BERKELEY, CA., Jan. 11. IT was a bad weekend in the Bay Area for the nation's No. 1-ranked NCAA Division 1 men's swimming and diving team.
Coach Jon Urbancek's Michigan Wolverines, top-rated going into yeseterday's dual against Stanford at The Farm, which they lost, 148.5-89.5, were unable to rebound here this afternoon against No. 4 University of California.
The Golden Bears proved rude hosts, scoring a 129-114 victory.at Cal's Spieker Aquatics Complex.
The Golden Bears trailed, 105-102, with just two events left, but pulled through to earn the victory.
Michigan won seven of the individual events to Cal's four, but the Bears took both relays. Cal's sprinters showcased why they are the best in the nation as Coach Nort Thornton's Big Bad Bears swept the top five spots in the 50 free; and the top three in the 100 free.
Golden Bear freshman Michael Cavic, a Yugoslavian Olympian and Swimming World> prep Swimmer of the Year last season, won the 50 free (20.34), while senior Anthony Ervin — American/NCAA record-holder (19.05) placed second (20.75) in his seasonal debut.
Cavic also took third in the 200 fly (pr 1:48.91) which he no doubt regarded as "cruel and unusual" punishment. Yet those few points helped ensure the Cal win.
Michigan freshman Davis Tarwater won (1:48.48) with Cal's Malayasian Olympian, Alex Lim, also a former Swimming World prep Swimmer of the Year, runner-up (1:48.50). Lim leads the country in the 100 fly (46.76) and ranks second to Stanford's Peter Marshall (46.70r-46.83) in the 100 back.
Cal's sophomore Croatian Comet, Duje Draganja, NCAA 100 free runner-up to Ervin (who's triple defending champ and aiming for a four-peat come March), won in 43.53. That time, his seasonal pr, is just off Cavic's nation-leading 43.28 from the Longhorn Invitational in Austin a month ago. Cavic also ranks high nationally in the 50 free (19.91) while Dragnaja is second to Lim in the 100 fly with a 47.41.
Michigan's Peter Vanderkaay, who won the distance races agaisnt Stanford, won the 500 today and was runner-up to teammate Tyler deBerry in the 1000. Tarwater scored his second gold with a 1:38.16 200 free win; Dan Ketchum — the Wolverines' male Athlete of the Year last season — won the 200 IM (1:48.85); and Chris DeJong won the 200 back.
Other Bears with individual wins included sophomore Caleb Rowe's victory in the 200 breast (2:00.98) and senior Nic Bartolotta's win in the one-meter diving competition (332.33). Bartolotta finished second in the three-meter competition at 198.60 as did freshman teammate Miguel Molina in the 200 IM (1:49.94).
Cal's 200 medley relay team of junior Lim, senior Quentin Byma, Draganja and Ervin won in 1:29.03. The Bears lead the nation with their 1:27.08 from Tedas.
Cal also has the nation's fastest 400 free relay clocking (2:52.86)and ranks No. 2 to Arizona State in the 200 free relay (1:19.50-1:19.60). All those teams did NOT have Ervin on them either. Hmmm: wonder if he'll make the "A" foursome for NCAAs?
Cal won the 400 FR in 2:58.29 with a team comprised of Thiele, Ervin, Cavic and Draganja.
The Bears host the Cal Invitational next weekend, Jan. 18-20. However, several members of the team will instead compete at the Dallas Morning News Invitational in Dallas Jan. 17-18. Cal opens Pac-10 competition on the road at Arizona State Jan. 24, then travels to Tucson to swim Arizona the following day
– Bill Bell