March 2, 2004
Date: Thursday-Saturday, Mar. 4-6, 2004 Place: Long Beach, CA Time: All Day
FACE OFF: PAC-10'S PROVIDE MATCH-UP AGAINST CARDINAL
Cal finished second to Stanford in last year's Pac-10 Championships. Though the Cardinal has won the Pac-10 Championships the last 22 years in a row, that 1-2 ranking is something the Golden Bears refuse to get used to. After falling, 126-117, to Stanford on Feb. 21, Cal has a chance for redemption in Long Beach this weekend. That loss marked the only blemish on Cal's otherwise perfect record (5-1, 3-1 Pac-10).
The Pac-10 Championships will be held Wednesday through Saturday, March 3-6, at Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach, CA. Tickets will be available at the site on the day of the event only. A one day pass is $10 for adults and $6 for student/seniors. An all-session pass is $25 for adults and $15 for students/seniors. On Wednesday March 3, an all-events pass will be only $1. Preliminaries take place at 11 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m. each day. The USC sports information office will handle publicity and media may contact Paul Goldberg at (213) 740-8480. Results will be available on www.pac-10.org, as well as www.calbears.com.
Despite the disappointment of finishing second overall at last year's Pac-10 Championships, Cal took the Pac-10 title in several events. Sophomore Milorad Cavic returns to defend his 100 butterfly title, which he swam in a Pac-10 record-setting 46.32. Cal will defend its crowns in both the 200 freestyle relay and the 400 freestyle relay. Cal currently holds the top time nationally in the 400 free relay (2:54.33) and 400 medley relay (3:09.16). Cal's other wins last year came from then-senior Anthony Ervin, who won the 50 freestyle and the 100 freestyle, and then-senior Joe Bruckhart, who won the 200 freestyle and the 200 IM.
THE GOLDEN BEARS
Heading into Pac-10 Championships, Cal features a few front-runners and a number of dark horses for this year's events.
Sophomore Milorad Cavic, the only returning individual Pac-10 Champion for the Bears, is the world record holder in the 100 butterfly (44.81), is ranked No. 2 in the country in the 50 freestyle (19.25), is an automatic NCAA qualifier in the 200 butterfly, a provisional qualifier in the 100 freestyle, and made the Top 50 in the 100 backstroke. Senior co-captain Alex Lim is ranked No. 2 nationally in both the 100 backstroke (46.38) and the 200 backstroke (1:41.27).
Junior Duje Draganja is ranked No. 2 in the 100 freestyle (42.56), and is in the Top 10 in the 50 freestyle (automatic qualifier) and the 100 butterfly (provisional qualifier).
Senior Renato Gueraldi has automatically qualified for NCAA Championships in the 50 freestyle and provisionally qualified in the 100 freestyle.
Versatile senior co-captain Jeff Natalizio has qualified provisionally in four different events, the 100 back, 200 back, 200 breast, and 200 IM.
Other provisional qualifiers include freshmen Rolandas Gimbutis (50 free, 100 free), Daniel Lysaught (500 free, 1650 free) and Patrick O'Neil (200 fly), sophomores Ryan Lean (1650 free), Ricky Barbosa (100 breast, 200 breast), Miguel Molina (200 IM), and Caleb Rowe (100 breast, 200 breast), junior John Dorr (100 IM, 400 IM) and senior Steve Rehrmann (200 IM).
2004 MEET BY MEET RECAP
The California Golden Bears never moved from their perch at No. 4 in the rankings this season.
Fall: The Bears started their season with a couple wins over Pacific (150-102) and Hawaii (184-111). They added a first-place finish at the Pacific Invitational and more non-scoring meets at the Texas Invitational and the Snowball Invitational, hosted by Michigan in Colorado, before jumping into the meat of the season in 2004. At the Snowball Invitational vs. Michigan in Colorado Springs, Colo., Jan. 3, Cal had 11 event winners to Michigan's seven.
Over the December break, sophomore Milorad Cavic broke the world record for the 100-meter butterfly Dec. 12, 2003, at the European Short Course Swimming Championships. His time of 50.02 seconds bettered the record by 0.08 seconds. The previous record was set in January 2002 by German Thomas Rupprath, who came in second to Cavic at the Championships in December. Cavic was swimming for his parent's homeland of Serbia. Halfway around the world, Cavic's teammates, senior Alex Lim, sophomore Miguel Molina, and alumni Nuk Sirisanont won 16 medals at the South East Asian Games held in Hanoi, Vietnam, in December. Lim, swimming for Malaysia, was a triple-gold medalist in the 100-meter fly (where he set a SEA Games record 2:03.54), the 100-meter back, and the 200-meter back. Molina, swimming for the Philippines, won a gold in the 200-meter free.
Jan. 23: Win over Arizona, 169-118. Cal finished first in 11 of 12 individual events and seized first and second in the 400 medley relay with the A team (Lim, sophomore Ricky Barbosa, Cavic, and junior Duje Draganja), finishing in 3:39.45. The B team took second with a 3:40.81 time (senior Jeff Natalizio, junior Caleb Rowe, freshman Patrick O'Neil, and freshman Jonas Tilly). Lim dominated the backstroke, claiming the 100 (55.44) and the 200 (1:57.64). Rowe won both breaststroke events, the 100 (1:02.55) and the 200 (2:14.83). Freshman Daniel Lysaught took both the 800 freestyle (8:00.35) and the 400 freestyle (3:54.02). Cavic finished first in the 50 free (21.90) and the 100 butterfly (52.24).
