Stanford Head to NCAAs with Title Hopes in Site

March 15, 2010

Stanford Heads to NCAAs
The Pac-10 Champion Cardinal will head to Purdue University for the four-day NCAA Championships March 18-21 after winning its first conference title since 2005 and being ranked No. 1 in the final regular season poll. The Cardinal paced by senior All-American Julia Smit and Elaine Breeden, feature 11 All-Americans on its roster and boast eight of the nation’s top times in 15 events. Stanford will look for its first national title since 1998 and ninth NCAA title overall. Since 1981, the Cardinal have finished in the NCAA top-three 23 times.

Maurer at the Helm
Former Stanford Olympian and All-American backstroker Lea Maurer ‘94 is in her fifth year as the Cardinal’s head coach. Over the first five seasons, the Cardinal have finished first (2010), second (2007, 2008) or third (2006, 2009) at the conference meet and fifth (2006), fourth (2007, 2009) or third (2008) at the national meet. Maurer, then Loveless, was a part of the great Stanford swim teams in the mid 1990s, when the Cardinal won three-straight national titles from 1992 to 1994.

Records Abound for Smit
Stanford senior and 2008 Olympian Julia Smit has had an incredible final season on The Farm. She twice set the world shortcourse record in the 200 IM and 400 IM in December at the Duel in the Pool, broke her own American, NCAA and school-records in the 200 IM and 400 IM at the Pac-10s and has twice broken her school-record in the 200 back. She finished her Pac-10 career as the swimmer of the meet at Pac-10s, and has also been named Pac-10 Swimmer of the Month in each of the four months of the season. She was also a three-time national swimmer of the week and broke both Stanford pool records in the 200 IM and 400 IM, the ladder, which was set by Summer Sanders in 1992.

All-American Divers
Dr. Rick Schavone is in his 32nd year as the team’s diving coach. Over his tenure, he has coached 87 All-American and eight NCAA champions. Meg Hostage, who finished second in the platform to earn the final spot at the Zone Championships, will head to her third NCAAs, Brent Eichenseer, who was fourth in the platform and fifth in the one and three-meters, will head to his second. Both are returning All-Americans.

Fastest Flyer
School-record holder Elaine Breeden, a 19-time All-American and former Olympic medalist, enters her final NCAA meet with the nation’s fastest 100 fly time (51.24) and third-fastest 200 fly mark (1:53.15). Breeden finished her Pac-10 career as a five-time conference champion. She has been an All-American all three years in the 100 and 200 fly and 200 IM.

Smith Making a Statement
Stanford junior Liz Smith is making waves nationally, posting the nation’s fastest 200 breast time at 2:07.65, while also ranking eighth in the 400 IM, tenth in the 200 IM and 15th in the 100 breaststroke.

Speeding Along
The Cardinal feature the nation’s fastest times in the 50 free (Betsy Webb-22.04), 100 free (Julia Smit-47.70) and the 200 and 400 free relays this season. All told the Cardinal have three swimmers ranked in the national top-20 in the 50 free and four in the top-100. The last time the Cardinal won national titles in the 200 and 400 free relays, was 1994 and 1997, respectively.

Cardinal Ranked No. 1
Stanford women’s swimming, following an undefeated dual season (9-0) were ranked No. 1 nationally, joining the University of Georgia, as the nation’s top teams, according to a vote of the nation’s coaches. Stanford, which has been ranked in the national top-five all season, moved up from No. 4. Georgia and Stanford each received 12 first place votes, 24 of the possible 34 votes for 734 points. The Cardinal have defeated three top-10 teams this season (USC, Arizona and Florida).

Defending NCAA Champions
Julia Smit is a three-time NCAA champion (200 IM-2009; 400 IM-2008, 2009), while Elaine Breeden won the 200 fly in 2007 and 2009.

Last Time it Happened
Amongst those ranked in the national top-five, the last time Stanford won: in the 50 free (1999-Catherine Fox), 100 free (1996-Caludia Franco), 200 free (1984-Marybeth Linzmeier), 200 backstroke (1998-Misty Hyman), 200 breast (2005-Caroline Bruce), 100 fly (1998-Misty Hyman), 200 fly (2007, 2009), 200 IM (2009-Smit), 400 IM (2008, 09-Smit), 200 free relay (1994), 400 free relay (1997), 800 free relay (1999), 400 medley relay (2002).

At the National Meet
Stanford features 11 athletes who have finished in the top-16 at the NCAA meet in their careers: Elaine Breeden (19 times, notably in the 100 and 200 fly, 200 IM and 200 and 400 medley relays); Julia Smit (19 times, notably in the 200 IM, 400 IM, 200 back, 400 medley relay and 800 free relay); Kate Dwelley (9 times, notably in the 100, 200 and 400 free and 200 IM); Sam Woodward (5 fives, notably 50 and 100 free and relays); Liz Smith (five times, notably in the 100 and 200 breast); Whitney Spence (four times, notably the 800 free relay and 500 free); Meg Hostage (platform and one-meter); Kelsey Ditto (500 free, 1650 free); and single award winners: Kelley Hug (100 fly); Kerry Kraemer (200 breast); and Betsy Webb (400 medley relay).

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