Stanford's seemingly never-ending domination of the conference title continued as the Cardinal won it for the 28th consecutive time, while California sophomore Nathan Adrian set another American record as the 2009 Pacific-10 Conference Men's Swimming Championships came to an end Saturday at Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool.
Adrian set a new American record in the 100-yard freestyle as the opening swimmer in the 400-yard freestyle relay. He touched the wall in 41.43, smashing the mark Anthony Ervin set at the 2002 NCAA Championships.
Honored as the Swimmer of the Meet, Adrian had already claimed victory earlier in the evening in the 100-yard freestyle, as he finished well ahead of Stanford's Austin Staab and Jake Allen in a meet-record 41.64.
During four days of competition, Adrian won individual titles in the 50-yard - setting another American record in the process - 100-yard and 200-yard freestyle races and was part of Cal's 400-yard medley relay triumph.
"The 200 was what really surprised me," said Adrian, citing his slow preliminary times. "I was really happy and that's what really surprised me most at this championship."
The Bears claimed six of the 13 individual races and two of four relays contested, disrupting an expected showdown between nationally ranked No. 1 Stanford and No. 2 Arizona.
"I went into this [meet] taking this as an indicator of what our team is capable of at the NCAA level," Adrian said. "It's another stepping stone along the path to what we're capable of."
Adrian's teammate, Nolan Koon, had perhaps the night's most surprising swim. Working from lane one, Koon snuck past fellow Golden Bears Sean Mahoney and Martti Aljand to claim the 200-yard breaststroke.
Koon finished in 1:54.22, with the junior Mahoney (1:54.27) and sophomore Aljand (1:54.37) rounding out the Cal sweep.
The Bears' rival, Stanford, added to the trophy case with the team title, and veteran Coach Skip Kenney expects more at the upcoming NCAA Championships.
"Every team is different with a new group of kids, so every season is different," Kennedy said. "This team is a little more geared toward the NCAAs without losing focus on the Pac-10 championship."
Stanford showed off its youth in controlling the 1650-yard freestyle, with underclassmen claiming three of the top four positions. Freshman Chad La Tourette romped to the title in 14:39.01.
La Tourette downed Washington senior Scott Spansail (14:44.24), with Cardinal freshman Trevor Scheid and sophomore David Mosko coming in third and fourth respectively. The top four all met NCAA qualifying times.
Another first-year Cardinal, Bobby Bollier, won the 200-yard butterfly in 1:42.92. Arizona freshman AJ Tipton finished second in a time of 1:43.43, while Peter Davis of Cal was third.
"We have a great freshman class, maybe one of our best ever," Kenney said. "It's been one of the more fun years. They've brought a lot of energy."
Stanford standout Eugene Godsoe took home his second individual title of the week in the 200-yard breaststroke. The junior set a new meet record with his winning-time of 1:40.51.
Arizona's Jake Tapp was second in 1:40.72, with senior David Russell of Cal (1:41.06) finishing third.
The Cardinal also took home the 400-yard freestyle relay, along with new conference and meet records, in its 2:48.32 swim. Cal, led by Adrian's own record-setting performance, was second. Arizona finished in third place.
Nearly 50 automatic qualifying times were met in the pool this week, leaving the conference well positioned for the upcoming NCAA finals, to be held in College Station, Texas from March 19-21.
"The excitement is the whole Pac-10 is up," Kenney said. "We're going to take the best swimming conference to the NCAA Championships and see how many teams we can put in the top five."
In the race for the conference championship, Stanford came out on top with 918.5 points. The Golden Bears were second with 866. Arizona finished in third with 647 points, followed by USC (396), Washington (309) and Arizona State (238.5).
Pac-10 Team Champions: Stanford
Pac-10 Swimmer of the Meet: Nathan Adrian (California)