Jan. 24: Win over Arizona State, 166-128. At the meet, seniors produced strong performances in their final home meet: Natalizio won the 100 breaststroke (1:03.10) and the 200 breaststroke (2:14.46); Lim finished first in both the 100 backstroke (54.88) and 200 backstroke (1:56.99); Rehrmann claimed second (8:24.94) to fellow Golden Bear sophomore Ryan Lean (8:11.64) in the 800 freestyle; Gueraldi finished second (22.21) in the 50 freestyle to Draganja (21.87). California swept the 100 freestyle with a top finish by Draganja (48.18), second-place showing by freshman Rolandas Gimbutis (49.55), and a third-place finish by Tilly (49.73). Other individual event winners included Cavic in the 200 butterfly (1:57.79). In all, Golden Bears took first place in ten of eleven individual events. In the relays, Cal split with Arizona State. In the 200 medley relay, Cal's A team (Lim, Rowe, Cavic, Draganja) and B team (Natalizio, Barbosa, Tilly, Gimbutis) seized first (1:39.04) and second (1:39.50), respectively.
Feb. 5 At Cal State Bakersfield: In a non-scoring meet, Lim turned in the fastest time in NCAA Division I that far into the season in the 200-yard backstroke with a 1:41.77 time. That beat his own school record of 1:43.30. Lim also won the 50-yard backstoke (23.89) although he fell to teammate and Gibson (52.22) in the 100-yard backstroke (Lim came in fourth at 52.85). Cal won 17 of 22 events in the triathlon, which involved all swimmers competing in three events of the same stroke and was swum in short course yards. Natalizio was a true triathlete, dominating the breaststroke where he won the 50-yard (26.72), 100-yard (56.70) and 200-yard (2:00.60) events. Other triathlete winners included freshman Renato Gueraldi for the butterfly and Barbosa in the individual medley.
Feb. 6: Win over USC 152, 89: No. 4 Cal dominated then-No. 11 USC in Los Angeles. Cal won both relays, six of eight individual events, and split the diving boards. In the 400m medley relay, both Cal and Southern California's "A" teams were disqualified. The "B" team (sophomores Chris Gibson and Barbosa and O'Neil and Tilly) finished first in 3:42.38, easily beating Southern California's "B" team (3:55.75). In the 400m freestyle relay, Cal's "C" team (senior Keith Vogelgesang, O'Neil, Lim and Gibson) touched the wall first in 3:22.35. Among Cal's event winners, Gimbutis won the 50m freestyle (22.38) and Tilly won the 100m freestyle (49.73). Cavic touched the wall first in the 200m butterfly (1:59.02) in another event swept by the Golden Bears. Rowe won the 200m breastroke (2:12.86), the final event swept by Cal. Seniors held their own, with Natalizio winning the 200m individual medley (2:01.51) and Lim seizing the 200m backstroke (1:56.31). Junior Louie Gagnet won the three-meter diving event (354.67).
Feb. 21: Loss to Stanford, 126-117: In its last meet of the season, Cal experienced its only loss as No. 2 Stanford edged the Golden Bears at Avery Aquatics Center. Cal seized both relays. The "A" team in the 400 medley relays (Lim, Rowe, Cavic, and Draganja) took the first event of the day in 3:09.16 to swim the fastest time in the country, the second-fastest in Cal history, and to set a pool and meet record. To finish the day, the "A" 400 freestyle relay team (Gimbutis, Gueraldi, freshman Tilly and Cavic) won in 2:54.33, setting a pool and meet record. Draganja put on a show in the inidividual events as well, posting two wins, in the 50 freestyle (19.42), a personal best, pool, and meet record, and in the 100 freestyle (42.77), another pool and meet record. Rowe was another event winner, setting a school record in the 200 breaststroke (1:57.67). In one of the most exciting races of the day between two of college swimming's top backstrokers, Lim ( 1:41.27) finished just a quarter of a second behind Stanford's Markus Rogan (1:41.01) but still managed to set a new school record. Gagnet swept the diving boards (1 m - 307.50, 3 m - 350.33).
Arizona: The No. 9 Wildcats went 5-3 overall (2-2 Pac-10) this season. Sophomore Lyndon Ferns currently holds the top NCAA time in the 50 freestyle (19.22), one spot ahead of Cal's Milorad Cavic (19.25). Sophomore Simon Burnett returns having won the NCAA title in the 200 free as a freshman. Cal beat Arizona, 169-118 (see above).
Arizona State: The Sun Devils finished 3-5, (1-4 Pac-10) with a No. 15 ranking. In addition, several of their swimmers have landed in the top 15 nationally. Last season, the Sun Devils placed fourth at Pac-10's and 11th at NCAAs. Cal beat Arizona State, 166-128 on Jan. 24 (see above).
Stanford: The No. 2 Cardinal returns to the event where it has won 22 consecutive team titles. The defending Pac-10 champions went undefeated this season (7-0, 4-0 Pac-10), breaking many a Bear heart with a 126-117 victory over Cal Feb. 21 (see above). Senior Peter Marshall ranks first (46.14) in the 100 back, just ahead of Cal's Alex Lim (46.38). Stanford boasts another strong backstroker in senior Markus Rogan who ranks first (1:41.01) in the 200 back, again just ahead of Lim (1:41.27).
USC: The Trojans had a rough year, losing athletes to injury and Olympic training. No. 13 USC finished the season 1-5 (0-4 Pac-10), including a loss to Cal, 152-89, on Feb. 6 (see above). USC features two young talents in distance swimming: sophomore Ous Mellouili, an All-American, and freshman Larsen Jensen, who will provide a challenge for Cal freshman distance-freestyler Daniel Lysaught.
Washington: Sporting a 12-1 record, the Huskies are ranked No. 17. They did not meet Cal during the season. Washington boasts the No. 2 ranked 100 breaststroker in senior Phil Davis who will face Cal's Ricky Barbosa and Caleb Rowe.