The Last Piece of the Puzzle
March 19, 2001
He also knows how it feels to be a part of a championship relay team. But an individual national title is the one thing missing from this Stanford senior's trophy cabinet. Robinson has already captured the 100-yard breast stroke crown at the Pacific-10 Conference championships earlier this month, and this weekend will be his last chance to take home an individual NCAA championship.
'I've been on numerous championship relays, and I'd really like to get an individual title, 100 breast is my best shot this year,' said Robinson. 'I'm going in ranked a lot higher than I have been in the past in both the 50 free and 100 breast stroke (tied for 2nd in 50 free and 3rd in 100 breast). I feel like I have a lot to improve on from my races at Pac-10s.'
Primarily a breast stroke and sprint freestyle swimmer, Robinson came to Stanford from Houston, Texas. He has enjoyed considerable success in his four years on The Farm - from the 1998 NCAA team championship, to multiple relay team titles, to consecutive Pac-10 crowns in the 100 breast.
In his senior campaign, Robinson has taken a different approach. 'At the end of the spring last year, I decided I wanted to focus more on breast stroke because I felt like that was the best shot that I had of making the Olympics this summer,' he said.
'I ended up just training breast stroke and improving my best time by a whole lot and getting fourth at (Olympic) trials,' said Robinson, who currently holds the third fastest time in the nation in the 100 breast (53.18). 'So I was pretty close to making the team and that kind of helped me get motivated to train some more breast stroke since I had only done two or three months at that point.'
Robinson has been riding the momentum from the trials all year long and will look to continue with his winning ways at this week's NCAA Championships. He has qualified to compete in the 50 free, 100 free, 100 breast and several Stanford relay teams.
'It's so much fun,' said Robinson of the national championships. 'Going into NCAAs has always been a fun thing for me. I just love competing at that level. It's kind of sad in a way that this is my last time to go. It's probably one of the best meets I've ever been to. Aside from the Olympic trials, it's definitely the most intense competition I've ever been in.'
His first taste of a NCAA championship came in 1998 with Stanford winning the team title. Robinson also swam for the 200 freestyle relay team that year, which won the NCAA crown.
As far as Pac-10, he was a member of the 200 medley relay team that won the Pac-10 title in 1998 and 1999 as well as the 400 medley relay squad that won the conference title in 1999 and 2000. In 1998, Robinson swam on the Pac-10 champ 200 free relay team.
Individually, he successfully defended his 100 breast stroke title that he won in 1999 with a first-place showing this year at Pac-10s.
'Anthony is a big meet swimmer,' said teammate and 2000 NCAA Champion Adam Messner. 'From the time he was a freshman, he always had the ability to perform when the pressure was on. The team is confident that this year will be no exception. He is ready for fast swimming at Nationals.'
At the end of the week, Robinson's career at Stanford will come to an end. He'll take with him just about every type of championship trophy that can be won. Regardless of whether an individual title is included, what Robinson will miss the most is his Cardinal teammates.
'Just being involved with the group is just such a positive atmosphere. It allows you to train better and reach the potential that you never thought you'd be able to reach.
'I really enjoy just going and racing.'
By Susie Campion
Stanford Media Relations