MJC set to swim against best

Something's gonna give today as the depth of the Modesto Junior College women's swim team is pitted against the dominance of defending state champion Diablo Valley at the MJC Aquatic Center.

The Pirates host their biggest meet of the year in a 3 p.m. men's and women's dual meet with the perennial state powerhouse swim program. Women's coach Kurt Olson said his team has a legitimate shot at upsetting the Vikings.

"It's going to be a 15-point meet," said Olson, predicting a close battle. "They're the strongest team in the state every year. It's a big advantage for us to host it. We're really fast in our pool. Our blocks are great. Our facility is great. It's such a big help to have people out there, the friends and families, especially against a big-caliber team."

Jen Cadmus paces Modesto, leading the state by two seconds in the 50 and 100 butterfly events, and Olson said she has posted the top two times in four others (50 and 100 free, 50 and 100 breast). He expects distance swimmers Karen Ard and Viking Laura Brown to have an exciting finish.

"In the 500 and 1,650 (free), the distance swimmers are five seconds apart," Olson said. "In a 20-minute swim, that's a big deal. Karen is fifth in the state in the 1,650 and (Laura's) times are right where Karen's are."

The Pirate men are looking to stay close to Diablo Valley, which was third in the state last year behind Ventura and Orange Coast. ...

The Pirate swimmers started using the Power Rack, their new strength training apparatus that provides resistance as swimmers power through the water. One swimmer wraps a belt around his waist and pulls a stack of weights attached to a pulley, up to 100 pounds.

Men's coach Eric Fischer joked poolside Wednesday with a couple of engineering students who said they could build a similar weight tower for less than the $1,300 the men's and women's teams paid for the Power Rack, not including the $400 shipping fee. The Pirates would like to have at least one more. ...

MJC and Modesto-Stanislaus Aquatics will present an afternoon with six-time Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken on April 16 at 3:30 p.m. in Forum 110 on the MJC East Campus, 435 College Ave. The event is open to the public and admission is free.

STANISLAUS BASEBALL -- Despite a slightly better overall record, the No. 12-ranked UC San Diego baseball team visits No. 29 Cal State Stanislaus this weekend with a desire to take something the Warriors have.

Stanislaus (24-10, 16-4 CCAA) is one spot ahead of the Tritons (28-7, 12-4 CCAA) in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, sitting in second behind Sonoma State (16-2). Today's 3 p.m. game will be the teams' first meeting this season.

UC San Diego is 7-1 on the road in CCAA games, but Stanislaus is an equally daunting 12-4 at home. The Tritons come in with a seven-game winning streak, while Stanislaus has consistently come through in the clutch, winning 12 games in its final at-bat.

Sounds like the makings of an intense four-game series.

GOLF CALENDAR -- The Stanislaus golf team will not be playing in its own back yard next week, after all. The Warriors are skipping this year's Colorado Invitational at Stevinson Ranch to play in the Otter Invitational at Bayonet Golf Course in Seaside. Stanislaus hosts the Buzzini Invitational at Turlock GCC on April 14-15.