Aug. 1, 2012
LONDON - Cal lifted its 2012 Olympic medal total to eight on Wednesday with wins by swimmers Nathan Adrian and Dana Vollmer and a bronze medal from rower Kara Kohler. Adrian edged favored Australian James Magnussen by the slimmest of margins in the 100-meter freestyle, while Vollmer and the United States posted an Olympic record to win the 800-meter freestyle relay. Kohler and the U.S. quadruple sculls took third in this morning's final.
If Cal constituted a country, the Golden Bears would have the 11th-most medals overall, just ahead of Ukraine, Romania and Canada, which have six each.
"I knew James 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 Martin Liivamagi (2009-12) of Estonia - Adrian's former Cal teammate - placed fifth in the morning heat of the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:01.99, but did not advance. Cal assistant coach Greg Meehan is an assistant coach for Estonia.
Former Bear swimmers will continue to have a busy Olympics on Thursday, Aug. 2. 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.
"I knew Allison was going to pull off something amazing, and the rest of us had to be at least even with everyone else," said Vollmer, who also won gold and set a world record in the 100 fly on the second night of competition. "I fought as hard as I could that last 50 meters to either get ahead or at least stay even with the field so every person diving in would have the best chance they could.
"It's amazing that confidence we have in each other. The adrenalin rush was just amazing."
Women's swimmers have produced five of Cal's eight medals in London, with two from Vollmer and one bronze each from Caitlin Leverenz (200 IM), Natalie Coughlin (400-free relay) and Jessica Hardy (400-free relay).
Hardy looks to add to the medal haul on Thursday night in the 100-free final, after posting the eighth-best time (53.86) in the 100-free semifinals tonight. She also clocked the eighth-best time in the morning prelims (54.09), while alumna and Hong Kong star Hannah Wilson missed out on the semifinals by placing 21st with a time of 55.33.
In the 800-free relay prelims, the Vollmer-anchored U.S. quartet posted the second-fastest time (7:50.75) of the morning. Alumna Sara Isakovic led off Slovenia's relay, which finished 14th (8:04.69) and out of final contention. Alumna and New Zealand Olympian Lauren Boyle was eligible for but did not swim with her country's relay, which finished 11th (7:55.92) and out of the final.
Finally, in the men's pair, Canada's Scott Frandsen advanced to the gold medal race after placing third in the semifinals at 6:56.47. Frandsen and his partner, David Calder, will go for the gold in Friday's final.
Women's Water Polo
Windes played a little more than 16 minutes in the match against Spain, recording two key assists. Her assist to Kami Craig with 3:13 left in the third period enabled Team USA to tie the score, 6-6. Windes' assist to Brenda Villa with 5:56 in the fourth period gave the Americans an 8-6 advantage. Unfortunately, the United States was not able to maintain its advantage.
Petri, the oldest member of the USA Olympic team at 34, saw 6:15 minutes of action against Spain.
Team USA is now 1-0-1 in London and will next face China (0-2) on Friday, Aug. 3. The Americans opened the Olympics with a 14-13 win over Hungary on July 30.