#5 Stanford To Make Run At Title On Final Day of 2001 NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships

March 17, 2001

Long Island, New York -

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DATES: Thursday-Saturday, March 15-17: #5 Stanford at NCAA Championships
LOCATION: Nassau County Aquatic Center (Long Island, NY)
TIMES: Prelims (11:00 am, ET), Finals (7:00 pm, ET)

KEY STANFORD WOMEN'S SWIMMING & DIVING NOTES
Stanford will be competing in its 20th NCAA Championship Meet in school history ... The Cardinal has won eight NCAA titles (1983, `89, `92, `93, `94, `95, `96, `98) and has finished among the nation's top three in each of the 20 NCAA Championships dating back to 1981 ... Stanford finished either first or second for 11 consecutive years (1989-99) before placing third in 2000 ... Stanford individuals did not win any individual events at the 2000 NCAA Championships for the first time since 1988 but did have six second place showings ... Stanford has three swimmers who have NCAA championships in the past, led by nine-time NCAA champion Misty Hyman and followed by two-time NCAA champions Shelly Ripple and Siobhan Cropper ... Stanford's roster for the 2001 NCAA Championships will contain only nine student-athletes, the smallest roster the Cardinal has ever had for the event ... Stanford swimmers and divers won 13 of the 21 individual events at the 2001 Pac-10 Championships ..(February 22-24, Federal Way, Washington) but placed fourth as a team due to a lack of depth ... Still, the Cardinal set seven new Pac-10 meet records in the events ... Stanford boasts two members of the 2000 Olympic team on its squad in 2000 Olympics head coach Richard Quick and Hyman, a gold medalist in the 200 meter butterfly in Sydney ... Hyman has earned all possible 21 All-American honors during her first three years at Stanford and has an opportunity to become only the second swimmer in Cardinal history to earn 28 for her career ... Jessica Foschi could be a hometown favorite (Old Brookville, NY) at the meet ... Freshman sensation Tara Kirk enters the NCAA meet as the nation's top seed in the 100 breaststroke (59.51) and the #2 seed in the 200 breaststroke (2:08.54).

2001 STANFORD NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS PREVIEW
The fate of the Stanford women's swimming and diving team at the 2001 NCAA Championships is in question. Unquestionably, the Cardinal boasts some of the finest swimmers and divers in the country, but the team also has a serious lack of depth that could prevent the Cardinal from contending for the title. Stanford will bring only nine student-athletes (seven swimmers, two divers) to the NCAA Championships.

Still, head coach Richard Quick is hopeful of the team's chances.

'This NCAA field is more divided than it's ever been,' comments Quick. 'There are a lot of good teams across the country that should help spread the points out.'

The Cardinal will be hoping to spread the points out after an ironic Pac-10 meet that saw Stanford student-athletes win 13 of the 21 events but still finish fourth as a team, the lowest in school history.

Stanford would at least like to avoid a repeat of last season's NCAA meet when the Cardinal failed to come away with a single individual NCAA title for the first time since 1988.

'We don't want the same thing to happen again,' says Quick. 'If we don't win the meet, then maybe our goal will to be win more individual events than any other team.'

Following is an event-by-event look at Stanford in the 2001 NCAA Championships.

SPRINT FREESTYLE (50, 100)
The Cardinal has been hampered in the sprint freestyle events during the 2000-01 campaign, primarily because of a shoulder injury that top sprinter Siobhan Cropper has been nursing throughout the season. Cropper will compete on Cardinal relay teams at the NCAA Championships but did not qualify for any individual events. Lauren Thies, seeded #37 in the 100 freestyle with a time of 50.31 is Stanford's only entry in sprint freestyle events.

'The sprint freestyle is by far our weakest area,' admitted Quick. 'We just don't have that cornerstone sprinter that you need at the collegiate level.'

DISTANCE FREESTYLE (200, 500, 1650)
The Cardinal is unquestionably led by Jessica Foschi in the distance freestyle events. Foschi has a legitimate chance to win NCAA titles in both the 500 and 1650 freestyle events. She is seeded #2 in the 500 (4:39.74) and #4 in the 1650 (16.05.68) after winning Pac-10 titles in both events. Foschi may also score for the Cardinal in the 200 freestyle, where she is seeded #18 (1:48.03) after a third-place performance at the Pac-10's.

