Feb. 16, 2011
STANFORD, Calif.-- It will be a battle between No. 1 and No. 2 in the final dual match of the season when No. 1-ranked Cal (4-0) hosts No. 2-ranked Stanford (6-0) on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Last year's Big Splash came down to the last event, with Stanford's second relay team beating Cal for the four-point victory on The Farm. In championship play, Stanford won its 29th-straight Pac-10 title, ahead of Cal and at the NCAA Championships, Cal finished as the national runner-up and Stanford was fourth in a championship delayed a day by illness.
Cal's bread and butter is in the sprints with Nathan Adrian holding the nation's fastest 50 free time and seventh-fastest 100 free mark. Stanford though will challenge with its top two sprinters, Aaron Wayne and Alex Coville. Both Stanford sprinters rank in the top-15 in both short distances with Coville ranking No. 6 in the 50 free and Wayne, No. 8 in the 100 free.
Cal's Tom Shields is the January Pac-10 Swimmer of the Month and could be a part of an interesting 100 fly event throughout the next month. That race will feature the 2010 and 2009 champions, both from the Bay Area . Stanford's Austin Staab was the winner two years ago, Shields won the event last season. Bobby Bollier will also challenge in the fly, ranking No. 3 nationally in the 200 fly and No. 21 in the 100 fly.
Shields is not the only Pac-10 honoree for the month of January. Stanford diver Brent Eichenseer was named the male diver of the month. Eichenseer last dove at BYU last Friday, finishing second in the three-meter and one meters Junior Taylor Sishc and freshmen Dhruv Tyagi and Noah Garcia have all emerged as the Cardinal's second tier of divers.
Eichenseer has the top scores on the season, in the one-meter (378.45) and in the three-meter (385.65), while Garcia (359.55, three-meter), Tayagi (354.65, three-meter) and Sishc (353.70, one-meter) have all scored in the 350's.
In the 200 free, Shields will have company, as he ranks No. 6 nationally and Stanford's Rob Andrews is No. 8.
Stanford remains a threat in the longer distances with America's top distance swimmer, Chad La Tourette still ranking No. 1 in the 1000 and 1650 freestyles. Stanford senior Scotty Korotkin has also emerged as a top distance swimmer, ranking in the national top-20 in both events.
Stanford's top backstrokers, Matt Thompson and Matthew Swanston remain ranked No. 9 and No. 10 in the 200 back, while Cal's top two-- Mathias Glydesen and Shields are No. 8 and No. 10 in the shorter event.
Thompson has also made a wave on the national rankings in the 400 IM (No. 9) and the 200 IM (No. 23).
The Championship season begins next week with the divers and women's programs headed to Federal Way, Wash for the Pac-10 Women's and Diving Championships February 23-26. The Men's Championship will be March 2-5 in Long Beach, Calif., with the men's diving results added from a week earlier. The zone regional diving championships, which will ultimately decide the diving field runs March 10-12, with the men's NCAA Championships racing from March 24-26 in Minneapolis. The women's NCAA Championships from March 17-19 is in Austin, Texas.