger was ninth (573.40) at one meter and ninth (580.75) at three meters.

In the Pac-10 Championships, the Bears won six conference crowns. Cal produced winners in the 50 and 100 free (senior William Copeland, whose 19.47 in the 50 free was the seventh-fastest time in school history), the 200 back (Russell), the 400-medley relay (school-record 3:06.84; Russell, freshman Damir Dugonjic, senior Jernej Godec, Copeland), the 200-free relay (1:17.99; Copeland, Godec, senior Joe Whittington, freshman Graeme Moore; ninth-fastest time in school history) and the 200-medley relay (school-record 1:25.09; Russell, Dugonjic, Godec, Whittington).

Current Bears in Beijing
Nathan Adrian, now a sophomore, was part of a strong Cal contingent that competed in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing this past summer. Adrian won a gold medal as part of the record-setting U.S. 4x100-meter freestyle relay. The Bremerton, Wash., product led off the preliminary race for the United States, recording a split of 48.82 as part of a then-world record time of 3:12.23. He watched as the U.S. team won the final in a new world-record time of 3:08.24.

Sophomore Martti Aljand, swimming for Estonia, was 46th (2:16.52) in the 200-meter breaststroke, sophomore Guy Barnea (Israel) was 16th (54.93) in the 100 backstroke, sophomore Damir Dugonjic (Slovenia) was 16th (1:00.92) in the 100 breaststroke and freshman Martin Liivamaagi (Estonia) was 34th (2:03.56) in the 200 individual medley.

Next Week
Cal returns to Stockton on Oct. 17 for the Pacific Invitational.

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