Cal wins second straight NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championship | Slideshow
By CASEY OLSON
Federal Way Mirror Sports editor
March 26, 2012 · Updated 9:38 AM
The Cal Bears left Federal Way Saturday night with the program's second consecutive NCAA men's swimming and diving national championship.
The Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center hosted the best collegiate swimmers and divers in the United States for the three-day NCAA championships.
Seattle University served as the host institution for the 2012 NCAA meet and the school partnered with the Seattle Sports Commission, the city of Federal Way and King County Parks and Recreation to host the event.
The championship round will be broadcasted on tape at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 1, on ESPNU.
Other stories about the three-day competition can be found online at NCAA.com, including wrap ups of all the races contested at the King County Aquatic Center. Complete results can be found online here.
During the three-day event, California picked up a total of six titles in individual races and relays. But the one that set the tone came in the first race of the meet when Cal won the 200 freestyle relay from an outside lane.
Texas finished second for the fourth time in the last five years. James Feigen of Texas also doubled during the championships, winning the 100 freestyle on Saturday to go with his victory in the 50 free on Thursday, then anchored the winning 400 freestyle relay by holding off Shields over the final 25 yards.
Arizona, who finished fourth in the team race, picked up two titles on the final night. Cory Chitwood became a three-time champion in the 200 backstroke as he held off a final kick from Stanford’s David Nolan to claim the title. Chitwood’s time was slightly slower than the previous two years, but he became the first three-time winner in the event since Rick Carey won three straight 200 backstroke titles for Texas from 1982-84.
A total of 270 participants (235 swimmers and 35 divers) competed in the championships. Student-athletes qualified for the swimming portion by meeting the established minimum time for the events in which they entered. Divers were determined by performances achieved at the Zone Diving meets March 5-11.
The Aquatic Center got another taste of big-time collegiate action recently by hosting the inaugural 2012 Pac-12 Women's Swimming Championships, along with both the men's and women's championships in diving. The four-day competition ran through Feb. 25.
The King County Aquatic Center is obviously no stranger to conducting national and international events. It was constructed to house the swimming and diving portions of the 1990 Goodwill Games and has since been the home to more than 50 competitions annually. The Aquatic Center last hosted the NCAA Men's National Swimming and Diving Championships in 2008.
A recent economic study conducted for King County measured the financial impact of these events on the region in excess of $7.5 million annually.
Last weekend's meet will also serve as a precursor to the King County Aquatic Center hosting the 2012 United States Olympic Diving Trials this summer.
The Trials will be held June 18-24 and will include more than 100 of the nation’s best divers with spots on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team on the line. The Trials will include men’s and women’s individual events in 3- and 10-meter competitions, plus men’s and women’s synchronized events at both heights.
Federal Way, which also held the diving trials in 2000, was selected by USA Diving, in conjunction with the United States Olympic Committee, over Indianapolis.
NBC owns broadcast rights for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials giving this event and the Puget Sound region national media exposure.
"As a region, we are thrilled to participate in the Olympic movement as our athletes prepare for London," said Ralph Morton, Executive Director for the Seattle Sports Commission, who is acting as the host for both the NCAA Championships and the Olympic Trials.
Contact Federal Way Mirror Sports editor Casey Olson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (253) 925-5565 ext. 5056.