Nov. 10, 2004
This Week: Wed., Nov. 10 vs. Stanford Stanford, CA 2 p.m. Sat., Nov. 13 vs. Pacific Berkeley, CA 12 p.m.
BEARS HAVE BUSY WEEK: The No. 3-ranked California men's swimming & diving team (1-0) takes on its rival in the Stanford Triple Distance Meet at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 10, in Stanford, Calif. The Golden Bears regroup later in the week for a dual meet with Pacific at 12 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13, at Spieker Aquatics Complex. The latter is a combined meet with the Cal women, who also take on Pacific.
ENTER THE GAUNTLET: The Stanford meet is part of the Lexus Gauntlet series, a contest between Cal and Stanford to determine which school will have the most success in head-to-head competitions with its rival this season.
CAL IN THE POLLS: In the Nov. 5 CollegeSwimming.com national poll, Cal was ranked No. 3. In the Nov. 4 CSCAA national poll, Cal was ranked No. 4.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: Stanford is ranked No. 2 in the CollegeSwimming.com poll and is tied with Cal at No. 4 in the CSCAA rankings. Also like Cal, Stanford hosted Cal State Bakersfield last week. The Cardinal (1-0) won its dual meet, 157-97. Stanford sophomore Ben Wildman-Tobriner won the 50 (20.64) and 100 (45.51) freestyles and sophomore Andy Grant won the 200 free (1:39.48) and 200 backstroke (1:54.16), as the Cardinal won 11 of 14 events. Stanford would have won every event if it hadn't swum the last three as exhibitions. Stanford sophomore Hongzhe Sun went to the same high school - Iolani in Honolulu, HI - as Cal freshman Mark Eckert.
Pacific's last action was its own Speedo Invitational, held Oct. 29-30 in Stockton, Calif. The Tigers (0-1) took second place, with 709 points, to Cal in the Division I competition. UOP's only first-place finish came from the 200 medley relay team of seniors Ivan Serrano and Vince Martinez and freshmen Craig Norman and David Dunn with a time of 1:35.80. Dunn also picked up two third place finishes in the 100 Breast (59.89) and 200 Breast (2:08.85). The Tigers finished second, third, and fourth in the 200 back, led by second-place finisher Kenny Yamamoto's season-best time of 1:53.93. UOP opened its season with a 132.5-67.5 dual-meet loss to Florida State on Oct. 23 at home.
CAL REPEATS AT TIBURON MILE: Sophomore Daniel Lysaught led the Golden Bears to a repeat performance as the college team champion in the Tiburon Mile on Sept. 19 in Tiburon. The Australian swam the best time among college men, with a 20:43, and took seventh-place overall in the race, which spanned one nautical mile from San Francisco Bay to downtown Tiburon. The Bears won the team title with 103 points.
BEARS MAUL FLORIDA STATE: Cal opened the 2004-05 season with a 171-127 dual-meet victory over No. 24 Florida State on Oct. 22, at Spieker. Cal won 11 of the 14 events. Senior diver Louie Gagnet, a former Seminole who won the one- and three-meter springboard events, was the only Bear to win multiple events. He scored 346.20 points, a school record, on the one meter and 337.425 on the three meter. In another competition with FSU on Saturday, Gagnet set a school record (590.10) for an 11-dive three-meter event.
Cal swept the 200 butterfly, won by sophomore Patrick O'Neil (1:49.06). Senior John Dorr (1:51.55) took second place and freshman Justin Pollard (1:52.49) was third. Cal's Chris Gibson, Caleb Rowe, Rolandas Gimbutis and Matt Lyon opened the meet by winning the 200 medley relay in a time of 1:32.22. Bears sophomore Daniel Lysaught won the day's first individual event, the 1000 freestyle, in 9:11.91. Other Cal winners included Alexander Holdridge in the 200 free (1:40.62), Gibson in the 100 backstroke (50.82), Graham Lentz in the 100 breaststroke (56.41), Lyon in the 50 free (20.95), Rowe in the 200 breast (2:03.57), John Foster in the 500 free (4:31.26) and Jernej Godec in the 100 fly (49.49).
BEARS WIN UOP'S SPEEDO INVITATIONAL: Cal won 15 events and repeated as champion of Pacific's Speedo Invitational, with a total of 1,181 points, Oct. 29-30 in Stockton, Calif. Several Golden Bears had outstanding swims, including freshman Louis Vayo, the meet's top scorer, with 67 points. The product of Placentia, Calif., who was fourth in the 500 freestyle and fourth in the 200 individual medley on Day 1, won the 400 IM in 3:58.83 and was second in the 200 butterfly (1:55.70) on Day 2 of the meet, which was swum in short course yards.
