Swimming: Men and Women Get Off to Roaring Start Against Pacific

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Like getting an A-plus on an ungraded quiz in the first week of class, Cal swimmers have received positive early-season results.

The men's and women's swimming teams both got off to winning starts in their first meets against Pacific Friday.

The women defeated the Tigers, 142-116 powered by their usual suspects and a group of freshmen.

Junior Natalie Coughlin won the 1000-yard freestyle in nine minutes, 55.25 seconds, 100 butterfly (53.21) and 100 backstroke (55.41), while senior and fellow All-American Stacianna Stitts took first in the 200 medley (2:05:36) and 100 breaststroke (1:02.72).

"It was amazing, I've never seen us swim that fast this early in the season," Stitts said. "I didn't think I was gonna swim that fast."

Freshmen Helen Silver and Whitney Rockwell won the 200 back (2:02.35) and 50 free (23.99), respectively.

"It was really great for the girls, especially the freshmen," Stitts said. "You normally don't expect great times in their first college meet, but they got it done. We have so much potential this year."

The men's team won 163-91 by capturing every race in the meet, and relied even more on its newcomers. Freshmen Ryan Lean, Jens Thele and Mike Cavic each won two events.

"It felt really good to get out there for my first college meet, find out what it's like to compete in these races," Cavic, who won the 50 free (20.53) and 100 butterfly (49.68), said. "I've been lifting and training really hard the last five weeks, and I could feel it out there."

Cavic credited the training program.

"(Coaches) Nort (Thornton) and Mike (Bottom) have been emphasizing easy speed in training, just swimming effortlessly," Cavic said. "It was a lot easier to go 49 seconds in the (100-yard) butterfly than it was in high school."

Junior Keith Vogelsang, who won the 200 butterfly in 1:52.17, was impressed with his teammates' early-season form.

"We're really happy with the way everyone swam," Vogelsang said. "We've been in heavy training the whole time and didn't back off-we lifted weights right before the meet."

Unlike the women, the men's team sat out its biggest guns. Anthony Ervin and Duje Draganja both missed the meet.


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