Cal sprint standouts Anthony Ervin and Nathan Adrian are setting themselves up nicely for the finals of the 50 free, finishing second and third in the semifinals in the event Friday (Aug. 2) at the 2013 FINA World Championships at Palau Sanit Jordi in Barcelona.
The two Golden Bears, who are both Olympic gold medalists (Ervin won the 50 free in 2000, Adrian won the 100 free in 2012), will compete for the 50 free gold in the event finals on Saturday. In the semifinals, Ervin was second to France’s Florent Manaudou (21.37) with a time of 21.42, while Adrian was third with his time of 21.60.
Ervin won the 2000 Olympic gold in the 50-meter free after tying with Gary Hall, Jr. He was a three-time NCAA champion in the 100 free and was the 2002 Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year for Cal. Ervin also won the NCAA 50-meter free title in 2000 and was a member of the national champion 400 medley relay (butterfly leg) in 2000 and the national champion 400 free relay (second leg) in 2002.
Ervin had finished second to Adrian in the 50 free and was third in the 100 free earlier this summer in Indianapolis during the World Championship Trials. The last World Championships Ervin competed in was exactly 10 years ago, in 2003, at Palau Sanit Jordi in Barcelona. He had retired from swimming shortly after the 2003 World Championships, but returned to training shortly before the 2012 London Olympics were he placed fifth in the 50 free (21.78).
On Thursday, Adrian placed third in the 100 free finals with a time of 47.84 after clocking the top time of the semifinals (47.95) on Wednesday. At the 2012 London Olympics, Adrian had edged Australia’s James Magnussen, 47.52 to 47.53, for the 100 free gold.
Both Adrian and Ervin had helped Team USA to a silver medal in the 400 free relay on July 28 during the first day of the swimming competition. Adrian had propelled the Americans to the lead after opening the 400 relay with a mark of 47.95 after the first 100 meters. Ryan Lochte was overtaken by Australia’s Cameron McEvoy, before Ervin recaptured the lead for Team USA, swimming the third leg in a time of 47.44. Unfortunately, Team USA was edged by France in the final leg.
Another Bear who has been training under Cal coach David Durden at Spieker Aquatics Complex in preparation for the World Championships was standout breaststroker Damir Dugonjic. Dugonjic, from Slovenia, placed fourth in both the finals of the 50 and 100 breast, seeing a European record in the 50 breast on Tuesday with a time of 26.83.
Dugonjic swam for Cal from 2008 through 2011 – winning three NCAA titles and owning Cal’s school record in the 100-yard breast (50.86, set in 2009). He competed for Slovenia in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and was a member of NCAA championship 200 and 400 medley relays with Adrian in 2010 and 2011.
Adrian and Ervin, who are training with Durden (along with Dugonjic), were recently featured by Comcast SportsNet in preparation for the 2013 FINA World Swimming Championships Comcast Cal Swimming Feature.