NCAA Div. I Men: Cal Squeezes By Arizona -- January 26, 2003
TUCSON, AZ, January 25. THE No. 3-ranked Cal Golden Bears men's swimming team (4-0, 2-0) -- looking to move into the second-spot in the polls next week behind No. 1 Stanford -- completed a sweep of its Arizona Pac-10 foes here this afternoon with a 127-115 win over Arizona.
The dual meet at the Wildcats' Hillenbrand Aquatic Center left Coach Frank Busch's team 0-3 overall, 0-1 in the conference after having lost to Stanford here yesterday.
Cal won just three individual races but swept the relays and its superior depth put paid to any 'Cat aspirations of an upset. The Bears went 2-3 in the 1000 free, 2-4 in the 200 free, 2-4 in the 100 free, and 1,3-4 in the 200 breast plus 2-3 in the 200 back.
Seniors Joe Bruckart and Anthony Ervin and sophomore Caleb Rowe garnered wins for the Golden Bears. Bruckart won the 200 IM (1:49.68) and swam the first- and second legs, respectively, on Cal's victorious 400 medley and 400 free relays.
Ervin won the 100 free (45.18), took second in the 50 free (20.73) and anchored Cal's 400 medley relay win. Rowe won the 200 breast (2:01.42) and swam the second leg of the 400 medley relay.
Sophomore John Dorr also swam well, touching the wall in second in both the 500 (4:34.62) and 1000 free (9:31.54). The latter was won by Arizona's Chad Ainsworth (9:08.47). Cal junior Alex Lim placed second in the 200 fly (1:47.77) while freshmen Michael Cavic and Chris Gibson posted runner-up finishes in the 200 free (1:40.30) and 200 back (1:49.42), respectively.
In the 50 free, Arizona freshman Lyndon Ferns, a recent addition to the Cats' squad, did something few have been able to accomplish over the last four seasons -- beat Ervin.
He won in 20.62 to AE's 20.73 and can now tell his grandchildren that for "one great shining moment" he was "king of the pool." At the Pac-10 Championships in six weeks at Belmont Plaza, expect a somewhat different outcome.
Ferns is now 3-4 in his collegiate career after having swept the sprints against Stanford a day earlier.
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Arizona got a pair of double wins from junior Juan Veloz, a Mexican Olympian, whose 1:42.72 200 fly from the Longhorn Invitational in Austin last month leads the country and is sixth on the all-time performances list.
Veloz won the 200 fly in a modest 1:46.58, then came back to win the 500 free (4:34.55). He'll be after former Stanford star (and current Nebraska women's coach) Pablo Morales' Pac-10-record of 1:42.60 at the conference championships; and will be out to try and dethrone defending NCAA champ Ioan Gherghel of Alabama at the national collegiate meet come the final week of March in Austin.
Gherghel has been quiet so far this season, but then again he was "quiet" until NCAAs last year, when his 1:42.68 won him the title as an unheralded freshman
Morales' 1:42.60 was the American/NCAA-record when he swam it at the championship meet in Austin 15 years ago, and lasted until broken by Tennessee's Melvin Stewart (1:41.78) at NCAAs four years later -- also in Austin. Stewart went on to win the Olympic 200 fly title a year later at Barcelona. Similarly, Morales defeated defending Big O's champ Anthony Nesty for the 100 fly title there. (Nesty is currently an assistant at his alma mater, Florida.)
Burnett won the 200 free (1:39.00) and then touched first in the 200 back (1:47.72), both seasonal bests.
On the diving side, Arizona won both boards, with John Anderson (200.30) taking the 21-meter and teammate Alex Vollehanga the 3-meter (204.20). Cal's Nic Bartolotta placed second in both the one-meter (202.30) and three-meter (196.45) competitions.
The Bears do not compete next weekend, and return to action at Spieker Aquatics Complex in Berkeley on Feb. 7 against USC. The meet versus the Trojans begins at 1 p.m. Then its "The Big Splash" against the Cardinal two weeks later, also in Berkeley.
-- Bill Bell