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Better Know An Olympian I: The Motion Picture

Well, Cal has 39 representatives at the Beijing Olympics.  And apparently, there could be more.  Some other foreign teams are still working out the kinks of their team and some Cal athletes are in the mix there.  But I thought for at least the currently known Cal representatives, we could take a look at them.  Sure, everybody knows about Jason Kidd, but many of these people toil in anonymity.  This is their time in the sun.  So, let's get to better know an Olympian. 



These things haunt my dreams.

1.  Nathan Adrian



Nathan Adrian
Country: USA
Event: Men's Swimming - Freestyle
Hometown: Bremerton, Wash.
Years at Cal: 2006-07 (slated to return after 2008 Olympics)

Adrian was outstanding at the 2008 Short Course World Swimming Championships, winning the gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle with a championship record with a time of 46.67. He also was a member of the U.S. gold medal-winning and world record-setting 400 frees relay. Adrian sat out the 2007-08 collegiate season to train for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. As a freshman for the Bears, he placed second in the 100 butterfly at the 2007 Pac-10 championships and had an eighth-place finish in the 100 free at the 2007 NCAA meet. Adrian plans to return to the Cal squad for the 2008-08 campaign.



Here, Nathan gets interviewed about Gary Hall Jr. trying to make the Olympic team.  Gary Hall Jr is the guy who apparently runs the Race Club that Nathan trains at.  And if I am reading this all correctly, Nathan beat Gary Hall to keep him out of the Olympics.  But there's a strong possibility I'm totally missing this all here, so who knows:



Another interview with Nathan Adrian.  This kid is apparently a super-stud, but then again, if you are making the Olympics, you generally are.  This article, gives more information on his decision to take the semester off to train for the Olympics.  It is kind of like redshirting, but Cal doesn't require him to take classes.  There was more involved to the decision, too:

Adrian said it was a difficult decision to leave Cal, but he fully intends to return to the university next season and swim for the Golden Bears.

"After everything that happened with the Cal coaching situation, there was a long time that I really had no idea who was going to be the coach at Cal," said Adrian said, who said he would still be at Cal if the coaching situation had been different.

Longtime head coach Nort Thorton retired and current coach David Durden didn't take over until August.

2. Martti Aljand




Martti Aljand
Country: Estonia
Event: Men's Swimming - 100 Breaststroke, 200 Breaststroke
Hometown: Tallinn, Estonia
Years at Cal: 2007-08 - present

Aljand, who recently completed his freshman year at Cal, has qualified for the Olympics and will swim for Estonia in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke. At the 2008 NCAA championships, he placed sixth in the 200 breast, eighth in the 100 breast, 13th in the 200 IM, and swam the anchor leg of Cal's 800 free relay that placed 10th. Aljand was also third at the 2008 Pac-10 meet in the 200 IM and fifth in the 200 breast. He is a five-time Estonian champion in the 200 individual medley.

Not easy to find English articles on this guy.  I think this one is about Stanford in some way.  Anybody fluent in whatever language they speak in Estonia.  Also, anybody know what language they speak in Estonia?



3. Henrique Barbosa




Henrique Barbosa
Country: Brazil
Event: Men's Swimming - 100 Breaststroke, 200 Breaststroke
Hometown: Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Years at Cal: 2003-06

Barbosa, owner of the Cal record in the 200 breaststroke (1:53.97), captured both the 100 and 200 breast titles at the 2006 NCAA championships. He was an NCAA finalist in each of his first three years with the Bears, as well. Barbosa finished seventh in the 100-meter breast (1:00.33) at the 2004 Short Course World Championships. He graduated from California High School in nearby San Ramon, Calif.





Here's an interview

What's your favorite band?


Awkward!  It appears that Henrique trains at the same place as Nathan Adrian.

4. Guy Barnea.



Guy Barnea
Country: Israel
Event: Men's Swimming - 100 Backstroke
Hometown: Omer, Israel

Barnea, a semifinalist in the 50-meter backstroke at the World Championships in Melbourne last year, holds the Israeli record in the 50 back, 100 back and 100 butterfly. At the 2007 European Games in Paris, he took sixth place in the 100 back. Barnea competed for Cal as a freshman, had the team's third-best time in both the 100 back (48.19) and 200 back (1:43.67). He placed fifth in the 100 back at the 2007 Pac-10 meet.

Jerusalem Post has a brief article on Guy, where it states this:

Israel's No. 1 swimmer Guy Barnea is the country's only realistic hope of winning an Olympic swim medal.

