Julia Smit Sets American, U.S. Open and NCAA Record to Win Pac-10 200 IM Title
Feb. 26, 2009
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - Stanford junior Julia Smit set the American, U.S. Open and NCAA record in the 200-yard IM with a time of 1:53.11 en route to winning the event at the 2009 Pacific-10 Conference championships. Swimming this evening at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center, Smit's time in the 25-yard short course format broke Katie Hoff's American and U.S. Open record of 1:53.77 set in Annapolis in December of 2007. Smit also bettered the NCAA mark of 1:53.91 set by Maggie Bowen of Auburn in 2002.
Smit now owns American records for the 200 IM in both short-course yards and short-course meters, as she established the latter with a time of 2:06.49 on Nov. 29, 2008 at the Canada Cup in Toronto.
'Tonight was a great race for Julia and the team,' said Stanford head coach Lea Maurer. 'Both Julia and Elaine Breeden feel a huge motivation to help lift up and inspire the team, and they felt the 200 IM was a great chance to start building momentum.'
Tonight's victory gives Smit her second career Pac-10 championship in the 200 IM, as she also won the event as a freshman in 2007. She now has four career individual Pac-10 titles, following her 2007 crowns in the 200 back and 400 IM. Smit later swam the leadoff leg for Stanford's school record-breaking 200 free relay in 22.01 - tying the school 50 free standard set by Catherine Fox in 1997.
'One of the great aspects about Julia is that she is not worrying about times or breaking records, she is focused on executing the swim,' added Maurer.
Smit's efforts helped key a second-day Stanford rally, as the Cardinal moved from seventh to third in the Pac-10 Championships standings with 430 points - just 18.5 behind second-place California (448.5). Arizona leapfrogged the Bears and is in first place with 510.5 points.
Breeden also provided Stanford with a major highlight in the 200 IM, as the junior qualified for the NCAA Championships by finishing second with an 'A' standard time of 1:54.32 - an effort that moves her past Olympic star Summer Sanders and into second in school history. Sophomore Liz Smith placed seventh with a 'B' time of 1:58.80, while she swam a 1:58.10 in the prelims.
Stanford finished third in the final swimming event of day two - a tightly contested 200 free relay. The Cardinal foursome of Smit, Breeden, sophomore Kate Dwelley and freshman Sam Woodward qualified for the NCAA Championships with an 'A' time of 1:28.01, breaking the Stanford record of 1:28.59 set a year ago by Dwelley, Smit, Breeden and Brooke Bishop.
Stanford had five swimmers score in the first final of the evening - the 500 freestyle. Dwelley finished fourth (4:41.39) and junior Whitney Spence placed fifth with a time of 4:42.47 - good for the eighth-best mark in Stanford history. In addition, freshman Angela Duckworth came in 11th (4:46.91), freshman Jessica Rodriquez (4:47.16) was 13th and junior Caitlin Reynolds (4:48.71) finished 19th, as all five swimmers posted NCAA 'B' standard times.
A quartet of Cardinal swimmers scored in the 50 free, with Woodward leading the way in fifth with a 'B' time of 22.31 - the fourth-fastest time in Stanford annals. Fellow freshman Betsy Webb (22.76 - 'B') finished 13th, senior Madeline Rovira was 16th with a 23.07 (PR 23.02 in prelims) and junior Nilasha Ghosh placed 19th with a personal record time of 22.91.
Stanford's divers contributed greatly to the Cardinal comeback effort by racking up the points during the finals of the 1-meter competition. Sophomore Meg Hostage led the charge by finishing third with a personal championships meet record score of 295.75. Junior Carmen Stellar also set a championships PR by scoring a 289.90 to place fourth, while senior Sarah Ohr was fifth (281.55). Competing at her first Pac-10 Championships, freshman Mary Beth Corbett placed 11th with a score of 241.75.
'Today was great for the entire team - being able to compete as a whole, with swimmers and divers, made a big difference,' commented Maurer. 'The records were a highlight and a great thing to celebrate, and the entire team did a tremendous job of performing in the morning and improving at night. There was good energy, enthusiasm and execution, and I look forward to more of the same tomorrow.'
The 2009 Pac-10 Championships will continue with its third day on Friday, February 27. The morning session, scheduled for 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. PT, will feature preliminaries in the 400 IM, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke and 3-meter diving. Beginning at 6:00 p.m. PT, the evening session will have the finals for those six events along with the 400 medley relay.