This Week: The Cal men’s swimming team (8-0, 4-0, winners of 15-straight dual meets) - the 2011 and 2012 NCAA team champions and the 2013 Pac-12 team champions - competes at the 2014 Pac-12 Swimming Championships this week (Wed.-Sat., March 3-6) at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash. Last season, the Golden Bears snap Stanford’s streak of 31 straight conference team titles and went on to finish as the national runners-up. Before that, the last school to win the conference meet besides Stanford was Cal in 1980 and 1981. The conference meet will be shown on the Pac-12 Networks (Cal Olympic standout Nathan Adrian, analyst; Cynthia Potter, diving analyst; Rich Burk, play-by-play). David Durden’s squad returns 13 members from last year’s NCAA squad and will again vie for the national crown in 2014. Leading the Bears are two individual champions from 2012 – senior Marcin Tarczynski (200 individual medley) and junior Will Hamilton (200 butterfly) – plus four members (senior Shayne Fleming, juniors Seth Stubblefield and Fabio Gimondi, sophomore Tyler Messerschmidt) of NCAA championship relays. Additionally, Cal features standout sophomores Josh Prenot (2013 Pac-12 Newcomer of the Year, 400 IM conference champ) and Jacob Pebley (third at the 2013 NCAAs in the 200 backstroke), plus star freshman Ryan Murphy, one of the nation’s top young backstrokers who was third in the 200 back at the this summer’s U.S. national championships. Prenot is the defending conference champion in the 400 IM, while Cal is also the defending league champions in the 200 medley (senior Tony Cox, Trevor Hoyt, Tom Shields, Fleming) and 400 medley (Pebley, Hoyt, Shields, Stubblefield) relays.
Golden Bears to Date: Despite a lot of other school having already competed in their conference championships, the Bears still have swimmers whose times are among the best in the nation. Senior Jeremy Bagshaw has the nation’s third fastest time in the 1000 free (8:57.41), Pebley has the sixth fastest mark in the 200 back (1:40.72) and Murphy has the seventh-best mark in the 100 back (45.77). Cal also has the nation’s eighth fastest 400 free relay ( 2:51.16, Messerschmidt, Murphy, Gimondi, Stubblefield) and 10th-best 200 free relay (1:17.78, Murphy, Messerschmidt, junior Henry Chung, Stubblefield). Following Cal’s dual meet wins over the Arizona schools, Murphy was named CollegeSwimming.com’s Swimmer of the Week with wins in the 100 free, 200 free, 100 back and 200 back.
2012-13 in Review: David Durden earned his fourth straight Pac-12 Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year honor in 2013 after the Bears finished 7-0 in dual meets and broke Stanford’s streak of 31 straight conference team titles. Cal went on to placed second at the 2013 NCAA championships with 406.5 points, trailing only Michigan (480). Tom Shields won 2013 national titles in the 100 and 200 fly, while the Bears’ 200 and 400 medley relays both placed second. At the 2013 Pac-12 meet, Shields won the 100 back, the 100 fly and the 200 fly; Prenot was the conference champion in the 400 IM and Cal captured both the 200 and 400 medley relays. In all, Durden has helped lead the Bears to 16 individual NCAA titles and nine NCAA champion relays since 2008. In addition, he has guided Cal athletes to 26 individual Pac-10/12 titles and 15 conference relay titles.
Head Coach David Durden:David Durden, in his seventh year leading the Cal men’s swimming and diving program, has led the Golden Bears to national team titles in 2011 and 2012 and a national runner-up finish in 2013. Durden has been named NCAA Coach of the Meet three times and Pac-12 Coach of the Year four seasons in a row. In six years, Durden has led the Bears to their first NCAA team title since 1980 in 2011, and then guided his squad to another national crown in 2012. In a spectacular sixth year at Cal, Durden led his 2012-13 squad to a 7-0 mark, including defeating Stanford in dual meet competition for the first time since 2005, as well as winning the conference title for Cal for the first time since 1981. Before his pair of national crowns, he led the Bears to an NCAA runner-up finish in 2010 and fourth-place finishes in 2008 and 2009. Durden now owns an overall dual meet record of 39-9 (.812). He joined the Golden Bears in 2007 upon the retirement of Hall of Fame coach Nort Thornton, who is now Head Coach Emeritus. His assistant coach is Yuri Suguiyama and Cal’s diving coach is Todd Mulzet.