The 20-year-old, who will participate in the 100 meter backstroke and butterfly competitions, should advance from the qualifiers to the semifinals if he approaches his Israeli record time of 54.90 seconds in the 100m backstroke. He also has a chance of reaching the final if he can slightly better his personal best, not a rare occurrence for athletes at the Games.

Barnea, who trains at Berkley University in California, will be making his Olympic debut in China. At this year's European Championships, he finished seventh the 100m backstroke final.

That's a lot of pressure on the dude.  This may or may not be a video of Guy Barnea either getting punched in the face by a dude with a sock on his hand OR punching a guy in the face with a sock on his hand.  I am SO confused:

He just got 4th place in the European Championships by a very tight margin. 

And for the ladies, that's Nathan Adrian (I think) and Guy Barnea frolicking together:



5. Lauren Boyle




Lauren Boyle
Country: New Zealand
Event: Women's Swimming - 800 Freestyle Relay
Hometown: Whenupai, Auckland, New Zealand
Years at Cal: 2007-present

Boyle qualified for the New Zealand Olympic team in the 800-meter freestyle relay at her country's trials in late March. During her collegiate season in 2008, she broke her own Cal record in the 1650-yard free with a time of 16:01.80 at the NCAA championships, where she finished fifth. Boyle initially set the mark of 16:03.51 when she won the event at the Pac-10 meet, snapping a record that had stood for 20 years. Her 1650 victory was Cal's first in the event since Sarah Anderson claimed the title in 1989. Boyle also placed fourth in the 500 free at Pac-10s (4:45.37). She represented New Zealand at the 2005 World Championships and placed eighth in the 800-meter free relay.

I'm not sure if I've linked this correctly, but this might go to a video interview of her.  From her bio linked above.

Why I Chose Cal

"Cal has a unique way of combining world class swimming and world class academics that other schools could not compete with."





Here's an article on a record breaking performance in March for Ms. Boyle. 

6. Erin Cafaro



Erin Cafaro
Country: USA
Event: Rowing - Eight
Hometown: Modesto, Calif.
Years at Cal: 2002-06

A 2006 first-team All-American and All-Pac-10 team selection, Cafaro won NCAA and Pac-10 championships with Cal's varsity eight in 2005 and 2006 and was a member of the overall NCAA champions in both years. With the U.S. national team, Cafaro won gold in the four at the 2007 FISA World Championships, won bronze in the eight at the 2006 FISA World Championships, won silver in the eight at the 2006 FISA World Cup stop in Lucerne and won gold in the four at the 2005 FISA Under 23 World Championships. She won gold in the eight and silver in the four at the 2007 USRowing national championships



A report on Cafaro's training regiment.  It contains the terrible fact that she's a Giants fan.  Try to look past that!

5 reasons to like Erin Cafaro. 

An interview with her parents.  It includes this tidbit of info:

1.  Most of us think our kids are the greatest.  You’ve got proof that yours actually is…what’s that like?

The thing about Erin that has always amazed us is her perseverence.  Also, whenever she sets her mind on a goal, just get out of her way!  I can think of two examples. 

A.  She potty trained herself in one day when she was 21 months old.  She simply said, "No more diapers, and that was it. 

I actually did the EXACT same thing.  But I was 21 years old, not 21 months.





7. Milorad Cavic



Milorad Cavic
Country: Serbia
Event: Men's Swimming - 100 Butterfly
Hometown: Tustin, Calif.
Years at Cal: 2003-06

An Olympian in 2004, Cavic was 10th in the 50 (24:03) and 100 (53.06) butterfly at the 2005 World Championships. He was also the 2000 Yugoslavian champion in the 50-meter free, 100 free, 100 fly and 100 back. As a Golden Bear, Cavic won four NCAA championship events as a member of 200 and 400 medley and free relays. A 2002 graduate of Tustin High School, he won a national title in the 100-meter fly (53.30) and helped capture the 800-meter free relay title (7:44.42) as a member of the Novaquatics Club Team at the 2002 U.S. National Spring Championships.

Wikipedia page includes this info:

In 2008, Čavić won European championship in the 50 m butterfly, setting the new European record (23.11). However, he was ejected from the competition for wearing a t-shirt proclaiming Kosovo is Serbia (in Serbian language using Cyrillic letters i.e. "Косово је Србија") at the medal ceremony. However, The European swimming league was able to read and understand Serbian and ruled this as a political slogan — a reference to Kosovo's controversial declaration of independence from Serbia on February 17, 2008. He was also fined $10,800. He was allowed to keep the medal and record.


Yep, he's a Berkeley boy, through and through!

