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No. 11 Cal Men's Swimming Travels to NCAA Championships
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  03/25/2008

March 25, 2008

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BERKELEY, CALIF. -

Thu.-Sat., Mar. 27-29 at NCAA Championships
Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatics Center, Federal Way, Wash. All Day

The No. 11-ranked California men's swimming and diving team (5-2, 3-2), fresh off a second-place finish (769 points) at the Pac-10 championships, will compete at the 2008 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships this Thursday through Saturday at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way, Wash. Prelims will be at noon and finals at 7 p.m. each day. Complete results will be available on www.ncaa.org (or the Cal men's swimming page on calbears.com). Live stats will be available on http://ncaaswim.com/men08/. A tape delay of the 2008 NCAA men's swimming championships will be shown on Thursday, Apr. 3, at 11 a.m. on ESPN2. The Golden Bears will be looking to continue their strong performance at the conference meet. Senior William Copeland won two individual events (50 and 100 free) and was a member of Cal's victorious 200 free and 400 medley relays. The Bears also captured the Pac-10 title in the 200 medley relay, junior David Russell won the 200 back (1:42.01) after placing first in the 100 back in 2007, and Cal trailed only No. 3 Stanford in the final meet standings. A total of 13 swimmers, plus junior diver Sam Helvie, will be competing at the NCAA championships for the Bears. Cal is coming off an eighth-place finish at the 2007 NCAA meet and has nine returning All-Americans, including senior Dominik Meichtry, the 2007 NCAA runner-up in the 200 freestyle. The Bears also feature new head coach David Durden, the former top assistant at Auburn who helped guide the Tigers' men and women's teams to six NCAA team championships from 2002-05. Durden was most recently the head men's and women's swimming coach at Maryland from 2005-06.

Cal Gears Up for the NCAAs

The Bears' top individual candidates for national crowns this season include Copeland, who is seeded second in the nation in both the 50 (19.30) and 100 free (42.47) behind Auburn's Cesar Cielo, last year's NCAA champion in both events. Freshman Dumir Dugonjic, from Ravne na Koroskern, Slovenia, is another Cal favorite as he is seeded second in the 100 breast with a time of 52.58. Junior backstroker Russell is also a top competitor with the nation's third-seeded time in the 100 back (46.26) and fourth-seeded mark in the 200 back (1:42.01). Cal's relays are among the nation's best as well. The Bears' 400 medley relay of Russell, Dugonjic, senior Jernej Godec and Copeland is the No. 1 seed with a school-record time of 3:06.84, while Cal's 200 medley relay of Russell, Dugonjic, Godec and senior Joe Whittington is the No. 2-seed (behind 2007 NCAA champion Auburn) with a school-record 1:25.09. Finally, the Bears' 200 free relay of Copeland, Godec, Whittington and freshman Graeme Moore is the nation's third seed (behind Auburn and Arizona) with a time of 1:17.99.

Bears Perform Well at Pac-10 Meet

In wrapping up the 2008 conference meet, Cal had Pac-10 champions in the 50 and 100 free (Copeland, whose 19.47 in the 50 free was the seventh-fastest time in school history), in the 200 back (Russell), the 400 medley relay (school-record 3:06.84; Russell, Dugonjic, Godec, Copeland), the 200 free relay (1:17.99; Copeland, Godec, Whittington, Moore; ninth-fastest time in school history) and the 200 medley relay (school-record 1:25.09; Russell, Dugonjic, Godec, Whittington). The Bears won six conference crowns in 2008 after winning two conference titles in 2007, when they also placed second in the meet.

Cal's Standout Diver Sam Helvie

Junior Sam Helvie placed second on the one-meter board Mar. 14 at the Zone E Diving Regional in Oklahoma City, Okla. Helvie, from Bakersfield, Calif., had a score of 337.55 in the morning preliminary round, and came back to have the highest score of the meet in the final round with a mark of 370.45. In the final combined tally, he trailed only winner Magnus Frick of Hawaii, 726.00 to 708.00. Earlier, Helvie was named Pac-10 Diver of the Month for January, when he captured the one-meter title against both Arizona and Arizona State during the last weekend of January. Helvie has won a total of seven competitions this season. Last year, he was an honorable mention All-American, placing 12th on the one-meter board at the 2007 NCAA meet. Helvie is the Cal school record-holder in the one-meter (375.92, set in 2006), three-meter (381.15, set in 2007) and platform (279.90, set in 2007) competitions.

