THIS WEEK: Sat., Jan. 6 Michigan, Spieker Aquatics Complex, Berkeley, CA 1 p.m.
HEAD COACH NORT THORNTON: Nort Thornton, the 1999 Pacific-10 Coach of the Year, is in his 27th season as Cal's head men's swim coach. Thornton, the dean of the Pac-10 swimming coaches, has a career dual meet record of 190-76 (.714) with the Golden Bears and his squad finished fifth in the nation at the 2000 NCAA Championship. Thornton led Cal to back-to-back NCAA titles in 1979 and 1980.
BEAR NOTES: In its last major competition (the Bears swam against the Colorado Springs Swim Club Jan. 2 in Colorado Springs), the No. 6 ranked Cal men's swim team finished in second place (563 points), Dec. 1-3 at the 2000 Texas Invitational. Cal trailed only host and No. 1 ranked Texas (751). On the third day of the Texas Invite, the Bears were paced by sophomore Olympic gold medalist Anthony Ervin, who won the 100 free with an NCAA automatic time of 43.48. Ervin also helped Cal place second in the 400 free relay with an NCAA automatic time of 2:55.36 (Ervin, junior Matt Burny, sophomore Trent Holsman, junior Matt Macedo). The Bears time in the 400 free relay, despite being second to Texas' time of 2:55.34, surpassed the old meet record of 2:55.90 set by Arizona State in 1998. Day two highlights for the Bears included sophomore Daniel Kim winning the 100 breast with a time of 55.14. Cal also excelled in the relays, placing second in both the 200 medley relay (1:29.41 Macedo, Kim, freshman Fabian Friedrich, Ervin) and the 800 free relay (6:37.69 Bruckart, Burny, junior Sean Gruver, Holsman). Day one highlight for the Bears was the 200 free relay team of Macedo, Burny, senior Scott Greenwood and Ervin winning the invitational with a time of 1:19.25. Other top swims in the first day were Ervin placing second (19.57), Macedo fifth (20.46) and sophomore Frank Uxa eighth (20.59) in the 50 free. At this point of the season, Ervin has the nation's top collegiate time in the 100 free (43.10) and the second best time in the 50 free (19.57). Other Bears who have top collegiate times this season include Kim, with the nation's third best time in the 100 breast (55.14), and sophomore Joe Bruckart with the nation's eighth best time in the 200 free (1:38.12). Cal's 200 free relay is the second fastest in the nation (1:19.25), the 400 free relay is the third fastest in the nation (2:55.36), the 200 medley (1:29.41) and 800 free relays (6:37.69) are the fourth fastest in the nation, and the 400 medley relay is the sixth fastest in the nation (3:17.18).
LETTER OF INTENT SIGNEE: The Cal men signed Brooks Jenkins, a 6-5, 190-pound breaststroker/distance freestyler/IMer from California High School in San Ramon, to a national letter of intent for the 2001-02 season. Jenkins has times of 57.30 in the 100 breast, 2:03.40 in the 200 breast and 1:52.22 in the 200 IM. He is also a standout water polo player, earning All-North Coast Section honors this past fall.
NOTING THE OPPONENT: Cal has a 2-5 all-time record against No. 9 ranked Michigan (1-2), defeating the Wolverines in the last meeting between the two schools, 136-106, Jan. 8, 1999 at Spieker Aquatic Complex. Michigan is 1-2 this season after defeating No. 13 Georgia, 131-112, Nov. 3, losing to No. 10 Florida, 125.5-117.5, Nov. 4, and losing to No. 1 ranked Texas, 127.5-112.5, Nov. 18. Most recently, the Wolverines placed sixth (321 points) at the Dec. 1-3 Texas Invitational. Michigan was led at the Texas Invite by senior captain Scott Werner, who placed second in both the 100 (55.23) and 200 breast (1:58.35). The Wolverines will face Stanford on Friday before taking on the Bears Saturday.