By Bill Bell
SANTA ANA, CA., April 20. TUSTIN High senior Michael Cavic swam the second-fastest prep 50 free in history today, a sizzling 19.94.
Cavic was competing at Santa Ana Foothill High's Swim Games (25 yd. pool). His time was a mere .03 off the national-record of 19.91 by Anthony Robinson when he was a Texas prepster at Houston Memorial five years ago.
Cavic's 50 free pr is 19.61 from last month's National CLub Swimming Association Championships at Belmont Plaza, and that time is history's third-quickest 50 for a 17-18 boy. Only Cal's double World Champion Anthony Ervin's record 19.50 and one other swimmer have ever gone faster.
However, Cavic did that time in a non-high school meet so it doesn't count for record purposes.
The Yugoslavian Olympian, who won the U.S. Nationals 100 fly title last month in Minneapolis, will have one last chance to get Robinson's record, and that will be the second weekend of next month at Belmont during the
Southern Section CIF Championships.
California does not hold a statewide swim championship, as it does in other sports, and instead divides the Golden State into CIF (California
Interscholastic Federation) sections for purposes of holding swimming and water polo championships.
The Southern Section, where Cavic's Tustin High is a member, is the state's largest with more than 600 schools stretching from San Luis Obispo on the north to the southern Orange County border — an area larger than many states both in terms of geography and population.
Cavic also wants to break the national prep record in the 100 fly at CIF and would seem to be in a great position to get both standards. However, as the 50 free is followed almost immediately by the 100 fly in the high school-championship program (with only diving separating the two events), Cavic will definitely have his work cut out for him.
But as the late USC football coach John McKay once quipped, when asked why his star tailback carried the ball so much, replied: "it ain't heavy." Similarly, Cavic's a big, strong boy, he should be quite capable of swimming a record-setting double when he's shaved and tapered as he will be for CIF. (He was unrested and unsahved today.)
The national prep 100 fly record is 47.81 by current Stanford star Dan Westcott, done when he was swimming for Woodlands High in Houston a few years ago. Cavic led the nation's high schoolers last season in the 50
free (20.21) and was second in the 100 fly (48.26).
Also last year Cavic set a United State Swimming 15-16 national age group record in the 100 fly with his 47.10.
Like Westcott, Robinson went on to a stellar career at Stanford. He completed his collegiate eligibiulity last season ('01) with a win at the NCAA Division 1 Championships in the 50 free over the erstwhile Mr. Ervin, who until that point had never lost a 50 free race.
Ervin's "invincibility" in the 50 seems to be on the wane, at least as far as collegiate competition is concerned. After having won the NCAA 50-100 frees as a freshman two years ago, Ervin lost the 50 last season to Robinson and this year was upset by Arizona's Roland Schoeman, 19.08-19.10.
Weep not for the Golden Bear co-Olympic gold medalist, however, as Ervin led off Cal's 200 free relay at NCAAs in 19.05, thus tying former UCLA star Tom
Jager's American Record and setting an NCAA standard (the old NCAA mark had been a 19.07 by Schoeman).
Irvine High's Diana MacManus, who won both backstroke races at the U.S. Nationals last month, set a meet-record in the 100 (56.48). Teammate Courtney Cashion did likewise in the 50 (23.89) and 100 frees (51.37).
MacManus, who swims for Coach Dave Salo's Irvine Novaquatics powerhouse in USS competition, went a pr 54.19 at last month's Speedo Challenge meet in Las Vegas.
Stanford-bound San Clemente High senior Kristen Caverly, last year's national leader in the 200 IM-100 breast, won her specialties in 2:03.64-1:04.56. Her prs are 1:58.86 (national high-school record) and
In the 500 free, Newport Harbor's Hayley Peirsol, who shares the same roof as the world record-holder/World Champion in the 200 meter backstroke both short and long course (brother Aaron!), won with a 4:52.79.
Her sibling, a senior who'll join Coach Eddie Reese's treble-defending NCAA champ University of Texas next fall, opted not to compete here. Perisol will swim CIF and may take a crack at both the 100 back and 200 free national records (47.50 by former Irvine Woodbridge star Derya Buyucuncu, 1:35.55 by Mission Viejo's Eric Diehl).
Or Peirsol may opt for the 200 individual medley, in which case he might go after former Carmel High (Ind.) star Jason Lancaster's record of 1:46.90.
Buyucuncu and Lancaster attended Michigan and were teammates on Coach Jon Urbancek's 1995 Wolverine NCAA Championship team — along with a couple of other guys named Dolan and Borges, among others. Diehl swam collegiately at Stanford and was a member of several Cardinal NCAA title-winners during his stay at The Farm.
If Reese can recruit a few more divers, he might well extend his dynasty into the next century.