Bears Returning All-Americans

Cal's returning All-Americans from last season include Meichtry (free), senior Mark Eckert (backstroke/IM), Richard Hunter (breaststroke), Copeland (sprint free), Godec (free/fly/back), Whittington (free), Louis Vayo (back/IM/free), and Russell (backstroke). Meichtry placed second at the NCAA meet with a time of 1:33.45 in the 200 free, the second-fastest time in school history behind the eight-time Olympic gold medalist Matt Biondi's time of 1:33.03 set in 1987. He also helped the Bears to a seventh-place finish in the 800-free relay at the NCAA meet, along with fellow senior Vayo. Meichtry was the 2007 Pac-10 champion in the 200 free with a time of 1:33.82. He has the school's second-fastest time in the 500 free (4:15.89), set in 2006, and is a member of the school-record 800 free relay team. The Bears' 200-yard freestyle relay placed sixth in the 2007 NCAA meet and returns three of its members - Copeland, Godec and Whittington. Godec was second in the Pac-10 meet in the 50 free and has the school's third-best all-time mark in the 100 fly (46.32). Russell placed ninth at the NCAA Championships with his time of 1:41.81 in 200-yard backstroke, and was a member of Cal's 200 and 400 medley relays. He was the 2007 Pac-10 champion in the 100 back and has the school's second-best all-time mark in the 200 back (1:41.81) and third-best time in the 100 back (46.70). Eckert was second in the 200 back, third in the 400 IM and fourth in the 200 IM at the Pac-10 meet, and has the school's third-best all-time mark in the 400 IM (3:46.63). Hunter was seventh in the Pac-10 meet in the 100 breast. Copeland, besides being a member of Cal's 200 free and 200 medley relays, is on the school's all-time top-10 list in the 50 (19.59, 10th) and 100 free (42.97, 7th). Vayo was a member of the Bears' 800 free relay that placed seventh in the NCAAs. He joins Meichtry as a member of the school record-setting 800-free relay. Vayo has the school's fifth-best all-time mark in both the 200 (1:45.82) and 400 IM (3:48.54). Whittington, besides being a member of Cal's sixth-place 200 free relay, was on the Bears' 200 free relay that placed second at the Pac-10 Championships.

Introducing David Durden

Durden, 31, was hired to direct Cal's men's swimming program on Aug. 27. He spent five seasons at Auburn, including 2005 when he was the assistant head men's coach for the 2005 NCAA champion Tigers. Prior to being the No. 1 assistant and chief recruiting coordinator for the powerhouse Auburn men's team, Durden was an assistant coach for both the Tigers' men's and women's swim programs. During his tenure, the Tiger men's and women's teams won a total of six NCAA team championships - the men winning in 2003, 2004 and 2005, and the women winning in 2002, 2003 and 2004. At Auburn, Durden was the primary coach for a number of world-class/postgraduate swimmers who were preparing for the World Championships and the World University Games. He mentored multiple world and NCAA record holders. Durden also served as the head coach for the Panama team at the 2004 Olympic Games and the 2003 Pan American Games. A 1998 graduate of UC Irvine, Durden earned a degree in electrical engineering. He competed on the Anteaters' swim team from 1994-97 and was the 1997 Big West Conference champion in the 200 butterfly.

2006-07 Golden Bear Team Recap

In 2006-07, the Bears compiled a 5-3 dual-meet record (2-2 in Pac-10). With Cal's eighth-place finish at the 2007 NCAA meet, it was the 28th time in head coach Nort Thornton's 33-year career the Bears were in the top 10 at the national meet. Of Pac-10 schools, only Stanford (second) and Arizona (third) placed higher. Cal collected its 35th individual national champion under Thornton when Patrick O'Neil captured the NCAA title in the 200-yard butterfly with a school-record 1:42.98.