Official Site.   I'm having some errors with it, though.  

CNN Video on the T-Shirt protest:

8.  Natalie Coughlin.



Natalie Coughlin
Country: USA
Event: Women's Swimming - Freestyle/Backstroke/IM
Hometown: Vallejo, Calif.
Years at Cal: 2001-04

Arguably the greatest female swimmer in Cal history, Coughlin won 12 NCAA titles with the Golden Bears (the second-most career titles for a women's swimmer in NCAA history). She was a three-time NCAA and Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year. Her success only grew more after her collegiate tenure. At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Coughlin became the third American woman to win five medals at one Olympics (the others are Mary Lou Retton and Shannon Miller). She took gold in the 100-meter backstroke and the 800 freestyle relay, breaking the world record in that event. Coughlin also won silver medals in the 400 free relay and the 400 medley relay, and a bronze in the 100 free. At the 2008 Olympic Trials, Coughlin lowered her world record in the 100 back to 58.97. In addition, she finished second in both the 100 free (53.83) and 200 individual medley (2:10.32).

I predict you already have a solid appreciation of who Natalie Coughlin is.  Although it states her hometown is the Valley Jo.  I always thought it was Concord.  If you want to see some videos of her, check out the YouTube Thursday from the other week.  Moving on.

9. Duje Draganja



Duje Draganja
Country: Croatia
Event: Men's Swimming - 50 Freestyle, 100 Freestyle
Hometown: Split, Croatia
Years at Cal: 2002-05

Draganja won a silver medal in the 50-meter freestyle (21.94) at the Athens Olympics in 2004. In addition, he finished sixth in the 100 free (49.23) and seventh in the 100 butterfly (52.46). More recently, Draganja set a world short-course record in the 50 free (20.81) at the 2008 World Championships in April. He was also third in the 100 free (46.83) in the short-course event. While at Cal, Draganja won eight individual and relay NCAA titles, including the 100 free and 100 fly in 2005 and the 100 free in 2003.

Wikipedia page, shows that the people of Croatia view him different than our "Kosovo Is Serbia" friend from before:

He has been controversial in Croatia for his decision to take the citizenship of Qatar and continue his swimming career under the flag of that country, after receiving a very lucrative offer to do so. Croatian public opinion largely turned against Draganja at that time with the press portraying him as a villain with no respect for his homeland. Draganja accepted a Qatar passport in August 2005 claiming that he will keep his Croatian passport and will not change his religion.

However, in February 2006, the swimmer made it clear that he had reversed his decision and that he will continue to compete for his country of birth, Croatia

Interview with this tidbit:

What's your favorite movie?

Dazed and Confused





Here is a video of Duje winning a race in what I am going to assume is a placed called Manchester.  Turn your speakers down, because the announcers are having an aneurysm the entire time throughout:

This article makes me believe I was on to something earlier:

Zagreb, April 11 (CP) – Croatia’s swimmer Duje Draganja has set a world record in the men’s 50-meter freestyle at the short-course swimming world championships in Manchester.

Draganja entered the finals as the seventh competitor, but just crunched his competition when it came to the actual competition coming in at 21:81, 12 hundreds of a second faster than the earlier record set by Swede Stefan Nystrand in Berlin last year.

Draganja has in this was defended the gold medal he took in Shanghai in 2006.

Britain’s Mark Foster came in second and South Africa’s Gerhard Zandberg was third.

10.  Damir Dugonjic



Damir Dugonjic
Country: Slovenia
Event: Men's Swimming - 100 Breaststroke
Hometown: Ravne na Koroskem, Slovenia
Years at Cal: 2007-08 - present

As a freshman, Dugonjic established a Cal record in the 100 breaststroke, swimming 52.50 in the prelims and finishing as the national runner-up at the 2008 NCAA championships. He also swam the breaststroke legs of the Bears' 400 medley relay and 200 medley relay that placed second and third, respectively, at the 2008 NCAA meet. Dugonjic helped Cal to Pac-10 titles in the 200 and 400 medley relay, swimming the breaststroke leg, and was second in the 100 breast at the 2008 Pac-10 championships.

I like this guy, because he's got a sweet molestache there.  And a faux hawk.  If it weren't for the whole swimming thing, I'd say he's a total hipster.  And if he was a hipster, he'd be too busy finding the perfect double breasted cardigan vest to train for the Olympics.  Also, he's not from Portland.





Unable to find a lot of English stuff on this guy. 

So, there you go.  The first 10 Cal Olympians.  Up next, Better Know An Olympian II:  First Blood.  GO BEARS!