By Jeff Faraudo
Saturday, March 24th, 2012 at 9:35 pm in Spring sports.
Thomas Shields finally was beaten at the NCAA men’s swimming championships, but it didn’t derail the Bears’ run to their second straight team title at Federal Way, Wash.
That’s because Shields finished second in the 200-yard butterfly to freshman teammate Will Hamilton and the 1-2 finish helped Cal outdistance Texas and Stanford for the NCAA crown.
Hamilton won in 1 minute, 40.94 seconds and Shields — who won the 100 fly and 200 back the night before — touched in 1:41.07.
Cal had a 51 1/2-point lead entering the meet’s final event, the 400 free relay, and already had locked up the team title. But the Bears finished second, with Shields swimming the anchor leg.
The Bears finished with 535.5 points, with Texas (491) and Stanford (426.5) second and third, respectively.
“What Cal did I have all the respect in the world for,” said first-year Arizona coach Eric Hansen, whose team was considered the pre-meet favorite. “They did something not many teams have ever done: They took a good team and made it phenomenal.”
Earlier, Cal scored big points in the 200 breast, where Trevor Hoyt, Martin Liivamagi and Nolan Koon placed 2-5-6.
Cal last won back-to-back NCAA men’s swim titles in 1979 and ’80.
Meanwhile . . .
– Softball: Game 2 of the Cal-Stanford series was rained out. The teams will try to play a doubleheader on Sunday at Stanford, beginning at noon.