March 26, 2011
MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. - The No. 1-ranked California men's swimming team, powered by national titles by senior Nathan Adrian and a victory in the 400 free relay during the final day of the meet, earned its top ranking by winning the 2011 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships Saturday (March 26) at the Dorothy L. Shepard Pool in Minneapolis. The Golden Bears, led by fourth-year coach David Durden, won their first NCAA team title in men's swimming since capturing back to back titles under Nort Thornton in 1979-80.
In a dramatic conclusion to its national title run, Cal's 400 free relay team of senior Graeme Moore, senior Josh Daniels, sophomore Tom Shields and senior Adrian won the meet's final event with a time of 2:47.39 to give the Bears a 493 to 470.5 point victory over Texas in the team standings. Stanford placed third in the meet with 403 points.
Earlier on Saturday, Adrian won his second title of the NCAA meet by capturing the 100 free for the third straight year, recording a time of 41.10. He is the third Cal athlete to win the national title in the 100 free three years in a row, joining Olympic gold medalists Matt Biondi (1985-87) and Anthony Ervin (2000-02).
"This is such an awesome experience," said Durden of his team's national title. "I came to Cal four years ago and to be able to work with this group of seniors...it is just wonderful to be able to finish this way with them. I couldn't be more thrilled."
Along with Adrian's victory in the 100 free and the 400 free relay win, the Bears had several other swims that led to the national title Saturday. Senior Martti Aljand was the national runner-up in the 200 breast with a time of 1:58.88, and Shields was third in the 200 fly with a mark of 1:41.20.
Other point scorers for Cal on the meet's final day were Moore's seventh place finish in the 100 free (42.39). In the 200 breast Dugonjic placed eighth (1:56.94), sophomore Trevor Hoyt won the B Final with a time of 1:54.21. In the 200 fly, junior Robbie Sullivan earned 11 points with an eighth place finish (1:45.84).
On Friday, Dugonjic won the 100 breast national title for the third year in a row, topping the field with a time of 50.49, breaking his own school record of 50.86 set in 2009. Shields won the 100 back in a school record time of 45.03, while the 200 medley relay team of senior Guy Barnea, Dugonjic, senior Graeme Moore and senior Nathan Adrian won the national crown with a time of 1:23.12, securing the NCAA title in that event for the second straight year.
On Thursday, Adrian won the 50 free with a new American record of 18.66; and the 400 medley relay squad of Barnea (backstroke), Dugonjic (breaststroke), Shields (butterfly) and Adrian (freestyle) out-swam runner-up Texas (3:02.28 to 3:06.10) to win the national title in that event for the second year in a row.
ESPN2 is schedule to broadcast a tape-delayed version of the national meet on April 6 at 10:30 a.m. PT.
The Cal men's swimming and diving team joins the Bears' women's swimming and diving team as national champions during the 2010-11 campaign.
Additional quotes from the Bears' 2011 national title
California Head Coach David Durden
On winning a championship over second-place Texas and overcoming the Longhorns in the end:
"Our guys don't really get caught up in points. They enjoy racing fast and we had pretty much everything that could happen in a meet happen. We had (junior) Nolan Koon lose his cap and goggles in the 200 breaststroke; we had one of our guys in the 800 free relay get a cut on the head and was bleeding right before that race. We just have had so many bizarre things happen in this meet and it was just kind of surviving until the finish. That last relay was a survival mode. They just put the pedal to the metal on the race and it was great."
On the team's expectations coming into the meet:
"Going into the meet we felt we had a good opportunity to win it with the athletes that we had. It wasn't just about going there to win, it was coming here and swimming fast as a group and have this experience as a team. That's where we tried to keep their mind the entire three days."
On winning California's first swimming title in 31 years and what it means to the team and the school:
"I think that question probably needs to be directed towards those guys. It's a collected effort. They knew the foundation that they laid and we've just continued to build upon that over the last few years. It's exciting to see the finished product here."
100 Free Champion
Nathan Adrian, Sr., Cal On what he changed from last year:
"Everything that happened last year we made sure to move forward and learn from it. Dave and I--and all of the coaches, really--we changed up the training schedule a little bit and made sure that I would go a lot faster at the end of the season as opposed to going some pretty fast in-season times, and I think that's really made the difference."
400 Free Relay Champions
Josh Daniels Sr., California On the win:
"I'm speechless really. This win, you know, I said it last year during a press conference actually. We got second place at Texas and I said you know what we're going to be back next year and look where we are. That's just a testament of our hard work that we put in this year. This team is--we're dedicated to each other, we're dedicated to racing hard and having fun. That's exactly what we did. We did exactly what we wanted to do. We raced and we had fun this year and look what happened. We're on top."
Tom Shields So., California
On the role of the assistant coaches:
"Greg Meehan is awesome. It think he's like our second head coach. Kind of awesome. I don't know, I can't really articulate how cool he is, how clutch he is for us as a team. I think Dave will say that too. Dave's an awsome coach. It's awesome that we have so much wisdom around us, there is also so much support. It's like parental care almost. It's pretty cool."
Nathan Adrian Sr., California
On the win after three decades and what it says to the incoming freshmen class:
"I think they should be excited as we are right now that we just took home a national title. I think anybody looking at this team as a high school senior knew what we were capable of. I've said it before, I'll say it again, It's tough to replace a group of seniors that we have. I think Dave and Greg did an amazing job doing that now and I don't think they'll be hurting at all from it next year."