March 27, 2010
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COLUMBUS, OHIO - After a morning during which the University of California placed eight swimmers in finals and another six in consolation finals, the Golden Bears are poised to challenge first place Texas during Saturday (March 27) evening's competition. Cal's 200 medley and 800 free relays will also take to the blocks in the finals tonight.
The 200 medley relay event saw the Cal foursome qualify second for tonight's final. Senior Peter Davis (backstroke, 21.78), junior Damir Dugonjic (breaststroke, 23.63), junior Graeme Moore (butterfly, 20.48), and unior Josh Daniels (freestyle, 19.10) finished in a time of 1:24.99, just .39 seconds behind Auburn. Texas, Florida, and Stanford are third through fifth.
During the first individual event of the day, the 400 IM, Cal placed three swimmers in the consolation final. Sophomore Martin Liivamagi, who placed third last night in the 200 IM (1:43.05), narrowly missed another final berth. He qualified ninth in the 400 IM in 3:43.89, a mere .34 seconds off of his school record. Senior Aaron Casey qualified 13th (3:45.61) and freshman Ben Hinshaw qualified 15th (3:46.97) in the 400 IM and will swim with Liivamagi tonight.
In the 100 fly, an event that has quickly become one of Cal's top races, the Bears will have three top eight swims complemented by one in the consolation final. Freshman phenom Tom Shields led this morning's qualifying in a pool record 45.67, just .28 seconds slower than Olympic silver medalist Duje Draganja's school record. Shields was followed closely by sophomore Mathias Gydesen (2nd, 45.90), and Moore (7th, 46.37). 2008 Olympic gold medalist Nathan Adrian qualified 15th in the 100 fly with a swim of 46.79.
Shields, the national high school record holder in the 200 free, completed what is arguably the toughest double in college swimming when he placed 11th in the 200 free qualifying (1:34.37). He swam the race no more than 20 minutes after qualifying first in the 100 fly.
The 100 breast, an event that consistently earns a lot of points for the Bears, will feature three Cal finalists. Dugonjic, the NCAA record holder and defending champion in the event, qualified third in 52.46. He was followed in fifth by Aljand (52.55) and in seventh by senior Sean Mahoney (52.64). Sophomore Nolan Koon will fight for the Bears in the consolation final tonight after placing ninth (52.89).
The final swimming event of Saturday's morning's prelims, the 100 back, completed what can likely be considered one of the best morning sessions for the Bears in recent memory. Gydesen stepped up yet again, qualifying third (46.22). Bear junior Guy Barnea followed just a hair behind in a tie for fourth(46.31). Both will swim with the rest of the top eight tonight.
Cal's third-year head coach Dave Durden, excited at his squad's performance. "It was just another really fast morning for the guys," said Durden. "It's fun to watch it and fun to be a part of it."
Other swims this morning included sophomore Robert Sullivan's 19th place showing in the 100 fly (46.96), Senior Peter Davis competed in both the 100 fly (33rd, 47.66) and 100 back (24th, 47.62), Sophomore Isaac Howell swam in the 200 free (24th, 1:36.10), junior Nick Ferrif competed in the 100 breast (20th, 53.68) and freshman Trevor Hoyt swam in the 100 yard breast (35th, 55.25).