Honoring Nort Thornton - Head Coach Emeritus

Former Cal head coach Nort Thornton retired after 33 years at the helm of the Bears men's swimming program on July 26. Thornton led Cal to a dual-meet record of 231-85 (.731), produced back-to-back NCAA team titles in 1979 and 1980, and had numerous individual national champions, including O'Neil, who won the 200 butterfly crown in 2007. Thornton's Bears won 48 individual and relay NCAA championships and 108 Pac-10 individual and relay titles. His 1979-80 and 1980-81 teams also captured Pac-10 team championships.The veteran coach was named National Coach of the Year twice and was the Pac-10 Coach of the Year four times, most recently in 1999. A product of San Jose State, Thornton has an even more impressive collection of Olympians, including world record holder Matt Biondi, Anthony Ervin, who won the gold medal in the 50-meter freestyle at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and Duje Draganja, who took silver in the 50-meter free at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

NCAA Quick Bios

Martti Aljand - Freshman

Will compete in the 200 IM (Eighth seed, 1:45.44, placed third at Pac-10 meet)

Will compete in the 200 breast (13th seed, 1:56.89, placed fifth at Pac-10 meet)

Will compete in 100 breast (35th seed, 54.73)

Is a member of the Bears' top 800 free relay (9th seed, 6:25.89, anchor leg, placed third at Pac-10 meet)

Aaron Casey - Sophomore

Will compete in the 400 IM (22nd seed, 3:49.20, placed fourth at Pac-10 meet)

Will compete in the 200 back (28th seed, 1:45.29, placed eighth at Pac-10 meet)

Will compete in the 1650 free (30th seed, 15:28.00, placed seventh at Pac-10 meet)

William Copeland - Senior

Will compete in the 50 free (Second seed, 19.30, 2008 Pac-10 champion)

Will compete in the 100 free (Second seed, 42.47, 2008 Pac-10 champion)

Will compete in the 100 fly (40th seed, 47.91, placed ninth at Pac-10 meet)

Is a member of the Bears' top 400 medley relay (Top seed, 3:06.84, freestyle leg, 2008 Pac-10 champions)

Is a member of the Bears' top 200 free relay (Third seed, 1:17.99, lead-off leg, 2008 Pac-10 champions)

Is a member of the Bears' top 400 free relay (Fifth seed, 2:52.08, lead-off leg, placed second at Pac-10 meet)

Is a member of the Bears' top 800 free relay (Ninth seed, 6:25.89, third leg, placed third at Pac-10 meet)

Damir Dugonjic - Freshman

Will compete in the 100 breast (Second seed, 52.58, placed second at Pac-10 meet)

Will compete in the 200 breast (28th seed, 1:58.85, placed 10th at Pac-10 meet)

Is a member of the Bears' top 400 medley relay (Top seed, 3:06.84, breaststroke leg, 2008 Pac-10 champions)

Is a member of the Bears' top 200 medley relay (Second seed, 1:25.09, breaststroke leg, 2008 Pac-10 champions)

Mark Eckert - Senior

Will compete in the 200 IM (11th seed, 1:45.71, placed ninth at Pac-10 meet)

Will compete in the 200 back (14th seed, 1:43.42, placed third at Pac-10 meet)

Jernej Godec - Senior

Will compete in the 50 free (12th seed, 19.59, placed third at Pac-10 meet)

Will compete in the 100 fly (12th seed, 46.88, placed fourth at Pac-10 meet)

Will compete in the 100 free (23rd seed, 43.58, placed 10th at Pac-10 meet)

Is a member of the Bears' top 400 medley relay (Top seed, 3:06.84, butterfly leg, 2008 Pac-10 champions)

Is a member of the Bears' top 200 medley relay (Second seed, 1:25.09, butterfly leg, 2008 Pac-10 champions)

Is a member of the Bears' top 200 free relay (Third seed, 1:17.99, second leg, 2008 Pac-10 champions)

