Cal Swimmers Perform Well at 2000 Olympics
Sept. 25, 2000
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - The University of California was well represented in swimming at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. The Bears featured six swimmers-current athletes Anthony Ervin, Staciana Stitts, plus graduated standouts Waen Minpraphal, Elli Overton, Gordan Kozulj and Bart Kizierowski.
Ervin and Stitts both captured gold medals during the Sydney Olympics. Ervin tied Gary Hall, Jr. for the gold in the 50-meter freestyle, the 14th time a Cal male swimmer has won an Olympic gold medal in swimming. Stitts was a awarded a gold medal as a member of the United States 400-meter medley relay, swimming the breaststroke leg in the earlier heats with a time of 1:09.54. She represents the fourth time a Cal women swimmer has won a gold medal.
Ervin also won a silver medal as a member of the United States 4x100-meter free relay. Ervin swam the lead off leg in the final (48.89) for the USA and despite besting the previous world record with a time of 3:13.86, the Americans could not hold off Australian Ian Thorpe. Thorpe came from behind in the final 20 meters to snare the gold and a new world record in a time of 3:13.67. In the morning heats, Ervin swam the second leg of the relay in 48.03.
In the 50 free, Ervin had won his morning heat in 22.24 and then followed that performance up in the evening with a third-place finish in the semifinals, touching in 22.13. He then tied for gold with American teammate Gary Hall, Jr. in the final with the time of 21.98.
Individually, Stitts swam a time of 1:10.54 in the 100-meter breast, finishing seventh in her heat and not advancing to the semifinal round.
Minpraphal, who swam at Cal from 1997-2000 under coach Teri McKeever, and was competing for her native Thailand, finished fifth (1:02.99) in her heat in the 100-meter fly and did not advance to the semifinal round.
Australian Elli Overton, a standout for the Bears from 1997-2000, advanced through her heat and into the semifinals in the 200-meter individual medley. The home pool advantage was unable to boost her into the final, however, as she finished seventh in the semifinals with a time of 2:15.74.
Croatian Gordan Kozulj, a top swimmer for Nort Thornton's men's squad from 1996-99, swam a 56.26 in his heat of the 100-meter back, but his bid for medal ended in the semifinals because he hit his head on the wall and had to do an open turn. In the 200-meter back, Kozulj finished eighth in the final with a time of 1:59.38. The margin between places 4-8 were a mere .38 seconds. He also swam on Croatia's 400 medley relay team, swimming a lead-off time in the butterfly of 56.52.
Poland's Bart Kizierowski, a top swimmer for the Bears from 1997-2000, recorded a 55.04 in the 100-meter back final, just .22 seconds out of the medals to finish fifth. Kizierowski also performed well in the 50-meter free against former Cal teammate Ervin. He advanced to the final of the 50 free with a time of 22.35 after posting the fastest time of the day in the morning heats (22.05). In finals, Kizierowski placed fifth with a mark of 22.22. He also narrowly missed out on the 100-meter free semifinals, finishing with the 17th fastest time (49.84) in the qualification heats.