Durden Signs 5 Swimmers to Letters of Intent

Nov. 24, 2008

BERKELEY - California signed five talented swimmers to National Letters of Intent, Golden Bears head coach David Durden announced on Monday. The signees include second-generation Bears Chris Packer and Nick Trowbridge, whose father, Todd, won an NCAA title as part of Cal's triumphant 800-yard freestyle relay in 1982, and Tom Shields, who competed in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, Austin Brown and Ben Hinshaw.

The five will join Cal next year to work with Durden and his staff, which includes assistant coach Greg Meehan, head coach emeritus Nort Thornton and strength and conditioning coach Nick Folker.

'We are very pleased to have Austin, Ben, Chris, Tom and Nick join our team for next year,' Durden said. 'Greg, Nick, Nort and myself are excited to have the opportunity to work with such quality young men. We are thankful for all of the California club and high school coaches that have impacted and developed these young men into the athletes and people they are today. As these young men leave their legacy on high school swimming in the state of California this year, we are excited that they are continuing to impact California swimming through their performances as Cal Bears!'

Here is a look at Cal's signees:

Austin Brown
6-0, 155
Redlands, Calif.
Redlands HS
Redlands Swim Team

The Southern California product is a 10-time high school All-American (2006-08) and a 2008 two-time CIS-SS Division I high school champion in the 100-yard backstroke and 200-yard medley relay. His top times include 55.04 in the 100-meter butterfly (long-course meters), 2:03.68 in the 200 butterfly (LCM) and 4:00.99 in the 400-yard individual medley.

'There is an energy on deck, in the pool and around campus that is amazing,' Brown said. 'Cal has earned the highest respect in their academic and aquatic programs, and I look forward to being a part of both traditions.'

Ben Hinshaw
6-0, 160
Saratoga, Calif.
Saratoga HS Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics (PASA)

A member of the U.S. junior national team (2008-09), Hinshaw is a five-time All-American and was named a scholastic All-American in the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons. He joined fellow PASA member and Cal recruit Nick Trowbridge on the winning 800-freestyle relay in the Speedo Junior National Championships last August. His top times include 2:03.34 in the 200-meter butterfly, 1:52.93 in the 200-meter freestyle, 2:05.58 in the 200-meter individual medley, 4:25.13 in the 400-meter IM, 15:51.29 in the 1500-meter freestyle, 4:25.72 in the 500-yard freestyle, 9:12.12 in the 1000-yard freestyle, 1:49.29 in the 200-yard IM and 3:53.71 in the 400 IM.

'I chose Cal because it has a great swim team, exciting atmosphere and an excellent education,' Hinshaw said.

Chris Packer
6-5, 185
Belvedere, Calif.
Branson HS
North Bay Aquatics

Packer, whose mother, cousin and grandfather all graduated from Cal, earned All-America status with his third-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle (46.35) and fourth-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle (21.12) in the North Coast Section Championships last spring. Packer was also the 100-free NCS champ in 2007 (46.26) and a member of the North Bay Aquatics silver-medal winning 200-yard medley relay (1:32.6) at the 2008 NCSA Junior National Championships. He brings top times of 20.90 in the 50 free and 45.44 in the 100 free to Cal.

'I chose to come to Cal because it is the place that I think I will be able to succeed athletically, academically and have a lot of fun in,' Packer said. 'The coaching staff and team are incredible, and Cal is the place that I believe I will be able to take my swimming the furthest.'

Tom Shields
6-3, 190
Huntington Beach, Calif.
Edison HS
Mission Viejo Nadadores

Shields competed in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, posting a time of 55.77 to place 89th in the 100-meter butterfly. Swimming for the U.S. junior national team in the 2008 Victorian Championships in Australia, he held off the now retired Grant Hackett in the anchor leg of the 800-meter freestyle relay to give the United States the win (7:30.86-7:31.29). Formerly a teammate of current Cal junior Aaron Casey on the Irvine Novaquatics club, Shields was the California Sectional Meet champion in the 200 fly and 200 free in 2008. He was also the men's overall top scorer at this year's California Sectional Meet. He brings top times of 1:36.5 in the 200-yard free, 47.57 in the 100-yard fly and 1:46.6 in the 200-yard fly to Berkeley.

'I chose Cal because coach Durden and [assistant] coach [Greg] Meehan are assembling a team of very strong young men, a team I want to be a part of,' Shields said. '[Strength and conditioning coach] Nick Folker is awesome and I believe in the immense power dryland [training] gives swimmers. All around, I just knew between the school, the coaches and most of all the team that Cal was the place for me.'

Nick Trowbridge
6-3, 175
Los Altos, Calif.
Mountain View HS
Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics (PASA)

Trowbridge joined fellow Cal signee and club teammate Ben Hinshaw on the winning 800-meter freestyle relay in the Speedo Junior National Championships last August. Also a PASA teammate of current Cal swimmers Mark Prior and Liv Jensen, Trowbridge is a four-time individual high school All-American in the 100 freestyle, 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle and 100 backstroke. He swam a1:38.55 to win the 200-yard freestyle title for Mountain View High School in the 2008 Central Coast Section Championships. Both of his parents went to Cal; his father, Todd, was on the Bears' 800-yard freestyle relay that won an NCAA title in 1982. Trowbridge brings top times of 46.33 (100-yard free), 1:38.55 (200-yard free), 9:12.00 (1000-yard free), 49.65 (100-yard backstroke), 1:49.25 (200-yard back), 57.65 (100-meter back) and 2:04.21 (200-meter back) to Cal.

'I initially had several key attributes in mind while looking for a college,' Trowbridge said. 'Cal was my last visit and by then I had seen bits and pieces of the whole that would make a great school and team. While visiting Berkeley, all those parts came together for me, and here I am a proud Bear.'

Cal returns to action when the Bears compete in the Dec. 4-6 Husky Invitational in Federal Way, Wash.

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