Rolandas Gimbutis won two individual events - the 100 (44.09) and 200 free (1:40.08) - and was a member of two winning relays. The 6-10 native of Kaunas, Lithuania, swam the third leg of the 200 medley relay (1:34.83) and anchored the 400 free relay (3:06.74). Sophomore teammate Jonas Tilly, from Trelleborg, Sweden, won the 100 butterfly (51.28), took second to Gimbutis in the 100 free and also swam on the winning 200 medley relay and 400 free relay.
GODEC, MOLINA WIN THREE EVENTS EACH VS. ROADRUNNERS: Cal won 16 of 19 events in a non-scoring meet with Cal State Bakersfield last Saturday afternoon at Spieker. Two Bears won three individual events - freshman Jernej Godec, from Ljubljana, Slovenia, won the 50 butterfly (22.51), the 100 fly (50.36) and 200 fly (1:55.67) and junior Miguel Molina, from Tokyo, Japan, won the 100 IM (52.26), the 200 IM (1:51.66) and the 400 IM (3:55.68). Senior John Dorr, sophomore Rolandas Gimbutis and freshman Dominic Cathey each won two events at the meet, which was swum in short course yards. Dorr, from Lafayette, owned the middle- and long-distance freestyle events, winning the 500 (4:40.86) and 1000 (9:54.34). Typically a freestyler, Gimbutis won the 100 back (52.36) and 200 back (1:55.11). Cathey, an Oakland product, won his first two events of the season, taking the 100 breaststroke (59.80) and 200 breaststroke (3:55.68).
HEAD COACH Nort Thornton: Nort Thornton, who was inducted into the ASCA (American Swimming Coaches Association) Hall of Fame in September of 2002, enters his 31st season as the director of the California men's swimming team. Thornton, the dean of all Pac-10 swimming coaches, led the 2003-04 Golden Bears to a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Championships. A true indication of Thornton's success is the fact that Cal has finished in the Top 10 nationally in 25 of the 30 years he has been at the helm of the Golden Bears' program. In addition, Thornton has led the Bears to two national championships - back-to-back titles in 1979 and 1980 - and produced a stellar cast of All-Americans. The veteran coach has an impressive 212-81 career dual meet record, has been National Coach of the Year twice and has been the Pac-10 Coach of the Year four times, most recently in 1999.
Championship performance at Cal is synonymous not only with Thornton's teams, but with the numerous individuals he has coached over the last 28 years. Since Thornton took over the Cal program, 48 Cal athletes have represented several countries in the Olympic Games, winning 29 medals, including 14 gold, 10 silver and five bronze. During the 1992 Olympics, Thornton was selected as an assistant coach, and 13 of his Bears competed in Barcelona, Spain.
CO-HEAD COACH Mike Bottom: California co-head swim coach Mike Bottom, now in his eighth season in Berkeley, has established himself as one of the world's top sprint coaches. Last season, he and head coach Nort Thornton directed Cal to a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Under his tutelage, Duje Draganja has become one of the top sprinters in the world. The Croatian took silver in the 50 freestyle, behind Gary Hall Jr., another Bottom-coached swimmer, at the 2004 Athens Olympics and more recently won bronze in the 50 butterfly at the 2004 World Championships. Bottom has also worked with Milorad Cavic, who, with Draganja, finished 2-3 in the 100 fly at the 2004 NCAA Championships. A former USC swimmer and USC and Auburn assistant coach, Bottom's work coaching sprinters began in the 1990s and expanded to include several of the top swimmers in the world, including former Bears Anthony Ervin, Gordan Kozulj and Bart Kizierowski. Internationally, Bottom's sprinters have won various Olympic medals and World and European Championships.
DIVING COACH RON KONTURA: Ron Kontura was hired Aug. 10, 2004, to take California's diving program to the world-class level. Kontura brings a decade of elite club and collegiate experience to Berkeley. Kontura was both the diving coach and director of business operations of Nadadores Diving in Mission Viejo, Calif., from 2002-2003. Kontura earned his Master's in Business Administration from Illinois State University in 1999 and his Bachelor's in Business Administration from Ohio University in 1991.