Lauren Thies is Stanford's other participant in the distance freestyle.Thies is seeded ahead of Foschi at #6 in the 200 freestyle (1:46.36) after winning the Pac-10 crown. Thies is #12 in the 500 freestyle (4:46.14), placing third at the Pac-10 meet.

'We do have a lack of depth in this area, but we do have Jessica Foschi and Lauren Thies being able to score will be a key to our success,' emphasized Quick.

BACKSTROKE (100, 200)
The Cardinal is strong in the 100 backstroke with two of the top six seeds in #3 Misty Hyman (53.52) and #6 Shelly Ripple (54.17). Haley Champion (#31, 55.60) has also qualified for the event. Hyman set a new meet record at the Pac-10 Championships last month while Ripple finished fifth.

'The 100 backstroke is a tremendous event for us because of Misty Hyman and Shelly Ripple,' said Quick. 'They should both contend to win this event at the NCAA's.'

Both Hyman and Ripple rank among the nation's best in the 200 backstrokes but neither will compete at the NCAA's in the event due to restrictions on the number of events that a participant can compete in. Therefore, the Cardinal will have no entries in the 200 backstroke.

BREASTSTROKE (100, 200)
Freshman sensation Tara Kirk has an opportunity to win NCAA titles in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke after breaking Stanford school records in both events earlier this season. Kirk boasts the nation's top time in the 100 breaststroke when she clocked in at 59.51 in a regular season meet at California (2/10) to break a Pac-10 record. She would also break the Pac-10 meet record with a mark of 59.58 at the conference meet. Kirk is only 0.46 from the American record in the event. Kirk also came up big in the 200 breaststroke at the Pac-10 Championships by winning the event in 2:08.54, over three full seconds better than his previous best. Kirk ranks #2 in the NCAA Championships in the 200 breaststroke.

'Tara Kirk is extraordinary and has been the total package this season,' said Quick. 'She reminds me of a Summer Sanders, a Jenny Thompson or a Misty Hyman. She works hard, has a great attitude and is a great competitor. At the most critical time, her best seems to come out. She is on such an improvement curve it's almost scary. I really look for her to have an exceptional meet at the NCAA Championships. She has a chance to win both of the breaststroke events. Tara is having one of those dreams seasons.'

Kirk will be the Cardinal's lone representative in both events.

BUTTERFLY (100, 200)
The butterfly may be Stanford's strongest event at the 2001 NCAA Championships thanks to Misty Hyman. Hyman is the top seed in both the 100 (51.83) and 200 butterfly (1:55.25). Hyman, the 200 meter butterfly Gold Medalist at the 2000 Olympic Games, set a new Pac-10 meet record in the event at the Pac-10 Championships, and also won the 100 butterfly. Shelly Ripple, who did not officially swim either event at the Pac-10 Championships, should play a big factor in the 200 butterfly at the NCAA meet. Her exhibition time of 1:57.60 in the 200 butterfly at the Pac-10 meet seeds her third in the event at the NCAA's.

'We have two of the top butterfly participants in the nation in Hyman and Ripple,' said Quick.

INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY (200, 400)
Shelly Ripple will be Stanford's lone entry in the individual medley events as she ranks #2 in the 200 IM (1:57.83). Ripple won the event at the Pac-10 Championships.

'Shelly Ripple is having her best season since she's been at Stanford and we really need her to come through in the 200 IM,' said Quick. 'I really believe that she's going to have an outstanding NCAA meet in this and all areas.'

FREESTYLE RELAYS (200, 400, 800)
Stanford may struggle more than normal in the freestyle relays due to a lack of depth in the sprint freestyle area. The Cardinal still ranks #4 in the 800 (7:10.28) and #4 in the 400 (3:19.71) but does not have an entry in the 200. Quick is confident that the 800 squad can finish even better than its seeding. A team of Shelly Ripple, Misty Hyman, Jessica Foschi and Lauren Thies set a new Pac-10 meet record in the 800 last month.

'I think our best chance to move up in this area is in the 800 freestyle relay,' said Quick. 'The medley relay teams are definitely capable of winning the Pac-10 championships.'

