BERKELEY – David Durden, who has led the Cal men’s swimming and diving program to NCAA team titles in three of the last four years, has been named the NCAA Coach of the Meet for the fourth time in his career by the CSCAA (College Swimming Coaches Association of America) after guiding the 2013-14 Golden Bears to the national title.
Durden and the Bears were able to upend host Texas this past weekend (March 29) in Austin, Texas by outscoring the Longhorns, 468.5-417.5, in their own pool. Cal also outscored Pac-12 foes Arizona (seventh), USC (eighth) and Stanford (ninth) during the NCAA championships and has been undefeated in dual meets the past two years, accumulating a 15-0 mark while also winning back-to-back conference meets for the first time since 1980 and 1981.
Since 2008, Durden has produced 18 individual national champions and has seen 12 relays win NCAA crowns. He has also guided Cal swimmers to 32 Pac-12 titles and 17 conference relay titles.
In 2014, the Bears were bolstered by the outstanding swimming of freshman Ryan Murphy, who was spectacular in his first NCAA meet, winning both the 100 back (school record 44.63) and 200 back (NCAA record 1:37.35); and was a member of NCAA title winning 200 free relay (swimming the second leg), 200 medley relay (backstroke leg) and 400 medley relay (backstroke leg).
“It’s awesome,” said Murphy of his first NCAA championship. “It’s was one of the best meets of my life and it was great for the team, most importantly. Hopefully we can keep the momentum rolling (in the coming years). This meet is so physically taxing. I’ve never been an emotional swimmer, but this meet – in order to be successful – you have to swim with a lot of emotion. So it’s been a bit of an adjustment, but it’s so much fun.”
Murphy, from Ponte Verde, Florida, was also the 100 and 200 back champion at the Pac-12 meet, and earlier in the year was selected CollegeSwimming.com’s Swimmer of the Week when he won four individual events against Arizona and Arizona State.
Other Cal swimmers who joined Murphy as national champions at the NCAA meet in 2014 were sophomore Tyler Messerschmidt, senior Tony Cox and junior Seth Stubblefield in the 200 free relay; and junior Chuck Katis (breaststroke), senior Marcin Tarczynski (butterfly) and Stubblefield (freestyle) in the 400 medley relay.
Katis, Cox and Messerschmidt also joined Murphy as they all earned gold as members of the Bears’ national champion 200 medley relay team that set an American record with a time of 1:22.83.
After trailing host Texas after the first two days of the NCAA meet, Cal got a boost from senior distance freestyler Jeremy Bagshaw, who was the national runner-up in the 1650 free with a school record time of 14:30.00, setting the tone for the rest of the evening as the Bears powered their way to the school’s fifth national title in men’s swimming and diving.
“It’s kind of interesting that Cal won this meet from a miler. And that’s what happened today,” Durden said to ESPN after the meet. “Jeremy got the ball rolling, and we just followed his lead. This one is special. From where we were last year (when the Bears finished as national runners-up to Michigan) and now, 365 days later, it was a lot of hard work.”