By Kevin Noth, SwimInfo Special Correspondent
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., March 25. CAL-BERKELEY was leaning heavily on Rolandas Gimbutis to pull out a victory in the 200 medley relay as the second night of finals at the NCAA Championships started.
The Golden Bears trailed both Northwestern and Arizona throughout the race, but the Cal junior’s stiffest test would likely come from the relay anchors of Ben Wildman-Tobriner of Stanford and Fred Bousquet of Auburn. Wildman-Tobriner clocked the fastest freestyle split during prelims and Bousquet’s speed is unquestioned after his performance in the 50 free yesterday.
But Gimbutis made the other two speedsters pursue him as he entered the pool slightly ahead of them. After clipping the Northwestern and Arizona anchors, Gimbutis maintained his lead throughout the rest of his finishing leg, clocking a split of 18.68 seconds and delivering a Cal victory in a pool record time of 1:25.30.
Milorad Cavic handled the backstroke leg for Cal while Henrique Barbosa (breaststroke) and Duje Draganja (butterfly) took care of the second and third legs.
Stanford touched in second place, only .08 behind as Wilman-Tobriner recorded a 50 split of 18.74. Arizona held on for third in a time of 1:25.73 and Auburn placed fourth, clocking 1:25.79 behind Bousquet’s impressive 50 split of 18.55.
Northwestern faded to fifth after opening with three strong legs. Florida took sixth, USC seventh and Texas finished eighth.