Stanford Sends 16 Student-Athletes To NCAA Championship
March 15, 2006
Stanford, Ca - The Stanford men's swimming and diving team has been a dominant figure at the NCAA Division I Championship for many years. This year is no exception as the Cardinal will send 15 swimmers and one diver, plus entries in all five relay events to the 2066 NCAA's which will be held March 23-25 at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center in Atlanta, Ga. The Aquatic Center was built for the 1996 Olympic Games and for use by Georgia Tech following the Games.
Last year at the NCAA Championship in Minneapolis, the Cardinal finished second with 414 points. Auburn won the team title (491 points). Since the 2001 season, Stanford has finished second four times (2000-01, 2001-02, 2003-04, 2004-05) and third during the 2002-03 season. In fact, Stanford has finished no lower than fourth since 1982. Under head coach Skip Kenney, associate head coach Ted Knapp and head diving coach Rick Schavone, the Cardinal has won seven NCAA titles (1997-98, 1993-94, 1992-93, 1991-92, 1986-87, 1985-86, 1984-85).
Kenney says this year's group of Stanford swimmers is a special group of student-athletes. 'We are ready to go,' Kenney told reporters on Wednesday. 'Their focus is greater than it has been the last few years. It's visible more away from practice in their attention to detail. The talent level of our guys this year is the same as the team that won the NCAA's in 1998. We need to be hitting on all cylinders for all three days. We ask that if they're going to have a good race that they have it on the first day. Knowing that we have a good diver this year is going to be a huge boost. The is the first time we've had a team that covers every single event the way they do.'
Since Skip Kenney's arrival at Stanford at the start of 1979-80 season, Stanford has had 98 swimmers win 828 All-American honors, and has developed 65 NCAA champions. The list includes junior Ben Wildman-Tobriner, who swam the anchor leg on the 400 medley relay team which won the NCAA title last year.
'It will be a close meet this year,' said Wildman-Tobriner, who is entered in the 50 and 100 free, and the 100 fly. 'The winning team will be the one that has every one clicking on all three days. We're coming in this year with more focus and a good team attitude this year than any other year.'
Andy Grant, a junior who will be competing in three events (200 and 500 free, 200 back) has confidence in the team's chances this year, and the coaching experience that Kenney brings to the Cardinal program.
'Coach has been doing this longer than I've been alive,' said Grant, who is the school record holder in the 200 free. 'You can have confidence that he'll take you where you need to be by the end of the year. It's all about mental attitude once you're at the top and Coach cultivates that.'
Shaun Phillips has enjoyed an outstanding season in 2006 and will be competing in three events (200, 500 and 1650 free). Phillips is the school record holder in the 500 free, and ranked second all-time in the 1650 free.
'Last year Auburn had more guys scoring in the finals,' said Phillips. 'The guys having a good swim and making it to the top eight will make all the difference. We had the potential for depth last year, but didn't follow through. We have 15 swimmers and one diver and all of us have the potential to score. We truly get excited about every race. We're always watching each other and always focused. We all live vicariously through our teammates. This is a tight knit group and we care what each other does.'