March 7, 2008
LONG BEACH, CALIF. - California had another strong night Friday at the 2008 Pac-10 Swimming Championships, held at the Belmont Plaza Pool in Long Beach, winning the final event of the evening, the 400 medley relay. The Golden Bear squad of junior David Russell, freshman Damir Dugonjic, senior Jernej Godec and senior William Copeland swam a school-record time of 3:06.84, edging out Bay Area rival Stanford (3:07.25).
After 14 events, including one-meter and three-meter diving that was completed last week, the Bears trail No. 3-ranked Stanford, 558 to 512, but are ahead of No. 2-ranked Arizona (509.5), Arizona State (258.5), USC (255) and Washington (159).
In the other evening finals, senior Dominik Meichtry placed second in the 200 free with and NCAA automatic time of 1:34.46, narrowly missing defending his 2007 Pac-10 title in the 200 free (won by 2007 NCAA champion Darian Townsend of Arizona, 1:34.12). In the 100 breast final, Cal's freshman standout Dugonjic swam an NCAA automatic time of 52.58, but was edged out for the conference title by Stanford's Paul Kornfeld (52.43).
Another runner-up finish for the Bears was by Russell, who was second in the 100 back with NCAA automatic time of 46.61. Other finalists for Cal in the 100 back included senior Mark Eckert with a fifth-place finish (NCAA consideration 48.22), freshman Graeme Moore with a sixth-place finish (NCAA consideration 48.29) and freshman Martti Aljand with a seventh-place finish (NCAA consideration 48.72). Other Friday night final results included sophomore Aaron Casey placed fourth in the 400 IM with a career-best and NCAA consideration time of 3:49.20. Godec placed fourth in the 100 fly final with an NCAA automatic mark of 46.88 and sophomore Matt Scanlan was seventh with an NCAA consideration time of 47.76.
So far during the conference meet, Cal has had 2008 Pac-10 champions in the 400 medley relay, the 50 free (Copeland, 19.47, seventh-fastest time in school history), the 200 free relay (1:17.99; Copeland, Godec, Joe Whittington, Moore; ninth-fastest time in school history) and the 200 medley relay in a school-record time of 1:25.09 (Russell, Dugonjic, Godec, Whittington). The Bears won two conference titles in 2007 when they placed second in the meet.
"This meet is all about putting people in position to score well and we are doing that," said Cal coach David Durden. "Our swimmers are starting to gain confidence as the meet goes on. It is fun to be in the mix. We are having huge breakthroughs with several of our swimmers and we are looking forward to seeing what we can do tomorrow."
On Saturday, morning prelims will begin at 11 a.m. and include the 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast and 200 fly. Finals will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday evening to conclude the championships.
2008 PAC-10 MEN'S SWIMMING AND DIVING CHAMPS - 3/5/2008 to 3/8/2008 Host: University of California Berkeley, Sanction #: 08-031 March 5-8, 2008 Team Rankings - Through Event 14
1 Stanford University STAN 558 2 Univ of California Berkeley CAL 512 3 University of Arizona ARIZ 509.5 4 Arizona State University ASU 258.5 5 University of Southern Calif USC 255 6 University of Washington WASH 159