Aug. 1, 2012
LONDON -Cal's Nathan Adrian (2007-11) has etched his name among the school's all-time greats as the former Golden Bear swimming star captured the 2012 Olympic gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle today (Wednesday, Aug. 1), out-touching Australia's James Magnussen by one one hundredth of a second, 47.52 to 47.53, for the title.
"I knew James (Magnussen) was a strong closer," Adrian said. "I'm typically known to go out fast and come back a little slower, but this time I really conserved some energy that first 50 ... and then I had a little bit in me for the last 10 meters."
Adrian, the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials champion in the 100 free, upended the favored Magnussen (who won the 100 free at the 2011 World Championships and had predicted an Olympic victory) to become the first Cal men's swimmer to win an Olympic gold medal in the 100 free since Matt Biondi in 1988. He is the first individual Cal Olympic champion in men's swimming since Anthony Ervin won the gold in the 50 free in 2000.
So far it has been an outstanding London Games for Adrian. On July 29, he swam the lead-off leg of the United States' silver medal-winning 400 free relay, and on Tuesday he won both his morning and semifinal heats of the 100 free. Adrian had the second fastest time 47.97, behind Magnussen's 47.63, entering Wednesday's final. He is next slated to swim the freestyle leg of the United States' 400 medley relay on Friday (Aug. 3).
Between his freshman and sophomore years at Cal, Adrian swam in the prelims of Team USA's 400 free relay that won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He went on to lead the Bears to the 2011 NCAA team title while capturing 11 individual/relay national titles and earning first-team Academic All-American honors during his Cal career.
Also on Wednesday Adrian's former Cal teammate, Martin Liivamagi (2009-12) of Estonia, placed fifth in the morning heat of the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:01.99, but did not advance.
Former Bear swimmers will continue to have a busy Olympics on Thursday, Aug. 2. Anthony Ervin (2000-03) will be competing in the heats of the 50 free, and Milorad Cavic (2003-06) of Serbia and Dominik Meichtry (2005-08) of Switzerland, will be swimming in the prelims of the 100 fly.