No. 3 Stanford Hosts No. 5 Arizona, No. 23 ASU In Pac-10 Home Openers

Jan. 17, 2006

Stanford, Ca - Twenty-four straight Pacific-10 titles, seven NCAA titles, and NCAA Top 3 finishes in seven of the past eight seasons.

Those are just some of the distinguished highlights in the head coaching career of Skip Kenney. Year-by-year, the Stanford men's swimming and diving program has produced some of the world's best swimmers, and this year, the trend will continue. Stanford is ready to make another strong run at a 25th straight league crown, and another NCAA title.

Kenney and associate head coach Ted Knapp have assembled another team that looks strong in almost every event. It is a strong mix of seasoned veterans and talented newcomers which will keep Stanford in the forefront in the development of great swimmers not only on the collegiate level but the international scene as well.

The Cardinal is blessed with upperclassmen who have been battled tested at the NCAA championship level. In particular, the junior class (four individual school records, three team relays set last year) may become the best recruited class in school history. The sophomore class gained valuable experience last year, and a large incoming freshman class will play a sizable role in the team's success in 2006.

Stanford is ranked second in the latest national dual meet rankings. The Cardinal generated 192 votes compared to 200 for top-ranked and defending NCAA champion Auburn. Other Pac-10 teams ranked in the national poll include third-ranked California, fifth-ranked Arizona, ninth-ranked USC and 23th ranked Arizona State.

Stanford hosts the Arizona schools on Friday and Saturday at the Avery Aquatic Complex . The Cardinal will host the fifth-ranked Arizona Wildcats on Friday at 1 p.m., and then 23rd ranked Arizona State on Saturday at noon.

Freestyle
Ben Wildman-Tobriner enjoyed a great season in 2005, and the junior is aiming for bigger goals in 2006. Last year, Wildman-Tobriner set school records in the 50 free (19.15) and the 100 free (42.57) and gained All-American status six times (three individual, three relays). Following his collegiate season, Wildman-Tobriner competed at the U.S. National Championship and captured the 50 free. Wildman-Tobriner then competed on the United States 400 meter free relay team, and helped the Americans win the gold medal at the World Championship. Wildman-Tobriner, according to head coach Skip Kenney, is a very talented, detailed oriented athlete, who is also always striving to improve by working hard daily in practice. Andy Grant enjoyed an excellent season in 2005 which included a school record time of 1:33.97 in the 200 free to earn All-America honors, in addition to winning the Pac-10 title, and as a member of the winning 800 free relay team at the conference championship. Kyle Ransom, a junior, helped the United States win the bronze medal as a member of the 400 free relay team at the 2005 World University Games. The experience of competing at the international level will certainly bring more success in 2006 for Ransom, who will be a key member in the 50 and 100 free and also as a member of the 200 and 400 free relay teams. Ransom not only earned All-American honors in the 200 free, but also as a member of the 200 and 400 free relay teams at the NCAA's. Matt Crowe, a junior, swam the 50 and 100 free last year, in addition to being an All-American on Stanford's 200 and 400 free relay teams at the NCAA's. Michael McLean placed second in the 500 free at the Pac-10 Championship last year with the second best time in school history (4:14.89), also competed in the 1650 free at the NCAA's. Dan Priestley and Jason Dunford are two freshmen who could make an immediate impact on Stanford's fortunes in 2006. Priestley, a 15-time All-American in high school, just needs to gain experience competing at the top level of collegiate swimming, and he will get that opportunity this year on The Farm. Dunford could be the surprise of the NCAA championship meet, according to Kenney. Dunford is the Kenyan national record holder in several events, although he is inexperienced in the short course pool in the United States. But the freshman is getting better in workouts, and has kept pace in working with Ben Wildman-Tobriner. John McCallen is another talented freshman who will contribute in the 50 and 100 free. In the middle distance freestyle events, Shaun Phillips will lead a strong group of Stanford swimmers. Phillips gained All-America honors last year at the NCAA's with a fourth place finish in the 500 free and seventh in the 200 free. In the prelims of the 500 free, the then sophomore set the school record (4:14.77). Phillips also spearheaded the Cardinal to its 24th straight Pac-10 title with a victory in the 1650 free and as a member of the 800 free relay (6:18.71, conference record) team. Phillips then furthered increased his confidence by competing at the 2005 U.S. Senior Nationals, and at the World University Games. Look for quality depth from redshirt Phillip Morrison, Noa Sakaomoto and freshman Jacob Johnson.

