MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Behind national titles from senior Damir Dugonjic (100 breaststroke), sophomore Tom Shields (100 backstroke) and the 200 medley relay, No. 1-ranked California jumped to the top of the team standings at the 2011 NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships on Friday at the Dorothy L. Shepard Pool.
The Golden Bears now lead the three-day meet with 352 points, surpassing Texas (288.5) and Stanford (278.5), who had led Cal after Thursday’s finals.
Dugonjic won the 100 breaststroke national title for the third year in a row, topping the field with a time of 50.49, breaking his own school record of 50.86 set in 2009. Shields won the 100 back in a school record time of 45.03, while the 200 medley relay team of senior Guy Barnea, Dugonjic, senior Graeme Moore and senior Nathan Adrian won the national crown with a time of 1:23.12, securing the NCAA title in that event for the second consecutive year.
The Bears also gathered points with several other strong swims. Not only did Shields win the 100 back, but he was the national runner-up in the 100 butterfly (44.91) and was followed by Moore’s fourth-place finish (45.71), Adrian’s eighth-place (46.20) and junior Mathias Gydesen’s 13th-place finish (46.55).
Besides Dugonjic’s third consecutive win in the 100 breast, junior Nolan Koon was the national runner-up (51.63), senior Martti Aljand was fourth (52.24) and senior Nick Ferrif was 14th (53.47).
Along with Shields victory in the 100 backstroke, Barnea earned points with a 10th-place finish and Gydesen was 15th. Another point getter for the Bears was a fifth-place finish in the 800 freestyle relay behind the swims of Shields, Moore, freshman Sam Metz and sophomore Ben Hinshaw (6:20.54).
“We are getting better during every session of this meet and are concentrating on being able to continue that on Saturday,” said Cal coach David Durden. “We are excited to be in the position we are in, and are looking forward to racing [Saturday].”
On Thursday, Adrian won the 50 freestyle with a new American record of 18.66; and the 400 medley relay squad of Barnea (backstroke), Dugonjic (breaststroke), Shields (butterfly) and Adrian (freestyle) out-swam runner-up Texas (3:06.10) to win the national title in that event for the second year in a row.
On the final day of the 2011 NCAA Championships, Cal will be competing in the 1650 free, the 100 free, the 200 breast, the 200 fly and the 400 free relay. In 2010, Adrian won the 100 free and the Bears placed first in the 400 free relay. Last season the Bears were the national runners-up to Texas, but in 2011 will be looking to win the national team title since capturing back to back NCAA titles in 1979 and 1980 under coach Nort Thornton.