Cal Earns Second Place at NCAAs

Photo: <b>Junior Nathan Adrian</b> retained his 100-yard freestyle title on Sunday. All told, the Bears took home seven individual titles at the NCAAs.
Shannon Hamilton/File
Junior Nathan Adrian retained his 100-yard freestyle title on Sunday. All told, the Bears took home seven individual titles at the NCAAs.

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Cal Takes Second at the NCAA Championships

Christina Jones talks about the wild 2010 NCAA championships -- disqualifications, the stomach flu and seven national titles for the Bears.

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The only way the Cal men's swimming team could win its first national championship in 20 years was if No. 2 Texas was disqualified in meet's final event, the 400-yard freestyle relay.

Junior Nathan Adrian took to the water in the final leg trailing Texas by 1.11 seconds. With ease, Adrian overtook Texas' Ricky Berens to give the No. 4 Bears the relay victory by 1.12 seconds.

The Longhorns finished the race, however, which gave them their first team title since 2002, edging second-place Cal, 500-469.5.

In a field of 35 teams, the NCAA Championships at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion in Columbus, Ohio, was a two-horse race between the Bears and Texas.

Cal impressed with its performance in the relays, going wire-to-wire to win the 200-yard freestyle relay, the first event of the meet on Friday. The team closed the day with a comeback victory in the 400-yard medley relay.

Entering the second day of competition, the Bears trailed the Longhorns by six, but Cal surged to take the lead and three titles, including the 200-yard medley relay.

Those individual titles included freshman Tom Shields' victory in the 100-yard butterfly, a 44.91 second swim that shattered a Cal record. Sophomore Mathias Gydesen finished right behind his teammate for a one-two Cal finish.

Junior Damir Dugonjic repeated as the 100-yard breaststroke champion in commanding fashion, with Texas' Scott Spann taking second.

Texas began to mount its comeback by winning Saturday's final event, the 800-yard relay, while the Bears finished 10th. Cal held a 348.5-330 advantage at the day's end.

The Bears, who specialize in the shorter distances, had to dominate Sunday's longer races to take the title. Texas put more swimmers in the finals of half of the day's swimming events, which hurt the Cal's chances.

The Longhorns pulled within 2.5 points after Sunday's first event, the 1650-yard freestyle, and seized the lead in the following event.

Not even a national title in the 100-yard freestyle allowed the Bears to recover from the deficit. While he relinquished his 50-yard freestyle crown to Cincinnati's Josh Schneider, Adrian defended his 100-yard freestyle title in 41.50 seconds to set a new pool record.

The dagger to Cal's heart was the incorporation of the platform diving scores, which preceded the final 400 free relay.

The Longhorns qualified two divers in the final, while the Bears did not have a representative. Behind a third and seventh place finish, Texas' lead swelled to 466-429.5, all but ensuring the team's victory.

While Cal did not bring home a team banner, it does bring three individual crowns and four relay titles back to Berkeley.


Contact Christina Jones at [email protected]

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