Is a member of the Bears' top 400 free relay (Fifth seed, 2:52.08, second leg, placed second at Pac-10 meet)

Richard Hunter - Senior

Will compete in the 100 breast (15th seed, 53.69, placed fifth at Pac-10 meet)

Will compete in the 200 breast (37th seed, 2:00.37, placed 14th at Pac-10 meet)

Sean Mahoney - Sophomore

Will compete in the 200 breast (Seventh seed, 1:56.30, placed third at Pac-10 meet)

Will compete in the 100 breast (25th seed, 53.93, placed ninth at Pac-10 meet)

Will compete in the 200 IM (50th seed, 1:48.43, placed 13th at Pac-10 meet)

Dominik Meichtry - Senior

Will compete in the 200 free (Ninth seed, 1:34.46, placed second at Pac-10 meet)

Will compete in the 500 free (17th seed, 4:19.96, placed fourth at Pac-10 meet)

Will compete in the 100 free (33rd seed, 43.80)

Is a member of the Bears' top 400 free relay (Fifth seed, 2:52.08, anchor leg, placed second at Pac-10 meet)

Is a member of the Bears' top 800 free relay (Ninth seed, 6:25.89, second leg, placed third at Pac-10 meet)

Graeme Moore - Freshman

Will compete in the 100 back (31st seed, 48.29, placed sixth at Pac-10 meet)

Will compete in the 100 free (37th seed, 43.91)

Will compete in the 50 free (47th seed, 20.06, placed 12th at Pac-10 meet)

Is a member of the Bears' top 200 free relay (Third seed, 1:17.99, anchor leg, 2008 Pac-10 champions)

David Russell - Junior

Will compete in the 100 back (Third seed, 46.26, placed second at Pac-10 meet)

Will compete in the 200 back (Fourth seed, 1:42.01, 2008 Pac-10 champion)

Is a member of the Bears' top 400 medley relay (Top seed, 3:06.84, backstroke leg, 2008 Pac-10 champions)

Is a member of the Bears' top 200 medley relay (Second seed, 1:25.09, backstroke leg, 2008 Pac-10 champions)

Louis Vayo - Senior

Will compete in the 200 back (24th seed, 1:44.30, placed fifth at Pac-10 meet)

Will compete in the 400 IM (26th seed, 3:50.68, placed ninth at Pac-10 meet)

Will compete in the 200 IM (27th seed, 1:46.74, placed 11th at Pac-10 meet)

Is a member of the Bears' top 800 free relay (Ninth seed, 6:25.89, lead-off leg, place third at Pac-10 meet)

Joe Whittington - Sophomore

Will compete in the 50 free (11th seed, 19.58, placed third at Pac-10 meet)

Will compete in the 100 free (24th seed, 43.59, placed seventh at Pac-10 meet)

Is a member of the Bears' top 200 medley relay (Second seed, 1:25.09, anchor leg, 2008 Pac-10 champions)

Is a member of the Bears' top 200 free relay (Third seed, 1:17.99, third leg, 2008 Pac-10 champions)

Is a member of the Bears' top 400 free relay (Fifth seed, 2:52.08, third leg, placed second at Pac-10 meet)

Sam Helvie - Junior

Placed second in the one-meter competition at the Zone E championships

Won seven competitions this season

Was the January Pac-10 Diver of the Month

Is the Cal school record-holder in the one-meter board (375.92)

Is the Cal school record-holder in the three-meter board (381.15)

Is the Cal school record-holder in the platform (279.90)

2007-08 DUAL MEET RESULTS (5-2, 3-2)

Oct. 5 PACIFIC W 133-116 Nov. 2 WASHINGTON* W 153.5-106.5 Jan. 25 ARIZONA* L 182-118 Jan. 26 ARIZONA STATE* W 159.5-123.5 Feb. 7 at CS Bakersfield W 133-78 Feb. 8 at USC* W 136-102 Feb. 23 at Stanford* L 132.5-110.5 * Denotes Pac-10 dual meet Home meets in All-Caps

