Cal Dominates Pacific Invite





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When the University of Pacific sent out the invitations for last weekend's Pacific Collegiate Invitational, it should have thought twice about including the Cal men's swimming team.

The Bears joined collegiate teams from Pacific, UC Davis, San Francisco State, UC Santa Cruz and Biola University at Pacific's Chris Kjeldsen Pool Friday in Stockton, Calif.

The competition was split up so the teams would only compete against teams from their respective NCAA Divisions. Cal and Pacific were the only Division-I competitors present on Friday, and were joined by Stanford on Saturday.

The Bears held a commanding lead throughout the meet and finished in first place with a total 1034 points. Pacific followed in second place with 995, and Stanford brought up the rear with 865.

"Overall I'd say the team did awesome," sophomore George Wilkinson said. "Looking back at last year's times, we're much faster than we were at the beginning of the season."

Cal was the clear favorite right from the start. The Bears took first place in every event Friday, sweeping the top three places in the 200-yard individual medley, the 50 freestyle and the 1650 freestyle. Pacific only managed to nab one top-three spot - a second-place finish in the 500-yard freestyle.

Stanford's presence Saturday threw a wrench in the works, breaking Cal's winning streak by claiming first-place finishes in the 100- and 200-yard butterfly, the 100 and 200 backstroke and the 200 freestyle.

While the Card's victories may have been indicative of some weaknesses the Bears must deal with this season, Cal also displayed a number of weapons in its arsenal that should give Stanford just as much trouble.

The Bears' relay teams were the most notable of those weapons Saturday. The depth of Cal's roster gave it the necessary edge to beat Stanford in the 200-medley relay, the 800 freestyle relay and the 400 freestyle relay.

"The meet didn't give a perfect reckoning of how we're going to match up with Stanford because they weren't there on Friday," Wilkinson admitted. "But winning those relays is a very good sign."

The Bears' utter domination of the sprint freestyle events also bodes well for this season. Cal blew the competition out of the water by taking the top five places in both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle.

On an individual note, top finishers for the Bears this past weekend were senior Ratapong "Nuk" Sirisanont and sophomore Andrew Chan. Sirisanont took first-place in three events: the 500-yard freestyle (4:31.56), the 200 breastroke (2:03.35) and the 400 individual medley (3:55.87).

Chan swam his way to two first-place finishes for Cal, winning the 200 individual medley (1:51.44) and the 100 breastroke (55.59).

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