March 26, 2009
COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS - The California men's swimming team got a superb performance from sophomore Olympian Nathan Adrian, who captured the 2009 NCAA title in the 50-yard freestyle with an American record time of 18.71, during the first day of the 2009 NCAA Men's Swimming Championships at the Student Rec Center Natatorium in College Station, Texas. The Golden Bears, under the direction of second year head coach David Durden, were also the national runners-up in the 400 medley relay and placed third in the 200 free relay in Day One of the NCAA meet Thursday. After six events, Cal sits in fifth place with 103 points, trailing only Texas (171), Auburn (141), Stanford (130) and Florida (107).
Adrian gave the Bears their first national title in the 50 free since 2000 Olympic gold medalist Anthony Ervin won the 50-meter freestyle at the 2000 NCAA championships. Adrian edged out James Feigen of Texas, who swam a time of 18.84, and Matt Targett of Auburn who recorded a mark of 18.87. Adrian won a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics as a member of the United States 400 free relay, competing in the prelims.
The Cal 400 medley relay team of senior backstroker David Russell, sophomore breaststroker Damir Dugonjic, butterflyer Graeme Moore and Adrian swam a new school record time of 3:01.69, but narrowly missed a national championship as they were edged out by Auburn's 3:01.39.
In the 200 free relay, the team of Adrian, Moore, sophomore Josh Daniels and senior Bennett Clark trailed Auburn (1:14.08) and Stanford (1:14.22), yet set a new school record with a time of 1:15.13. The 2009 Bears topped the old record of 1:15.78 set by Duje Draganja, Rolandas Gimbutis, Jonas Tilly and Milorad Cavic in 2005.
In another individual event, Cal sophomore Martti Aljand placed eighth in 200 IM with a time of 1:44.09. In the morning prelims he shattered his former record time of 1:43.59 with a mark of 1:43.21.
"We started off a little slow on the first session in the morning. We got better tonight," said Durden. "Both relays were outstanding. 1:15.1 in the 200 free relay is a fantastic time with all four of our guys splitting sub 19 is pretty special, especially for Josh Daniels; it was an awesome split out of him. We finished it with our 400 medley relay being 3:01 and again just some outstanding splits. We came into this meet last year and Graeme Moore swam a 100 backstroke and went 49 seconds in that 100 backstroke. Now he's on our relay splitting 45.0 on a 100 fly split. Just really, really awesome to see Nathan coming home in 40.2.
"Of course the night was highlighted by Nathan's win in the 50; really not the favorite coming in by any stretch of the imagination, but just putting together a good swim at the right time and ended up getting his hand on the wall first and again in American record time. So,just real excited about the night compared to the morning. We've got to chip away tomorrow and get it done."
On Friday, the Bears will be competing in the 200 medley relay, the 400 IM, the 100 fly, the 200 free, the 100 breast, the 100 back and the 800 free relay. Cal's 200 medley relay team of Russell, Dugonjic, Moore and Clark is seeded second nationally.