Cal Continues Dominating Spring With Dual VictoriesBears Sweep Trifecta of Events Against Trojans, Take Top Four Spots in Two Against Bakersfield
Monday, February 7, 2011
Category: Sports > Winter > Swimming (Men's)
Usually when a team faces a top-10 opponent, it tries to be at full strength and in top form in order to be as competitive as possible.
The Cal men's swimming team went a different route this weekend, putting some of its swimmers in off events and declaring others ineligible to score.
No. 1 Cal (4-0) swept its first pair of home dual meets at Spieker Aquatics Complex. The Bears took down No. 8 USC (160-133) on Friday night, and followed it up with a 113-83 win over Cal State Bakersfield on Saturday morning.
Neither the Trojans nor the Roadrunners could consistently contend with the Bears. In both meets, Cal entered its final swimmers as exhibition entries in order to not run up the score. Still, coach David Durden believes there is room for improvement.
"I think our meets have been a little bit closer than maybe what the scores have indicated," he said. "We just need to keep a forward thinking attitude."
It's hard to agree with him, at least on the first part.
Against USC, Cal went 1-2-3 in three events, and took first in nine of 16. Sophomore Tom Shields won all three of his events, taking the 200-yard freestyle, 200 backstroke, and 100 butterfly.
Less than 12 hours after defeating the Trojans, the Bears had an even more dominating performance against Bakersfield. Cal entered eligible swimmers in just eight events, yet dropped only one race and went 1-2-3-4 in two others. Senior Nathan Adrian didn't even compete in any individual events, and only swam the 100 butterfly leg of the 400 medley relay.
"We just wanted the guys to really invest in one particular event," Durden said, "Not necessarily their main event, but something that will ultimately help them come March."
For Adrian, that event was the 100 butterfly, which is typically his third event in championship format meets.
Despite all this success, Durden thought his team struggled in some areas, particularly related to having their first pair of meets at home.
"When you're at home and you swim an event on a Friday, you sort of go back to your normal life and get out of meet mode, and you have to jump back into it the next morning," Durden said. "I think we struggled with that, but that's a good thing to struggle with."
Despite "struggling" on the weekend, the Bears still proved their worth as the top team in the nation.
Having passed all four tests thrown at them thus far, hosting Stanford in two weeks remains the final tune up for the Bears before the Pac-10 Championships, followed by the NCAA Championships, both of which Cal has been pegged a heavy favorite.
"We're in a great spot. We're not letting expectations cast a shadow on what we're trying to do," Adrian said. "We want to blaze our own trail instead of letting people decide what we're going to do."
Connor Byrne covers men's swimming. Contact him at [email protected]
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