Swimmers Head to Sunshine State For Tri-Meet

Nov. 2, 2009

STANFORD, Calif.-- Three of the top teams in the country will meet in Gainsville, when Stanford Women's Swimming (1-0) crosses the country to take on fellow NCAA Championship participants, Michigan (3-2) and Florida (3-1) on Friday starting at 4 p.m. Pacific and Saturday at 5:30 a.m. Pacific. The Cardinal finished fourth at the NCAAs last year, while the Gators were seventh and the Wolverines were 24th.

In what should be a mini preview for the spring season, the Cardinal feature 12 All-Americans, Florida returns another 11 and Michigan five. Each has at least one individual champion amongst its roster.

The Cardinal feature dual 19-time All-Americans Elaine Breeden (butterfly) and Julia Smit (individual medley). Smit is the defending NCAA Champion in both individual medleys, while Breeden is a two-time NCAA champion in the 200 butterfly.

Smit along with Florida's backstroke champion Gemma Spofforth were each finalists for the Honda Award in 2009, given to the nation's top swimmer.

This year, Smit has the nation's third-fastest 100 breaststroke time (1:02.42), as well as the fourth-best 1000 time (9:49.02) and sixth-fastest 100 time (49.94). All are “B” standard times for the NCAA Championships. Florida's Shara Stafford has the nation's second-fastest 100 time (49.70), separating the top two competitors this season by two-tenths of a second.

The individual medley is setting up to be a premier match up. Margaret Kelly, an 11-time All-American at Michigan, set the school-record in the 200 individual medley last season. Smit was first to Florida's Teresa Crippen's sixth place showing in the finals of the 400 IM, while in the 200 IM, Smit, the overall winner, beat Spofforth and teammate Elaine Breeden, who finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

The best collegians are also in the butterfly, in Breeden, who won the 200 butterfly for the first time since 2007 with a time of 1:50.98, and Florida's Jemma Lowe, who finished fourth to Breeden, three seconds behind the pace setter last March. Stanford's Kate Dwelley and her time of 2:01.05 ranks 10th nationally this season.

Stanford newcomer Kelsey Ditto, an All-American in the 1650 and transfer from Georgia, has the nation's ninth-fastest 500 time (4:52.56). Michigan's Emily Bruneman's time in the same event, the 500, is twenty-sixth hundreths of a second faster (4:52.30). Bruneman was the NCAA Champion in the 1650 last year.

Liz Smith has the nation's fifth-fastest 200 breaststroke time (2:14.88) as well.

The pool will also feature some of the premier divers in the country as four All-Americans will compete-- Cardinal Meg Hostage and Carmen Stellar, and Gator divers Monica Dodson and Kara Salamone. Salamone was seventh to Stellar's 14th place showing in the finals of the platform last year.

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