March 29, 2008
FEDERAL WAY, WASH. - Led by a third-place finish by the 400 free relay team, and sophomore Sean Mahoney capturing third in the 200 breast on the final day of competition, the No. 11-ranked Cal men's swimming team placed fourth Saturday at the 2008 NCAA Championships, held at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way, Wash. The Golden Bears, guided by first-year coach David Durden, had a total of six top-five national finishes and established new school records in the 200 and 400 medley relays, as well as the 100 back by junior David Russell. Cal garnered 332.5 points and trailed only Arizona (500.5), Texas (406) and Stanford (344).
On Thursday, the 400 medley relay team of Russell, freshman Damir Dugonjic, senior Jernej Godec and senior William Copeland placed second nationally with a school-record time of 3:05.38. The Bears' 2008 squad topped the former school record of 3:07.31 set in 2004. On Friday, the 200 medley relay team of Russell, Dugonjic, Godec and senior Joe Whittington was third with a school-record mark of 1:24.50, topping the former Cal record of 1:25.16, also set in 2004.
Russell swam his record time of 45.42 in the 100 back on Friday, placing third. Russell broke the former 100 back school record of 46.05 set by Alex Lim in 2002.
Cal's 400 free relay team of Godec, senior Dominik Meichtry, Whittington and Copeland were third on the final day of the meet with a time of 2:50.87, while Mahoney brought home the bronze in the 200 breast with a time of 1:54.65. Other Bears earning All-America honors in the 200 breast included freshman Martti Aljand, who was sixth (1:56.14) and Dugonjic, who was 16th (1:58.88). In the 100 free, Copeland was fourth (42.49), while Meichtry was 11th (42.88) and Godec, 12th (43.18).
Other highlights Saturday included senior Mark Eckert nabbing a fourth-place finish in the 200 back with a mark of 1:41.59, while Russell placed 10th with a time of 1:42.09. Junior diver Sam Helvie finished his 2008 NCAA competition placing 23rd on the platform (286.55)
Other notables for the Bears at the 2008 NCAAs were Dugonjic placing second in the nation in the 100 breast with a time of 52.61 on Friday. On Thursday, Cal's 200 free relay of Copeland, Godec, senior Joe Whittington and freshman Graeme Moore placed third with a time of 1:16.94, the third-best mark in school history. Cal's top individual finish Thursday was Copeland placing fifth in the 50 free with a mark of 19.41.