WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
March 26, 2011
University of California at Berkeley won its first men’s NCAA swimming title in 31 years late Saturday night.
After a dominating second day, the Bears wrapped up the title and held off defending champion Texas on the third and final day with 493 points, nearly a 64-point margin over the Longhorns at the NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis.
The Bears clinched the title with a win in the 400-yard freestyle relay in 2:47.39 with Graeme Moore, Josh Daniels, Tom Shields and Nathan Adrian.
It is California’s third men’s team title and first since winning back-to-back titles in 1979 and 1980. It was also head coach’s Dave Durden’s first title. Durden was selected the Swimming Coach of the Championships.
It is the first time since 1994 a college has won the men’s and women’s team title.
“We knew we could do something special,” said Adrian selected as the Swimmer of the Meet. “It’s great to finally win it.”
Earlier on Saturday, after barely qualifying in the morning prelims, Adrian also won the 100-yard freestyle in 41.10, just off his American record of 41.08. It was his third consecutive win in the event at NCAAs.
Texas needed to win the relay and the Bears had to finish sixth or worse for the Longhorns to defend their title. Texas finished fourth in the relay.
Texas finished second with 470 ½ points. It was the ninth NCAA runner-up finish for Texas coach Eddie Reese to go with his ten NCAA titles.
Stanford was third with 403 points, Arizona with outgoing head coach Frank Busch was fourth with 302 and Florida was fifth with 291 points. Busch now takes on the role as the new U.S. national team director.
“I’m really proud of how everyone raced all weekend,” Florida coach Gregg Troy said. “We raced tough all season long and went through some adversity this week but we still hung in there tight. We still feel like we could have been a little bit better, but overall it was a really great season.”
Texas’ Michael McBroom won the grueling 1,650-yard freestyle in 14:32.86 and became the first Longhorn to ever win the distance event.
Arizona’s Cory Chitwood, still recovering from a broken hand suffered last month, defended his title in the 200-yard backstroke by out-touching Indiana’s Eric Ress in 1:38.84, just .12 seconds ahead of Ress.
Eric Friedland of Texas added to the Longhorn shortlived excitement by winning the 200-yard breaststroke in 1:52.43. Florida State’s Rob Holderness was seventh in 1:54.82 and earned All-American honors. After the breaststroke Texas enjoyed the lead briefly, 426.5-426.
Redemption was sweet for Georgia’s Mark Dylla who won the 200-yard butterfly in 1:40.60 a year after winning the event but getting disqualified for an illegal one-hand touch. He overtook California’s Tom Shields in the final 25 yards. Florida’s Marcin Cieslak was fourth in 1:42.13 and Gator teammate Sebastien Rousseau was seventh in 1:43.15.
Purdue’s David Boudia was denied his third NCAA title of the weekend finishing second behind Duke’s Nick McCrory on the 10-meter platform for the second year in a row. McCrory won with 548.90 points. Boudia finished with 479.10. Boudia, who won two NCAA titles, was named the Diver of the Meet and Purdue coach Adam Soldati was selected Coach of the Meet.
Kenyon College saw its 31 consecutive national championship streak end when Denison won the NCAA Division III Men’s National Championships in Knoxville, Tenn. In an incredible finish, Denison captured the title by one point, 500.5-499.5. It is the first time since 1979 Kenyon has been beaten. In the women’s competition Emory won its second consecutive team title.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.