World Class Swimming on The Farm - Stanford Women Among the Elite at USA Olympic Swimming Trials
July 8, 2008
STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford women's swimming has left an indelible mark upon the Olympic Games throughout the years - more so than any other collegiate program in the country. In fact, since 1988, Cardinal student-athletes have won six individual Olympic medals (including a pair of gold medals) either during their collegiate career or within the same calendar year they completed their collegiate eligibility, compared to just three for the nation's other schools combined. In addition, Stanford women's swimmers have picked up three relay gold medals during the last five Olympiads. This trend of unparalleled Cardinal success is continuing this summer for the Beijing Games, with juniors Elaine Breeden (100 and 200 meter butterfly) and Julia Smit (4 x 200 meter freestyle relay team, and potentially the 4 x 100 free relay squad as well) making Stanford the only women's program in America with two current student-athletes on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Swimming Team.
'We recruited Elaine and Julia with the belief that they had the potential of making this team and they were clear about their goals and their willingness to work hard to reach them,' said Lea Maurer, head coach of Stanford women's swimming and diving program and herself a two-time Olympic medalist at the 1992 Barcelona Games following her sophomore year on The Farm. 'All of the hard work and experience they have gained over the past two years at Stanford helped them reach their goals. We are so proud of what they have accomplished and how positively it reflects on Stanford Swimming.'
With the success of Breeden and Smit, 41 women associated with the Stanford swimming and diving program have participated in (or qualified for) a combined 14 Olympiads. The Cardinal Olympic legacy in the sport has spanned from the gold medal-winning performance of Marjorie Gestring Bowman in the 1936 Berlin Games through the 2004 crew led by Jenny Thompson and Tara Kirk, while also encompassing the heroics of Chris von Saltza and Sharon Stouder Clark in the 1960s and the more recent exploits of Janet Evans, Summer Sanders and Misty Hyman. All told, Stanford women's swimmers and divers have captured a total of 50 Olympic medals (30 gold, 16 silver and four bronze).
'Stanford's tradition of swimming excellence is something that we talk about with the team all of the time,' said Maurer. 'Each of these ladies takes the responsibility of carrying on that tradition very seriously.'
The two Cardinal teammates will join the rest of the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team to train at Stanford's very own world-class Avery Aquatic Center beginning Monday, July 7. The swimming events in Beijing are slated for August 9-21.
'We are fortunate to have such a great facility here at Stanford that the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team will be using for the next couple of weeks,' Maurer added. 'That works out beautifully for Julia and Elaine because they will be very comfortable and able to get back into their routine as they prepare for Beijing.'
Breeden enjoyed a stellar U.S. Olympic Trials, cementing her position as one of America's top butterfly talents by establishing a meet record with an event-winning time of 2:06.75 in the 200 fly final. She also finished second in the 100 fly with an exceptional time of 58.21 seconds (just .10-second off the pace). Already a 12-time All-American after just two years on The Farm, Breeden also captured the 2007 NCAA title in the 200 fly.
An accomplished swimmer at every level, Smit can now add U.S. Olympian to her impressive resume. She was named to the 4 x 200 free relay team after an impressive all-around performance at the Trials that included a meet-record time of 4:35.73 in the 400 IM final. The Cardinal junior was also the only American swimmer to finish in the top six in both the 100 and 200 free, placing sixth in the shorter event at 54.99 and third in the longer with a time of 1:56.73. She further showed her versatility with a 2:13.89 in the 200 back, which was good for 18th in the country. Also a 12-time All-American after two collegiate seasons in a Stanford swimsuit, Smit was the 2008 NCAA champion in the 400 IM.
While Breeden and Smit qualified for the Olympics, four Stanford women that competed collegiately in 2008 combined to swim in seven of the 13 event finals at the Trials. The four finalists placed at least sixth in each competition, including a fourth place finish, a trio of third place touches, a second place finalist and a Stanford event champion in the 200 meter butterfly (Breeden).
All told, 16 current or former Cardinal women's swimmers who represented Stanford so well and so proudly at the 2008 USA Olympic Swimming Trials.
'I was so proud of our team at the Trials,' said Maurer. 'They were the best `team' on the deck in my opinion - really supporting one another and working hard to make every swim count for every person on the roster. There is no doubt in my mind that our team ethos and positive attitude helped Julia and Elaine onto the Olympic team. The ladies were their very best selves all week.'
Stanford Women at the 2008 USA Olympic Swimming Trials (all distances in meters)
Andrea Axtell, 100 back (1:03.80 - T61st), 200 back (2:15.55 - 32nd)
Brooke Bishop, 50 free (25.16 - 6th), 100 back (1:02.60 - 22nd), 100 fly (58.54 - 4th)
Elaine Breeden, 100 fly (58.21 - 2nd), 200 fly (2:06.75 - 1st)
Kate Dwelley, 50 free (25.89 - T28th), 100 free (55.61 - 20th), 200 free (1:58.90 - 9th)
Kelley Hug, 100 back (1:03.50 - 52nd), 100 fly (1:00.93 - 40th), 200 back (2:18.63 - 73rd)
Dana Kirk, 100 fly (1:00.05 - 19th)
Tara Kirk, 100 breast (1:07.51 - 3rd), 200 breast (2:33.74 - 32nd)
Kerry Kraemer, 100 breast (1:11.77 - 50th), 200 breast (2:34.07 - 34th)
Fiona O'Donnell-McCarthy, 50 free (26.17 - 43rd), 100 free (58.23 - 97th), 100 back (1:03.97 - 71st)
Caitlin Reynolds, 200 free (2:03.63 - 76th), 400 free (4:19.02 - 51st)
Madeline Rovira, 100 free (57.10 - T72nd)
Julia Smit, 100 free (54.99 - 6th), 200 free (1:56.73 - 3rd), 200 back (2:13.89, 18th), 400 IM (4:35.73 - 3rd)
Elizabeth Smith, 100 breast (1:10.79 - 29th), 200 breast (2:31.62 - 15th), 200 IM (2:18.51 - 38th), 400 IM (4:50.51 - 27th)
Whitney Spence, 100 fly (1:01.12 - 54th), 200 fly (2:18.11 - 76th), 400 free (4:19. 88 - 62nd)
Stefanie Sutton, 100 fly (1:04.13 - 135th)
Laura Wadden, back (1:03.73, 60th), 100 fly (1:00.33 - 24th), 200 fly (2:12.99 - 21st)