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Swimming & Diving: Ipsen sweeps as women take second at Ohio State Invitational

The women’s swimming and diving team can go into the midseason break feeling confident after taking second at the three-day Ohio State Invitational last weekend. The men’s divers will also be encouraged by their accomplishments in Columbus, Ohio, highlighted by sophomore Kristian Ipsen’s sweep of the 1-meter and 3-meter diving competitions.

The invitational is just what the women’s team needed after falling to the University of Texas in heartbreaking fashion the week before. Although the No. 6 Cardinal wasn’t able to edge out No. 11 Florida last weekend, it did prove itself against a strong field of swimmers from programs such as No. 15 UNC, No. 16 Ohio State, No. 21 Notre Dame and No. 25 Wisconsin. At the end of the meet Stanford had accumulated 815 points, finishing just 22 points behind first-place Florida (837), but well ahead of third-place Ohio State (589).

“At the end of the meet, we wanted to know how we can get better over the next 12 weeks,” said Stanford head coach Greg Meehan. “Our staff feels good about the path in front of us.”

The meet’s championship-style setup gave the team a preview of meets to come, such as the Pac-12 and NCAA championships. Each event featured a preliminary round, with the top eight swimmers advancing to the finals.

On Friday the Cardinal started strong with sophomore Maddy Schaefer setting a 50-meter freestyle pool record at Ohio State’s McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion. With a time of 22.18 she squeezed in just over four-tenths of a second ahead of second place.

Friday also saw Stanford set a new pool record in the 400-meter medley relay (3:33.73), with Schaefer, sophomore Katie Olsen, junior Maya DiRado and senior Andi Murez forming the winning crew.

The Cardinal delivered an equally lucrative performance Saturday. Murez set a pool record in the 200-meter freestyle with a time of 1:44.83 in the preliminaries. In the finals she held on to win with a time of 1:45.16.

Freshman Sarah Haase (1:00.40) came up with a win in the 100-meter breaststroke (1:00.44), edging out teammate Olsen by a razor-thin margin of four-hundredths of a second.

The 800-meter freestyle relay team of DiRado, Schaefer, freshman Julia Anderson and Murez finished off the night strong for the Card with a winning time of 7:03.18. Florida touched the wall more than a second later to secure second. At the end of day two, Stanford had moved into first in the overall team standings, with the Gators trailing close behind.

Florida would pull ahead Sunday, but not before DiRado earned herself a rare NCAA “A” cut in the 200-meter backstroke with a time of 1:52.52. This means that she will automatically qualify for the NCAA Championship in March. In contrast, Stanford junior swimmer Andie Taylor netted a “B” cut on Sunday when she finished the mile freestyle in 16:18.23 and must wait for an invitation to participate in the championship meet.

Schaefer (48.36) and Murez (48.72) also gave Stanford the first two positions in the 100-meter freestyle with Schaefer out-touching her teammate by just over three-tenths of a second.

The Cardinal then closed out the meet with a bang, setting yet another pool record, this time in the 400-meter freestyle relay. Schaefer, DiRado, Anderson and Murez posted a time of 3:15.69 to take gold in the last event of the three-day meet.

In the men’s diving competition, London Olympic bronze medalist Ipsen dominated the opposition, sweeping the preliminaries and finals of both the 1- and 3-meter diving competitions. After a disappointing second place finish in these events at Arizona, the result was just what he was looking for.

Junior Noah Garcia also finished second in the platform event and sixth in the 3-meter.

In the women’s diving competition, freshman Kelly Markle finished second in the 1-meter event, with junior Stephanie Phipps posting a fourth-place performance.

The women’s team now joins the men’s swimmers on a midseason break. Swimming and diving will get back into swing Jan. 5, when the men and women face the University of the Pacific at home.