March 26, 2010
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COLUMBUS, OHIO - The No. 4 ranked California men's swimming team, powered by national titles in the 200 free relay and the 400 medley relay, is in second place after the first day (March 26) of the 2010 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships in Columbus, Ohio. In the first event; the Golden Bears' 200 free relay squad of juniors Nathan Adrian, Graeme Moore, Josh Daniels and Guy Barnea; won with a time of 1:15.71. In Friday's final race, Cal's 400 medley relay of Barnea, junior Damir Dugonjic, freshman Tom Shields and Adrian were victorious with a mark of 3:02.83. The Golden Bears trail only Texas, 145-139.
The Bears started the first finals session with a bang in the 200 free relay. The team of Adrian (18.99), Moore (19.00), Daniels (18.63) and Barnea (19.09) snatched the national championship from reigning champion Auburn with a time of 1:15.71, breaking their pool record from this morning. Auburn's team finished three tenths back, followed by Texas, Stanford, and Kentucky.
After a short respite for Cal during the 500 yard freestyle, senior Sean Mahoney, powered by a brilliant breaststroke leg, took 14th in the 200 IM (1:44.94). Mahoney was followed in 16th by junior Martti Aljand (1:45.94). In the final of the 200 IM, sophomore Martin Liivamagi nearly stole the crown with a third place showing of 1:43.05, just one tenth back from the national championship and a new Cal record.
Continuing a long tradition of world-class Cal sprinters, Adrian took second in the 50 free. Adrian narrowly missed defending his 2009 NCAA title; his time of 19.02 trailed only the 18.93 mark posted by Cincinnati's Josh Schneider. Daniels posted a very solid 19.41 to hold his sixth position, while Moore won the consolation final in a time of 19.29.
After a break for the diving competition, the Bears were at it once again. Though Cal was in fourth after the backstroke leg, the next three Bears posted the fastest respective splits in each disciple en route to victory. The team of Barnea (46.49), Dugonjic (50.91), Shields (44.54) and Adrian (40.89) literally left the competition in their wake, finishing in a time of 3:02.83, nearly 2.5 seconds faster than second place Auburn. Stanford, Florida, and Texas rounded out the top five.
"It really feels good to win those two relays," said Adrian. "We came here to do our best, even if we came in somewhat as underdogs. Our team is really together. It feels great to accomplish what we did today."
Cal resumes its quest for a national title tomorrow at 12 p.m. during Saturday's prelims. The 200 medley relay, 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast and 800 free relay (finals only) comprise Saturday's events.