2008 CALIFORNIA ROSTER -- NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS

Name Events Ht. Wt. Yr Hometown (Last School) Aljand, Martti IM/BR 6-1 180 Fr. Tallinn, Estonia (Kristung HS) Casey, Aaron IM/BK/FR 5-11 160 So. Santa Monica, Calif. (Irvine HS) Copeland, William FR/FLY 6-4 180 Sr. Lexington, Va. (Rockbridge County HS) Dugonjic, Damir BR 6-6 211 Fr. Ravne na Koroskem, Slovenia (Gimnazija Ravne) Eckert, Mark IM/BK 6-2 180 Sr. Honolulu, Hawaii (Iolani School) Godec, Jernej FR/FLY 6-2 190 Sr. Ljubljana, Slovenia (Gimnazija Ledina) Helvie, Sam DIV 5-5 135 Jr. Bakersfield, Calif. (Graces Memorial HS) Hunter, Richard BR 6-2 175 Sr. Mission Viejo, Calif. (Trabuco HS) Mahoney, Sean BR/IM 6-0 200 So. Rio Vista, Calif. (West Virginia) Meichtry, Dominik FR 6-0 160 Sr. Rorschacherberg, Switzerland (Deutsche Schule, RSA) Moore, Graeme BK/FR 6-5 194 Fr. Johannesburg, South Africa (Reddam House HS) Russell, David BK 6-4 190 Jr. Wellesley, Mass. (Stockdale HS) Vayo, Louis BK/IM 6-0 175 Sr. Placentia, Calif. (Troy HS) Whittington, Joe FR 6-3 152 Sr. Bakersfield, Calif. (Graces Memorial HS)

Head Coach: David Durden (First year) HC Emeritus: Nort Thornton (34th year) Diving Coach: Tom Davidson (Second year) Strength Coach: Nick Folker (Fourth year) Trainer: David Walden (Third year)

Pronunciation Guide Martti Aljand Marty AL-yand Damir Dugonjic DUH-meer DEW-go-nitch Jernej Godec YER-nay GOH-deck Dominik Meichtry MIKE-tree Graeme Moore Graham Louis Vayo LEW-is VIE-oh

THE ENTRIES... 50 Freestyle: William Copeland (19.30), Joe Whittington (19.58), Jernej Godec (19.59), Graeme Moore (20.06) 100 Freestyle: Williamp Copeland (42.47), Jernej Godec (43.58), Joe Whittington (43.59), Dominik Meichtry (43.80), Graeme Moore (43.91) 200 Freestyle: Dominik Meichtry (1:34.46) 500 Freestyle: Dominik Meichtry (4:19.96) 1650 Freestyle: Aaron Casey (15:28.00) 100 Butterfly: Jernej Godec (46.88), William Copeland (47.91) 100 Backstroke: David Russell (46.26), Graeme Moore (48.29) 200 Backstroke: David Russell (1:42.01), Mark Eckert (1:43.42), Louis Vayo (1:44.30), Aaron Casey (1:45.29) 100 Breaststroke: Damir Dugonjic (52.58), Richard Hunter (53.69), Sean Mahoney (53.93), Martti Aljand (54.73) 200 Breaststroke: Sean Mahoney (1:56.30), Martti Aljand (1:56.89), Damir Dugonjic (1:58.85), Richard Hunter (2:00.37) 200 IM: Martti Aljand (1:45.44), Mark Eckert (1:45.71), Louis Vayo (1:46.74), Sean Mahoney (1:48.43) 400 IM: Aaron Casey (3:49.20), Louis Vayo (3:50.68) Relays: 200 Free (1:17.99, Copeland, Godec, Whittington, Moore), 400 Free (2:52.08, Copeland, Godec, Whittington, Meichtry), 800 Free (6:25.89, Vayo, Meichtry, Copeland, Aljand), 200 Medley (1:25.09, Russell, Dugonjic, Godec, Whittington), 400 Medley (3:06.84, Russell, Dugonjic, Godec, Copeland)


Cal Bears Men's Swimming & Diving


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