The Cardinal men’s and women’s divers opened up the competition season with a dominating performance at their own three-day Cardinal Invitational this past weekend. Freshman Kristian Ipsen and sophomore Stephanie Phipps led the way for Stanford by sweeping their respective 1-meter and 3-meter springboard events. Senior captain Taylor Sishc also won the men’s platform event on Sunday.
Ipsen’s final score of 420.75 in the 1-meter springboard put him 90 points ahead of freshman teammate Connor Kuremsky. In the 3-meter event, Ipsen won by an even greater margin, finishing with a score of 455.80, 110 points ahead of sophomore teammate Noah Garcia.
“I was trying some new dives on the springboard,” Ipsen said. “Overall, I was happy with my performance. It’s nice to get into the competition part of the diving season. And I feel like our team as a whole did really well.”
Part of the reason for Ipsen’s large margins of victory is his ability to perform difficult dives that no other divers can execute. The degree of difficulty of his dives at the invite reached up to 3.50, whereas other divers performed dives that were in the 3.0 degree-of-difficulty range.
Phipps mirrored Ipsen’s wins with two victories of her own on the springboard. On Friday, Phipps held off Cal’s Molly Hayes in the 3-meter with a score of 321.80. The next day, Phipps—an All-American as a freshman last year—beat her Cal opponent again, this time in the 1-meter with a score of 294.20.
“I was pretty happy with the meet,” Phillips said. “I’m focusing on learning how to compete, so that’s what I was trying to do this weekend. At this point of the season, I want to focus on getting into competition mode and doing at meets what I do in practice.”
The invitational concluded on Sunday afternoon with the platform event. Sishc overtook Cal’s Tyler Pullen on the third dive and would go on to win with a score of 346.30, 50 points ahead of second-place finisher Pullen.
Sishc, the men’s diving captain, pointed out, “I was pleased with the result overall, but there are a couple dives that I need to get better at. As a team, [head coach Rick Schavone] is really pleased with us right now, and we’re just coming back from winter training. But we still have a long time to go. There are still a lot of things to work on.”
Schavone agreed that there are certain aspects that the team can improve on. “We definitely need to work more on the platform,” he said. “We’re going to go back to heavy training and re-emphasize platform. We still have a lot to do, and we’re going to start at 7:30 tomorrow morning.” Even two-time winner Ipsen stated that he needed to “work on cleaner entries” in his dives.
As a team, the Cardinal divers won five of the six events competed this past weekend. In most of the events, Stanford dominated the field. In the men’s 3-meter springboard, for instance, the top six finishers were all Cardinal divers.
“It’s just the middle of the season, so the meet results aren’t that important right now,” Schavone said. “We just came back from heavy training, and the divers are pretty torn up. We’re diving well for this time of the year. The meet showed us that we’re heading in the right direction, especially on the springboard. We’re going to work more on platform, but stick with what we’ve been doing on springboard.”
The Cardinal divers will prepare next for a competition-filled month that includes important dual meets against Pac-12 teams including Arizona State, Arizona, USC and Cal. The divers’ next matchup will be against Arizona State at home on Friday.