TUCSON, Arizona, January 25. The University of Arizona and UC-Berkeley, two teams expected to fight for the NCAA championship title in two months' time, raced in Tucson today, with the California Golden Bears men's team beating the Wildcats 159-134, while the Arizona women were able to defeat Berkeley 168.5-112.5.
Tom Shields, who competed internationally in the FINA World Cup and short course world championships in the fall season, made his season debut with wins in both butterfly events and both relays. Shields, the reigning NCAA champion in the 100 fly and 100 back and runner-up in last year's 200 fly, started his day with a 20.10 butterfly split in the 200 medley relay. He followed it up with a 1:46.02 to win the 200 butterfly and a 46.54 in the 100 butterfly. With the meet win already locked up by the final event, the 400 free relay, Cal decided to swim the event as an exhibition, and posted the fastest time with a 2:57.27. Shields had the fastest split of the day with a 43.39.
Jeremy Bagshaw also netted two individual event wins today, taking the 1000 (9:17.06) and 500 (4:27.06) freestyles. Berkeley almost swept the freestyle events, with Michael Haney (200 free, 1:39.05) and Seth Stubblefield (100 free, 44.51) also picking up wins. Arizona's Giles Smith stopped the sweep with a win in the 50 free with a 20.28.
Cal freshman Jacob Pebley won the 200 backstroke by four seconds with a 1:44.50, and in a bit of an upset, Josh Prenot won the 200 breast in 1:59.68 over NCAA finalist Carl Mickelson, who was second in 1:59.75, and American record holder Kevin Cordes, who finished third with a 2:00.05. Cordes managed a win for the Wildcats earlier in the session with a 54.55 in the 100 breast ahead of Mickelson's 54.71.
Mitchell Friedemann also posted a win for the Arizona men, taking the 100 backstroke in 47.93. Michael Meyer also earned first-place points in the 400 IM with a 3:57.51, as Cal had swum the event as an exhibition. Prenot posted the fastest time of the event with a 3:55.42, and Ben Hinshaw touched second with a 3:57.42.
On the women's side, both teams boasted two double event winners each, but Arizona was able to get more swimmers in scoring position, enabling the win without swimming any exhibition events. Margo Geer was the standout for Arizona, winning the 200 free in 1:46.86 and the 100 free in 48.21, in addition to great contributions on the winning 200 medley and 400 free relays.
Arizona freshman Bonnie Brandon also doubled up for the Wildcats, putting up big wins in the 1000 free (9:55.51) and 500 free (4:50.57). Kait Flederbach won the 50 free in 23.26, and Lauren Smart took the 100 fly with a 54.41 to round out Arizona's victories.
With the 200 IM not on the schedule, Cal's Caitlin Leverenz wasn't able to swim her Olympic bronze medal-winning event today, taking both breaststroke wins instead in her hometown. She won the 100 breast in a close match with Arizona's Ellyn Baumgardner, 1:01.67 to 1:01.74, and cruised to victory in the 200 breast with a 2:11.87.
Elizabeth Pelton, who broke her own American record in the 200-yard backstroke last month, won that event today with a 1:56.26 and also took the 400 IM with a 4:16.82. Rachel Bootsma, an Olympian in the 100 backstroke, won the 200 fly for the Golden Bears with a 2:00.93.
Cindy Tran, the two-time reigning NCAA champion in the 100 backstroke, won that event with a 53.76.