MEDLEY RELAYS (200, 400)
Stanford looks very strong in the medley relays, ranking #1 in the 400 (3:35.40) and #3 in the 200 (1:39.58).

'I think we're capable of winning the 400 medley relay and doing very well in the 200,' said Quick.

A team of Shelly Ripple, Tara Kirk, Misty Hyman and Lauren Thies won the 400 at the Pac-10 Championships last month. The Cardinal also won the 200 with Haley Champion, Tara Kirk, Misty Hyman and Shelly Ripple.

DIVING
The two Stanford divers that qualified for the 2001 NCAA Championships could play a key part in the success of the Cardinal at the event. Erin Sones won the platform competition at both the Pac-10 (491.30) and Zone E (433.10) meets. Sones was also second in the one-meter competition at the Zone E meet (278.90). McKenze Murphy finished second to Sones in the platform at both the Pac-10's (458.55) and the Zone E (272.00). Murphy also had a second place showing in the three-meter event at the Pac-10's (504.80).

'Diving could be a real strength for us,' said Quick. 'We've need to have four diving performances reach the finals.'

STANFORD AT THE 2001 PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS
Stanford won 13 of the 21 events contested at the 2001 Pac-10 Championships (February 22-24 in Federal Way, Washington) but still finished fourth due to a lack of depth on the squad, the lowest the team had ever finished in the event. UCLA won the event with 1338.00 points, followed by Arizona (1289.50), USC (1112.50), Stanford (1085.50), California (1001.50), Arizona State (853.00), Washington State (432.00), Washington (365.00) and Oregon State (285.00).

'Actually, I think this year was one of the best Pac-10 Championships that we've ever had for the number of people we had at the event,' said head coach Richard Quick. 'I was really pleased with the individual performances at the event. For us to win 13 of the 21 events is an extraordinary accomplishment.'

Misty Hyman led Stanford with six Pac-10 championship. Hyman won the 100 and 200 fly, as well as the 100 back, and was also on Stanford title teams in the 200 medley relay, 400 medley relay and 800 freestyle relay. Shelly Ripple (200 IM, 200 medley relay, 400 medley relay, 800 freestyle relay) and Tara Kirk (100 breaststroke, 200 breaststroke, 200 medley relay, 400 medley relay) won four titles each. Jessica Foschi (500 freestyle, 1650 freestyle, 800 freestyle relay) and Lauren Thies (400 medley relay, 200 freestyle relay, 800 freestyle relay) followed with three each. Haley Champion (200 medley relay) and Erin Sones (platform diving) had one each.

THE 2000-2001 STANFORD DUAL MEET SEASON
Stanford finished the dual meet season with a 6-1 record and was 4-1 against five Pac-10 opponents. The Cardinal's only loss of the season came at the hands of #3 Arizona. The Cardinal rebounded six days later with a dominating 168-132 victory over then #2 UCLA. The Cardinal pulled out two wins in dramatic fashion over its final two weeks of the season, defeating Texas (190.50 - 181.50) on February 2-3 and California (151-149) in the regular season finale on February 10.


RECORD RUNDOWN
Following are the records that have been broken by Stanford swimmers and divers during the 2000-2001 season.
100 BACKSTROKE - Misty Hyman (53.52) ... Pac-10 Meet Record (2/23/01)
100 BREASTSTROKE - Tara Kirk (59.51) ... Pac-10 And Stanford Records (2/10/01)
100 BREASTSTROKE - Tara Kirk (59.58) ... Pac-10 Meet Record (2/23/01)
200 BREASTSTROKE - Tara Kirk (2:08.54) ... Pac-10, Pac-10 Meet And Stanford Records (2/24/01)
100 BUTTERFLY - Misty Hyman (51.83) ... Pac-10 Meet Record
200 BUTTERFLY - Misty Hyman (1:55.25) ... Pac-10 Meet Record
800 FREESTYLE RELAY - Ripple, Hyman, Foschi, Thies (7:10.28) ... Pac-10 Meet Record
400 MEDLEY RELAY - Ripple, Kirk, Hyman, Thies (3:35.40) ... Pac-10 Meet Record

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