- Written by Sharon Robb
California won its second consecutive NCAA Men's Division I Swimming and Diving National Championship trophy late Saturday night in Federal Way, Wash.
With two events remaining on the third and final night, the Bears clinched the team title with a one-two finish in the 200-yard butterfly at the King County Aquatic Center.
"They did something not many teams have ever done. They took a good team and made it phenomenal."- Arizona's coach Eric Hansen on Cal Bears.
Last year the Bears needed to win the final event to hold off Texas and clinch.
California freshman Will Hamilton upset teammate and NCAA record holder Tom Shields to win the 200-yard butterfly by 0.13 in 1:40.94.
"I know the projections were all over the place, but we knew it and I think we finally showed that's all that ever mattered," said Shields, named Swimmer of the Meet.
"It's nice to come back and do it and do it in a completely different way."
It was the Bears fourth team title in the men's program history and second year the Bears swept both the women's and men's titles.
California, picked to finish fifth by several swimming media outlets, finished with 535.5 points ahead of favored Texas with 491 and Stanford with 426.5.
"What Cal did I have all the respect in the world for," said first-year coach Eric Hansen of Arizona, a pre-meet favorite. "They did something not many teams have ever done. They took a good team and made it phenomenal."
The Bears returned 11 swimmers off last year's winning time.
"That brought enough experience to the group and brought enough learning how to navigate this meet but also how to be successful at this meet," Cal coach Dave Durden said. "They just did a great job, particularly our seniors, in guiding our guys over the last three weeks to be successful."
Texas has finished in the top two of NCAAs for five straight years and a top five spot 32 of the last 33 seasons under veteran Olympic coach Eddie Reese. The Longhorns have won 10 NCAA men's titles, the last in 2010.
"You would think second would be good enough but it's not," Reese said. "We came in having a shot and Cal stepped up every time and had a great race.
"We let down a little bit Saturday morning and they got up on us," Reese said. "We weren't as good as we needed to be and that's my fault."
In other events:
Martin Grodzski of Georgia and Chad LaTourette of Stanford duked it out in the 1,650-yard freestyle. Grodzski won the event in a meet record 14:24.08 and LaTourette was second in 14:24.35, breaking the American record for his third NCAA runner-up finish.
Cory Chitwood of Arizona won his third straight NCAA title in the 200-yard backstroke in 1:39.66.
Texas senior Jimmy Feigen won the 100-yard freestyle in 41.95. He also anchored the Longhorns' winning 400-yard freestyle relay that won in 2:49.83 just ahead of California by .51.
Carlos Almeida of Louisville won the 200-yard breaststroke in 1:51.88. Almeida is an Olympic hopeful for Portugal.
Senior Ben Grado of Arizona won the 10-meter platform diving.
University of Florida finished eighth with 157 points. The Gators earned 27 All-American honors.
"We're a little disappointed, you always are when you don't take the top spot," UF head coach Gregg Troy said. "But that can only go to one team. I don't think we could have done better than fifth or sixth, but we raced pretty well.
"There were a couple of spots that we were just a little rocky," Troy said. "Even though this season is over we still have a couple of things we need to clean up. Overall, it was a good season."
Florida sophomore Marcin Cieslak of Poland was third in the 200-yard butterfly in a career-best 1:41.36.
It was the 12th consecutive season Troy has had a men's team finish in the Top 10.
Team totals: 1. California 535.5, 2. Texas 491, 3. Stanford 426.5, 4. Arizona 396, 5. Michigan 271, 6. Auburn 254.5, 7. USC 192, 8. Florida 157, 9. Louisville 156, 10. Indiana 140.