Stanford Bests Swimmers but Cal Finishes Strong

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Every year there is the rivalry to consider. But rivalries tend to become bogged down in tradition and mean something only to a zealous few.

Not so with the Cal and Stanford men's swimming teams. Before there was just the rivalry. Now, it's personal.

The No. 6 Cardinal defeated the No. 4 Bears (6-3, 2-2 in the Pac-10) at the ritual end-of-the-year cross-Bay faceoff Saturday at Stanford's deGuerre Pool. The Card established a comfortable lead early in the meet and held on to win, 137-106.

"We were definitely disappointed, but there are bigger things ahead," Cal sophomore George Wilkinson said. "Saturday wasn't our day but (the Pac-10 Championships will) be a showdown. Both teams are going to be out for blood and Stanford knows they can be had."

The Cardinal's edge was the middle distance events. Stanford (6-3, 3-1) got a tremendous point boost with a one-two-three finish in the 200-yard freestyle. The Card's John Waters swam a NCAA provisional qualifying time to win the race (1:37.96), with teammate Adam Messner following a hairsbreadth behind (1:38.00). Clayton Jones rounded out the sweep for Stanford with a 1:39.67.

The 500 free flashed right back to the 200. The Cardinal once again swept the top three spots as Messner swam another provisional time to win the event (4:24.92). Teammates Greg Long and James Davison took second and third (4:29.05, 4:29.83).

Bears sprinting superstar Bart Kizierowski, won the 50 freestyle with a 20.24 and teammate Matt Macedo snagged the second-place nod with a 20.51. Macedo also took second in the 100 free (45.38), while freshman teammate Anthony Ervin captured first place (43.92).

Additional first-place individual finishes for Cal came in the 1000 free and the 200 butterfly. The 1000 free was incredibly close for such a long event - Bears senior Ratapong Sirisanont (9:13.73) and Stanford's Reid Gustin kept it close for the whole 40 laps, with Sirisanont turning it on at the end to beat Gustin by little more than a tenth of a second.

Hiro Sakoda put forth a strong effort in the 200 fly (1:47.83), out-swimming the Card's Steven Brown by three hundredths of a second.

Cal's diving team also put forth a superlative effort, outscoring the Stanford squad. The Bears didn't take first in either the one- or the three-meter events, but Dustin Shawnego, Nick Bartollota and Joe Kocal went two-three-four on the one-meter board and two-three-five on the three.

Stanford won, but the end of the meet left it with something to think about. Cal assembled a squad of its fastest sprinters for the final event of the day, the 400 freestyle relay. The individual sprints of Ervin (43.77), Macedo (44.23), Scott Greenwood (44.82), and Kizierowski (43.20) combined for a 2:56.02, setting a new pool record and blowing Stanford's relay squad out of the water.

"It may not have been our day," Wilkinson admitted. "But it finished the way we wanted it to. Everyone was there for the last relay, and we kicked their ass."


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