March 3, 2012
MONTEREY PARK, CALIF. - Junior Tom Shields picked up his second individual title and then swam the anchor leg of the conference winning 400 free relay Saturday (March 3) during the final day of the 2012 Pac-12 men's swimming championships at the East Los Angeles College Swim Center. Even though the Golden Bears did not break Stanford's streak of consecutive conference titles (now at 31 with 939.5 points in 2012), David Durden's squad performed well with a second place Pac-12 finish (808), two relay titles (200 medley and 400 free relay) and Shield's victories in the 100 and 200 fly.
Cal ended the 2012 Pac-12 meet the way it had started, by winning a relay. The Bears' 400 free relay team of freshman Tyler Messerschmidt, sophomore Shayne Fleming, freshman Fabio Gimondi and Shields ended the competition with a mark of 2:51.45 - the fastest time in the nation this year. Cal's 200 medley relay team of senior Mathias Gydesen, senior Nolan Koon, Shields and Fleming had opened the meet on Wednesday with a first-place finish in an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 1:25.09.
On Saturday, Shields captured the 200 fly with an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 1:41.87, while freshman Will Hamilton was second with an NCAA automatic qualifying mark of 1:42.84 and junior Austin Brown was third with an NCAA consideration time of 1:43.70. The Bears garnered a total of 73 points in the 200 fly when freshman Seth Stubblefield was eighth (1:48.23) and junior Ben Hinshaw won the B Final with an NCAA consideration time of 1:46.89.
Shields, the 2010 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and the 2011 Pac-10 Swimmer of the Meet, won the 100 fly with an NCAA automatic time of 45.04 on Friday, capturing the same event he won at the conference meet as a freshman in 2010. He was the NCAA champion in the 100 fly in 2010 as well.
Other top swims for Cal on Saturday were freshman Christian Higgins placing second (1:54.57 NCAA consideration), junior Trevor Hoyt placing third (1:55.15 NCAA consideration), senior Martin Liivamagi finishing fourth (1:55.24) and Koon finishing sixth (1:55.62 NCAA consideration) in the 200 breast. Freshman Adam Hinshaw earned the Bears points by placing third in the 1650 free with an NCAA consideration time of 14:55.68, while Messerschmidt was fourth in the 100 free with a time of 43.32 (NCAA consideration).
Finally, Gydesen was sixth (1:43.41 NCAA consideration) and sophomore Marcin Tarczynski was seventh (1:45.14 NCAA consideration) in the 200 back.
Cal will next be defending its 2011 NCAA team title March 22-24 at the 2012 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships in Federal Way, Wash.