March 2, 2012
MONTEREY PARK, CALIF. - Junior Tom Shields won his second conference title of his career in the 100 fly, and seniors Mathias Gydesen and Nolan Koon were both runners-up during the third day of the 2011 Pac-10 swimming championships Friday (March 2) at the East Los Angeles College Swim Center. The Golden Bears, trailing Stanford, 623.5 to 544, after 14 events, had several strong swims and trail the Cardinal by 79.5 points entering the final day of competition Saturday. Stanford has won the conference team title 30 straight years.
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, 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.
Gydesen helped Cal to a 1-2 finish in the 100 fly with an NCAA consideration time of 46.07, and freshman Seth Stubblefield was sixth in the 100 fly with a time of 47.26 (NCAA consideration). Koon was second in the 100 breast with a mark of 52.90 (NCAA consideration), while senior Martin Liivamagi was third in a time of 52.94 (NCAA consideration).
Another Pac-12 runner-up finish for the Bears was in the 400 medley relay where Cal was edged by Stanford, 3:07.32 to 3:07.70. The Bears' team of Gydesen, Koon, Shields and freshman Tyler Messerschmidt still produced an automatic NCAA qualifying time.
Additional top swims for David Durden's squad was Messerschmidt's third place finish in the 200 free (1:35.24 NCAA consideration), and fellow freshman Will Hamilton won the B Final in the 200 free in a time of 1:35.83 (NCAA consideration). Besides Koon and Liivamagi's second and third place finishes in the 100 breast, junior Trevor Hoyt was fifth in the event (53.35 NCAA consideration) and freshman Christian Higgins was sixth (53.67 NCAA consideration).
"We under-performed in the morning session, and we came back at night and did a nice job," said Durden, who led the Bears to the 2011 NCAA team title. "Tom (Shields) and Mathias (Gydesen) had a tough day with a total of five 100's over the course of the day. Tyler's (Messerschmidt) swim in the 200 free was a well swum race, and he is getting better as we move through this meet. Nolan (Koon) and Martin (Liivamagi) were great in the 100 breast. We are looking forward to racing tomorrow morning,"
On Wednesday night, Cal started off the Pac-12 championships by winning the meet's opening event, the 200 medley relay, behind the strong swims of Gydesen, Koon, Shields and sophomore Shayne Fleming in an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 1:25.09.
The Bears will conclude the Pac-12 meet Saturday competing in the prelims at 11 a.m. and the finals at 6 p.m. in the 1650 free, 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 fly and the 400 free relay.
At last year's Pac-10 meet, Shields was the conference champion in the 100 back (45.65) and the 200 fly (1:40.31), and was a member of the league winning 200 free (anchor leg), 400 free (third leg) and 400 medley relays (butterfly leg). Koon was the Pac-10 champion in the 200 breast (1:54.42), while Gydesen swam the backstroke leg of the conference champion 400 medley relay.