July 29, 2012
LONDON - Less than two days removed from the opening ceremony, a member of the Cal contingent won its second medal in Dana Vollmer. The former Golden Bear not only won the 100-meter butterfly final but also did so in a world-record time of 55.98. Also making waves across the pond was Nathan Adrian, who took home a silver medal in the 400-meter free relay. The Blue & Gold was seen in women's rowing, men's swimming and men's water polo.
Cal had two rowers competing in Sunday's Olympic action - Erin Cafaro (women's eight) and Julie Nichols (women's lightweight double sculls).
Cafaro and the reigning world and Olympic champion women's eight dominated in the preliminary heats, clocking a time of 6:14.68. The U.S. topped second-place Australia by more than six seconds (6:20.89). The Americans have automatically advanced to Thursday's final. Canada won the other heat (6:13.91) and also advanced to the final. Cafaro is one of six Americans on the eight boat that won gold in the Beijing in 2008.
In the lightweight double sculls, Nichols and her partner, Kristin Hedstrom, took third in their preliminary heat with a time of 7:08.46. Nichols and Hedstrom, who are coached by Cal women's rowing head coach Dave O'Neill, needed to finish in the top two in order to advance directly to the semifinals. Nichols and Hedstrom will compete in Tuesday's repechage, attempting to move on to Thursday's semifinals. The final takes place on Saturday, Aug. 4.
Nathan Adrian, Cal's swimming standout from 2007-11 who helped David Durden's squad to the 2011 NCAA team title, won a silver medal as a member of Team USA's 400-meter free relay that was edged by France, 3:09.93 to 3:10.38, for the gold medal Sunday (July 29).
Adrian swam the lead-off leg for the Americans, coming in at a time of 47.89 for his 100 meters to give the United States the early lead. Swimming legend Michael Phelps swam the second leg for Team USA, followed by Cullen Jones, and Ryan Lochte swam the anchor leg for the USA squad that lost the gold medal to France by 0.45.
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. At the 2012 London Olympics, Adrian will next be competing in the heats and semifinals of the 100 free on Tuesday, July 31. He was the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials' champion in the 100 free with a time of 48.10.
Adrian's Cal teammate, Graeme Moore (2008-11), swam the third leg on South Africa's 400 free relay that placed fifth in the finals with a time of 3:13.43. Moore had swum the anchor leg for South Africa in the morning heat. Another former Bear swimmer that competed in the 400 free relay was Milorad Cavic (2003-06), whose Serbian squad was seventh in its heat, with Cavic recording a lead-off time of 48.61.
Additional swimming results for members of the Cal family on Sunday were Dominik Meichtry placing eighth in his semifinal heat of the 200 free with a time of 1:48.25. Meichtry, who swims for Switzerland and competed for the Bears from 2005-08, had swam a 1:47.97 to place fifth in the morning heat of the 200 free to advance to the semifinals.
In the morning heats of the 100 back, Mathias Gydesen (2009-12) of Denmark and sophomore Marcin Tarczynski of Poland, both placed seventh and did not advance to the semifinals. Gydesen, who recorded a time of 55.31, and Tarczynski, who clocked in at 55.06, were members of Cal's NCAA title squads in 2011 and 2012.
Dana Vollmer made a big splash in her return to the Olympics - winning the first gold medal of the Cal contingent in London - while three of her former teammates, a current Golden Bear and a future Bear were also in action on Sunday.
Vollmer captured the second Olympic gold medal of her career - and her first individual gold - when she won the 100-meter butterfly final in a world-record time of 55.98. The 2011 world champion in the 100 fly, the Cal alumna broke her own Olympic record of 56.25 that she had set in Saturday's preliminary heats. Vollmer also swam the fastest semifinal time (55.36). She previously won Olympic gold with the United States' 800-free relay in the 2000 Summer Games.
Vollmer became the first woman to swim under 56 seconds in the 100 fly.
"For the past year I've had my eye on that 55," Vollmer said. "To be the first person to do that pulls together the experience I've had here. There were multiple moments in my career where I didn't know I was going to be here. I did something no one's ever done before, and there were a lot of people [family, coaches and friends] who helped me pull it all off."
A pair of her former Cal teammates - Sara Isakovic (Slovenia) and Hannah Wilson (Hong Kong) - also swam in the 100-fly prelims, but neither Wilson (59.59) nor Isakovic (59.86) advanced to the semifinals.
Alumna Lauren Boyle - also a Golden Bear teammate of Vollmer, Wilson and Isakovic - reached the 400-free final, finishing eighth in a time of 4:06.25 after posting a New Zealand-record time of 4:03.63 in the prelims.
"It didn't pan out how I thought it would," Boyle said. "But I'll take a 4:03 any day.
"I've learnt a lot from today. I haven't swum such a fast heat before then had to come out in the evening for a final. I didn't handle it as well as I wanted."
In the 100 backstroke, incoming freshman Rachel Bootsma (USA) reached the semifinals - clocking the 11th-best time of 1:00.04 in the final 16 - but did not advance to the final. Rising junior Stephanie Au (Hong Kong) posted a prelim-time of 1:04.31, though she did not reach the semifinals.
Men's Water Polo
Two members of the Cal family competing in men's water polo at the London Olympics - John Mann (2003-06) of the United States and sophomore Aleksa Saponjic of Serbia - were both on the winning side during the first round of matches Sunday (July 29) at the Water Polo Arena.
Mann's Team USA squad defeated Montenegro, 8-7, while Saponjic's Serbian team upended powerhouse Hungary, 14-10.
Nether Mann or Saponjic scored for the respective countries, but were instrumental in Sunday's wins. Mann played 7:47 for the Americans, while Saponjic played 7:28 for Serbia and recorded one steal, had one block shot and won two of three sprints he participated in.
Team USA will next play Romania on Tuesday, July 31. Romania had defeated host Great Britain, 13-4, Sunday. Serbia will next face Great Britain on Tuesday.
What to Watch on MondayMen's Rowing - Results
Olivier Siegelaar, Netherlands - Men's 8+, 9:50 a.m. GMT Repechage 1, Lane 5
Women's Rowing - Results
Kara Kohler, USA - Women's 4x, 9:40 a.m. GMT Repechage 1, Lane 4
Women's Swimming - Results
Women's Water Polo - Results