April 25, 2005
BERKELEY, Calif. - California named seniors Duje Draganja and Louie Gagnet its Most Valuable Swimmer and Most Outstanding Diver, respectively, on Sunday night at the Golden Bears' team banquet. Draganja, a 2004 Croatian Olympian, is coming off a season in which he won five NCAA titles, while Gagnet competed in three events at the NCAA Championships in March.
Draganja also earned the team's Most Inspirational award. The product of Split, Croatia, concluded a four-year career by winning two individual crowns - the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard freestyle - and helping the Bears win three relays - the 200 freestyle relay, 200 medley relay and 400 free relay - in a fourth-place team finish at the NCAA Championships in Minneapolis. Draganja set a slew of new records in a brilliant all-around performance. He set a new Cal mark in the 100 fly (45.39) and NCAA, U.S. Open and Cal records in the 100 free (41.49). Draganja also set a Cal record with a second-place finish (19.01) in the 50 free.
The 200 free relay's time of 1:15.78 set new NCAA, NCAA Meet, U.S. Open, Pool and Cal records. The 200 medley relay's time of 1:25.30 set a new school record and the 400 free relay's time of 2:47.70 set new NCAA, U.S. Open and pool records.
Gagnet was the only Cal men's diver who competed at the NCAA Championships, taking 17th (286.85) on the one-meter springboard, ninth (547.50) on the three-meter springboard and 10th (473.20) on the platform. At the NCAA Zone E Regional in Oklahoma City earlier in March, Gagnet took third (625.35) on the one meter, fourth (539.50) on the three meter and fourth (465.50) on the platform to qualify for the championships.
The Cal coaches - head coach Nort Thornton, co-head coach Mike Bottom and volunteer assistant coach Bart Kizierowski - gave the Coaches Award to junior Milorad Cavic. The latter joined Draganja on the NCAA-winning 200 free, 200 medley and 400 free relays. Cavic and Draganja also helped the 400 medley relay take fifth place (3:08.54). Individually, Cavic took ninth in the 50 free (19.41) and ninth (45.56) in the 100 fly.
Senior Caleb Rowe, who took ninth (53.79) in the 100 breaststroke and 10th (1:55.78) in the 200 breast at NCAAs, earned the Recruiter of the Year honor. Rowe also joined Cavic and Draganja on the fifth-place 400 medley relay (3:08.54) in Minneapolis.
Redshirt freshman Paul Hernandez earned the Scholar Award.
California Team Awards
Most Valuable Swimmer - Duje Draganja
Most Inspirational - Duje Draganja
Coaches Award - Milorad Cavic
Recruiter of the Year - Caleb Rowe
Scholar Award - Paul Hernandez
Most Outstanding Diver - Louie Gagnet