2021-22 Season In Review
Stanford made big strides during the 2021-22 season, improving in nearly every way over the previous campaign. The Goldman Family Director of Men's Swimming Dan Schemmel's third season at the helm proved to be his most successful with the Cardinal finishing second at the Pac-12 Championships, seventh at the NCAA Championships, and with the team's first individual NCAA event title since the 2017-18 season.
Two newcomers on the team featured heavily throughout the season and brought impressive international experience to the Avery Aquatic Center. Andrei Minakov of the Russian Olympic Committee and Ron Polonsky of Israel had short offseasons thanks to their competition in the Tokyo Olympics in the summer of 2021. Minakov featured for the ROC in the 100 meter free and 100 meter fly individually, narrowly missing out on a medal in the fly, finishing fourth. He also competed in the 400 meter medley relay where he took fourth, and the 400 meter free relay where he claimed seventh. Polonsky competed for Israel in both the individual medley events, earning 26th overall in the 200 IM.
An incredible race from Andrei ??
The 19-year old is fourth in the Olympic 100m fly with a 50.88! ????#GoStanford x #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/fWeN8COEBJ
— Stanford Men's Swimming and Diving (@stanfordmswim) July 31, 2021
REGULAR SEASON DOMINANCE
Stanford brought the firepower to the regular season, ultimately putting together an undefeated dual meet record. Stanford faced five top-25 opponents in a row to close out the regular season with no. 22 Harvard, no. 6 ASU, no. 20 Arizona, no. 8 USC, and no. 3 California. This marked Stanford's first undefeated dual meet record under Schemmel's direction, and the first since the 2017-18 season. The Cardinal's perfect record included a 5-0 conference record, capped off by a signature win against no. 3 California in the final action before the postseason. Stanford downed the Golden Bears 153-141, winning the final relay to seal the victory on senior day.
PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP RUNNER UP
The postseason began with an impressive effort from the Cardinal in Federal Way, Washington, at the King County Aquatic Center. Stanford ultimately finished second overall to California, but claimed six event championships at the meet including program record relay finishes in the 200 and 400 medley relays.
Conor Casey was dominant in the diving pool, collecting his fifth and sixth Pac-12 titles on the 1-meter and the 3-meter. Jack Ryan was right behind the senior diver, taking second place on the 1-meter and third on the 3-meter at the conference Championships. Ryan showed he's ready to take the reins from Casey, as the Denver native earned Pac-12 Freshman Diver of the Year.
Preston Forst and Andrei Minakov were Stanford's two individual champions with Forst taking the 500 free win and Minakov earning the 100 fly victory. Following the strong performance in the conference meet, the Cardinal moved up to its highest CSCAA ranking of the season at number five.
Stanford's final stop of the postseason came at the NCAA Championships in Atlanta, Georgia. In one of the most competitive national championships in recent history, the Cardinal had its sights set on improving upon a 14th place finish in 2021. Andrei Minakov led the charge by taking first place in the 100 fly, Stanford's first individual national title since 2018. It was also the first time a Stanford swimmer has won the 100 fly in more than a decade, dating back to Austin Staab's victory in 2011.
ANDREI IS AN NCAA CHAMPION#GoStanford pic.twitter.com/e53bEZV1im
— Stanford Men's Swimming and Diving (@stanfordmswim) March 25, 2022
Minakov wasn't the only student-athlete with a stellar performance at the NCAA Championships either. 11 Stanford swimmers and divers combined for 34 All-America honors, including five from Leon MacAlister, six from Ron Polonsky, and seven from Minakov. Stanford moved up seven spots from the previous NCAA Championships to finish seventh overall in 2022, the Cardinal's best finish at the national meet since 2017-18. With a team full of underclassmen and two of the top-performers in the first year of their athletic eligibility, the future is bright for Stanford men's swimming and diving.
Jonathan Affeld (3) - 200 Medley Relay, 400 Medley Relay, 200 Freestyle Relay (2nd Team)
Conor Casey (2) - 1-meter (2nd Team), 3-meter (2nd Team)
Preston Forst (2) - 500 Freestyle (2nd Team), 800 Freestyle Relay
Mason Gonzalez (1) - 200 Freestyle Relay (2nd Team)
Leon MacAlister (5) - 200 Backstroke, 100 Backstroke (2nd Team), 200 Medley Relay, 400 Medley Relay, 400 Freestyle Relay
Luke Maurer (4) - 200 Freestyle (2nd Team), 400 Freestyle Relay, 800 Freestyle Relay, 200 Freestyle Relay (2nd Team)
Andrei Minakov (7) - 100 Butterfly, 100 Freestyle, 400 Freestyle Relay, 800 Freestyle Relay, 200 Medley Relay, 400 Medley Relay, 200 Freestyle Relay (2nd Team)
Ron Polonsky (6) - 200 IM (2nd Team), 400 IM (2nd Team), 200 Medley Relay, 400 Freestyle Relay, 400 Medley Relay, 800 Freestyle Relay
Daniel Roy (1) - 200 Breaststroke
Jack Ryan (1) - 1-meter (2nd Team)
Grant Shoults (2) - 1650 Freestyle (2nd Team), 500 Freestyle (2nd Team)
What. A. Weekend.
Incredible performances all around for the Cardinal.
It's the best team finish for Stanford since the 2017-18 season at seventh overall with 231 points! ??????#GoStanford pic.twitter.com/Y3wVf2uga2
— Stanford Men's Swimming and Diving (@stanfordmswim) March 27, 2022
HISTORY ON THE FARM
10 Stanford records fell during the 2021-22 campaign including four relay times. Of the remaining six individual marks, Andrei Minakov claimed three, setting program records in the 100 free, 200 free, and 100 fly. Leon MacAlister became the new king of backstroke on The Farm, setting new team marks in the 100 back and 200 back. Grant Shoults also solidified his place as one of the greatest distance swimmers in program history, taking the 1,000 free record. Shoults also owns the 500 free record and sits third in the 1,650 free.
STUDY HARD, SWIM FAST
The Cardinal flexed their strength in the classroom this season as well. Stanford was named a CSCAA Scholar All-America team in January, while 21 swimmers and divers were named to the Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll. Leon MacAlister earned a CoSIDA Academic All-District distinction for his hard work outside the pool as well.