January 19, 2003

To Cal, win not foreign

By TODD WILLS / The Dallas Morning News

UNIVERSITY PARK Alex Lim hasn't booked his room in Athens, Greece yet. But the Cal junior says the Greeks can go ahead and confirm him for the 2004 Summer Olympics.
His weekend in Dallas did nothing to drown that dream.
Lim, from Malaysia, moved into select company Saturday at the 21st annual Dallas Morning News Swimming and Diving Classic at SMU, adding two more individual titles to one from Friday and three from last year's meet. He also helped Cal break the team points record as the Golden Bears scored 352 points, eight more than Tennessee two years ago. Cal wrapped up its second straight championship at SMU.
Lim matched or exceeded some of the best swimmers to win in the meet at Perkins Natatorium. He passed such storied names as Texas' Rick Carey and California's Matt Biondi, who won four titles. He tied greats Pablo Morales (Stanford) and Brent Lang (Michigan) with six individual titles. All but Lang won Olympic gold medals in individual events. Lim can tie the record nine titles of SMU's Ryan Berube, a '96 gold medalist, if Cal returns to Dallas next year.
"Oh, we'll be back," Lim said. "I'll make sure of that."
Last year, Lim nearly upstaged teammate Anthony Ervin, who was selected the meet's outstanding swimmer despite Lim winning three titles to Ervin's two. Lim also set a pool and meet record in 2002 with a time of 47.62 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke. Lim shaved more than six tenths off that mark Friday, going 46.99.
Without Ervin to share the spotlight the senior sat out the fall semester and isn't yet in shape to compete for the Golden Bears Lim was the clear-cut choice for outstanding swimmer after easily winning the 200-yard backstroke and the 200-yard butterfly Saturday.
Lim is building up to next year's Olympics. He is a lock to make it to Athens because he doesn't face the competition in Malaysia that he sees in the U.S. He is a world class short-course swimmer, SMU coach Eddie Sinnott said.
"He is incredible under water, and that makes him much better on the short course," Sinnott said. "As far as the gold-medal thinking, he has the talent to be considered."
Two of Lim's wins came in 200-yard races, suggesting he can handle longer distances.
"I'm sure my chances in 100-yard races are higher, but every year, I get better," he said.