LONG BEACH, California, March 8. DESPITE having only three seniors, Stanford won its 27th consecutive Pacific-10 Conference men's swimming championship Saturday night at Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool.
The Cardinal finished 96 points ahead of second-place Cal, 865-769. Arizona took third place with 748.5 points.
Stanford coach Skip Kenney, who guided the Cardinal to all 27 conference titles, ranked the 2008 championship among the highlights of his career.
"Personally, I can say that three of these (titles) standout above all the others: the very first one, the one that we won by eight points and this one," Kenney said. "We have a young team and most of the country expected this to be the year the streak ended."
Kenney attributed the Cardinal's success to his squad's camaraderie.
"Team chemistry is what allows people to reach their potential," he said. "The bottom one-third of the team has to create the atmosphere for the top-one third to flourish. The first night, we had 19 swims and 17 lifetime-best times."
Stanford held only a 613-602 advantage over the Golden Bears with four events remaining, and led the Wildcats 661-653.5 with three events left.
But the Cardinal's Paul Kornfeld secured the victory by winning the 200-yard breaststroke in 1 minute, 54.49 seconds — the nation's second-fastest time in the event this year.
Kornfeld, who recorded the country's fastest time in breaking the Pac-10 record for the 100 breast on Friday night, was voted the swimmer of the meet by the coaches.
Elsewhere, Arizona's 400 freestyle relay team of Darian Townsend, Nicholas Nilo, Albert Subirats and Joel Greenshields swam the fastest national time to win in 2:50.73.
Cal's squad of William Copeland, Jernej Godec, Joe Whittington and Dominik Meichtry finshed second with a time of 2:52.08, the country's third-fastest.
Copeland and teammate David Russell also registered the third-fastest national times in their respective individual specialties. Copeland won the 100 freestyle in 42.47 seconds and Russell took the 200 backstroke in 1:42.01.
Arizona State earned its only meet victory when C.J. Nuess qualified for the NCAA championships by dominating the field in the 1,650 freestyle.
Nuess, who led by as many as 12 seconds, won in 14:55.84 and beat Stanford's David Mosko by nearly eight seconds.
The Cardinal's Daniel Beal became the conference's only qualifier in the 200 butterfly, which he won in 1:44.68.
Special thanks to the Pac 10 for contributing this report.