Backstroke
This is an improving area of the team. Hongzhe Sun, a junior, has gained great experience competing with former Cardinal greats Randall Bal, Peter Marshall and Jayme Cramer. Sun, who was a finalist in the 100 and 200 back at the NCAA's last year, won the 200 backstroke crown at the Pac-10's in 2005, and established a career-best in the 200 back (1:41.25) at the conference meet. Sun later competed at the 2005 Senior National Championship. Tobias Oriwol, a senior, was one of Stanford's top backstrokers and IMers last year. A time of 1:45.07 in the 200 back at the Pac-10 Championship was a career-best and ranked him in the Top 15 in school history. Nate Cass, a freshman, will bring impressive credentials to the Cardinal varsity, and could emerge as one of the team's top backstrokers in 2006. Cass has already set several lifetime bests in practice this year, and if he continues to improve, will be a big help at the NCAA's this year. Also look for Scott Lathrope to make significant contributions this year. Lathrope is another talented incoming freshman, who was a 13-time All-American in high school.

Butterfly
This will be a very strong area for the Cardinal in 2006. Danny Beal, a sophomore, heads a list of very talented returnees. Beal could be a dominate swimmer in the fly particularly at 200 yards. Last year, Beal competed primarily in the free, and was a member fo the school record and Pac-10 champion 800 free relay team (6:18.71). Peter Carothers, a sophomore, gained valuable experience competing in the 100 and 200 fly at the NCAA's, later competed at the 2005 Senior National Championship. Jason Dunford, in addition to his talents as a sprint freestyler, has the talent to be an outstanding swimmer in the fly events. Dunford, who hails from Kenya, attended school in Britain, and was ranked #1 in the 100 fly (Under-18) in the U.K. Mark Stephens, a senior, gives the Cardinal versatility not only competing in the fly but the IM as well. At the 2005 NCAA's, Stephens competed in three events including the 200 fly and the 200 IM. Stephens later competed in the 200 fly at the U.S. Summer Nationals. Kyle Ransom not only is an outstanding sprint freestyler, but also an excellent competitor in the fly. Look for Ransom to be a top Stanford swimmer in the 100 fly and in the relays. Ben Widman-Tobriner is not only a world class swimmer in the 50 and 100 free, but he has shown great talent in the 100 fly where he competed last year at the NCAA's.

Breast
This is an event where Stanford is loaded with great swimmers. Keenan Newman and Karl Boehringer are two veteran competitors for the Cardinal while freshmen Chris Ash, Paul Kornfeld, Paul Zaich and B.J. Johnson are names to watch this year. Ash is a 14-time high school All-American who competed as a senior at the 2005 U.S. Summer Nationals. Kornfeld is a three-time Junior national champion in the 200 breast and a member of the 2005-06 United States Junior National team, while Zaich swam the 200 breast at the 2005 U.S. Summer Nationals and at the 2005 World Championship trials. Zaich has already qualified for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 200 breast. Johnson gained numerous All-america honors in high school. Sophomore Egan Gans will provide depth.

IM
Hongzhe Sun, Mark Stephens, Tobias Oriwol, Keenan Newman, Noa Sakamoto and freshmen Scott Lathrope, Paul Zaich, Chris Ash, Paul Kornfeld and Nate Cass will lead a talented brigade of Stanford swimmers in the IM. Sun ranks among the top swimmers in school history in the 200 IM. Stephens competed in the 200 and 400 IM at the 2005 U.S. Summer Nationals, as well as the 200 and IM at the NCAA's. Oriwol captured the 2005 Pac-10 title in the 200 IM, and finished third in the 400 IM. His 200 and 400 IM times are among the best in school history. Newman did not compete last year, but two years ago, swam the 200 and 40 IM at the NCAA's. Look for Newman to be a top competitor in the 200 IM. Lathrope was a participant at the 2005 USA Junior Nationals in the 400 IM. Zaich will compete in the 400 IM. Ash and Kornfeld could be factors in the IM in addition to the breast events. Cass' best event is the 200 IM.

Relays
Stanford will be good in all five relays, according to head coach Skip Kenney. According to Kenney, several members of the freshman class will have an excellent opportunity to compete in the relays, and contribute to the team's success at the NCAA's. At the NCAA's last year, all five relay teams competed. The Cardinal won the 400 medley relay title, finished third in the 200 medley relay, fourth in the 200 free relay, fifth in the 800 free relay, and eighth in the 400 free relay. At the Pac-10's, Stanford scored victories in the 200 and 400 medley relays, the 800 free relay, finished second in the 200 free relay, and third in the 400 free relay.

Divers
Stanford will be led by a group of talented divers. The returnees include sophomore Nathan Kim, junior Kevin McLean, and freshmen Dwight Dumais and Casey Weston. Kim and McLean gained experience at the Pac-10 Championship in 2005. At the 2005 Senior Nationals in North Carolina, Dumais finished third in one meter springboard diving. Dumais' credentials are impressive. Dumais has been a four time member of the Junior National team, a four time junior national (summer) silver medalist, an eight time summer junior national qualifier, a four time senior national qualifier, and a four time National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association All-American.

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