Cardinal Eke Out Final Event, Capture Big Meet at Spieker

Photo: For the second straight Big Meet, the Bears have fallen to rival Stanford on  the last event.
Matt Miller/Staff
For the second straight Big Meet, the Bears have fallen to rival Stanford on the last event.

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Men's Swimming: Cal vs. Stanford

Cal Men's Swimming team competed against Stanford at the Spieker Aquatics Complex on Feb. 19, ultimately leaving with a loss.

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For the second straight year, the Big Meet came down to the last event, the 400-yard freestyle relay. And when Nathan Adrian dove in for the last leg behind over a body length and a half behind, it looked like the Cal men's swimming team would be going down without a fight.

That is until Adrian made up the difference on the first 50. However, despite an incredible 100 split from the standout senior (41.51), No. 2 Stanford touched out the No. 1 Bears to the take the relay (2:53.97-2:54.05) and the meet (124.5-118.5) on a rainy Saturday afternoon at Spieker Aquatics Complex.

The 400 freestyle relay was just one of a handful of events where the Cardinal (7-0) was able to edge out Cal (4-1).

"We committed to our swims but not to our races," sophomore Tom Shields said. "Me and Mathias (Gydesen) probably could have and should have won the 200 back and 200 fly, but we chose not to in the last five yards."

Shields led the 200 butterfly from the start to about the 185-yard mark, where he was caught by Stanford's Bobby Bollier. The Mission Hills, Kan., native touched out Shields to take the race (1:44.24 1:44.28).

"Something that I've done in workout a lot is get out ahead and just chill, so I'm not good when it comes down to the touch," Shields said. "It's a lack of commitment on my part, and it's something to look at the next couple of weeks."

The 200 backstroke was just the opposite.

The Cardinal's Matthew Swanston had built an early lead, but Cal's Gydesen put on a heroic late charge, coming up just a little bit short. Swanston took the event with a time of 1:46.40, edging out Gydesen's time of 1:46.58.

"We had a couple of races slip away," coach David Durden said. "But I'm happy with how our guys acted today. We presented ourselves with class."

One bright spot for the Bears was the performance of freshman Jeremy Bagshaw. In the 500 freestyle, Bagshaw was pitted against Stanford's Chad La Tourette, the current national leader in the 1000 and 1650 freestyles.

Bagshaw hung with La Tourette for the entire swim, and nearly pulled away at the 400-yard mark. La Tourette, however, gave one final push in the last 50 yards, and touched out the freshman to take first (4:26.46-4:26.56). Freshmen Sam Metz and Scott Farley managed third and fourth, respectively, to the give the Bears a 2-3-4 finish.

"Jeremy made a couple of freshman mistakes, but did a good job and I'm proud of him," Durden said.

The Bears will get another shot at the Cardinal in two weeks when they face each other at the Pac-10 Championships. Stanford has won the Pac-10 title for the past 29 years, and look more than capable of taking it for a 30th time. Still, Cal will likely be considered the favorite due to its top-heavy lineup.

"Ultimately Pac-10s and NCAAs is really what matters for us, so we're keeping our eyes towards that," Shields said.


Connor Byrne covers men's swimming. Contact him at [email protected]

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