WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
March 25, 2011
University of California at Berkeley took over the lead Friday at the NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis.
Heading into the third and final day, the Bears lead with 352 points. Texas is second with 288.5 followed by Stanford, 278.5, Arizona, 214 and Florida, 213. Florida State is 24th with 14 points.
California started off its successful night with a win in the 200-yard medley relay with Guy Barnea, Damir Dugonjic, Graeme Moore and Nathan Adrian in 1:23.12, more than a second ahead of Texas.
Barnea, Dugonjic and Moore were competing in the event for the third consecutive season. The Bears, defending champions in the relay, were the fastest morning qualifier in 1:24.39.
University of Georgia senior Bill Cregar, sixth fastest morning qualifier, snapped Michigan’s five-year win streak by winning the 400-yard individual medley in 3:40.97.
Cregar is the first Georgia swimmer to win the event since 2003 when St. Petersburg’s Robert Margalis won. Race favorite Conor Dwyer of Florida, who failed to make the final, won the “B” final in 3:42.49. Dwyer is ill with a stomach virus.
In a battle of national champions, Stanford senior Austin Staab, the 2009 NCAA champion, second fastest morning seed and race favorite, recaptured the 100-yard butterfly in 44.69 ahead of California’s Tom Shields, the defending champion and fastest morning qualifier, in 44.91.
University of Florida finally found the winner’s podium with senior Brett Fraser of the Cayman Islands, who finished seventh last year, won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:32.21. It was the third consecutive year a Gator has won the event. Conor Dwyer won last year and Brett’s brother Shaune won in 2009. Fraser had fun on the podium during the medal ceremony doing the Gator chomp.
Dugonjic, a senior, after swimming on the winning relay, came back to win an individual title in the 100-yard breaststroke in 50.94 for his third consecutive NCAA title in the event. He won in 2009 in 50.86 and 2010 in 51.65.
California added more points in the 100-yard backstroke when sophomore Tom Shields overcame Indiana sophomore Eric Ress in the last 50 yards to win in 45.02. Ress was second in 45.14.
Purdue junior David Boudia won his second NCAA title of the meet on 3-meter springboard. He finished with 472.30 points narrowly edging Grant Nel of Texas A&M with 471.35. Florida State’s Landon Marzullo was seventh with 378.85 and earned All-American honors.
Boudia goes for the trifecta on 10-meter platform on Saturday.
In the final event of the night, the 800-yard freestyle relay, favorite and top seed University of Florida with Florida Gold Coast swimmer Jeffrey Raymond of Davie swimming anchor leg (1:34.33), won in 6:14.88 ahead of Virginia in 6:16.59. Cal-Berkeley was fifth in 6:20.54. Other Gator relay members were Dwyer leading off, Fraser and Sebastien Rousseau.
The meet is being streamed live on ESPN3.com.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com