Cardinal women swim past Spartans to open season
Stanford women’s swimming kicked off its 2013 season Thursday as it welcomed the San Jose State Spartans to Avery Aquatic Center for a dual meet. The defending Pac-12 champion Cardinal (1-0) enjoyed a strong opening to its season, as Stanford was able to coast by the defending Western Athletic Conference champion Spartans (0-1) by a score of 138-100.
The Cardinal, under second-year coach Greg Meehan, opened the meet with a bang in the 200-yard medley relay as all three of its teams swept the top three of four teams from San Jose State. Each of the three Cardinal quartets finished with times at or below 1:44.7 while none of the Spartan teams broke 1:45.0.
In the individual events, Stanford’s returning juniors and seniors shined and some newer faces impressed as nine different Cardinal swimmers claimed victories. Stanford won every event except the 100-yard freestyle, in which Cardinal sophomore Julia Anderson was narrowly out-touched by Spartan freshman Alysha Bush, and the 200-yard IM, in which Stanford exhibitioned.
Stanford’s returning seniors — including the consistently successful Maya DiRado, Andie Taylor and Felicia Lee — helped set the pace throughout the meet, with the trio accounting for five of Stanford’s first-place finishes of the afternoon.
Taylor accounted for one of the most exciting finishes of the meet with her performance in the 200-yard butterfly. Although she and Spartan senior Ashlyn Acosta had comfortably led the pack during the whole race, it looked as if Acosta would cruise to a victory after she pulled ahead of Taylor midway through the race. However, Taylor battled back and overtook Acosta in the final 25 yards, eventually out-touching the Spartan by less than two-tenths of a second.
“I think our seniors did a nice job,” Meehan said. “They have the experience, they know the expectations this time of year and I think they are doing a good job leading the group along.”
Junior sprinter Maddy Schaefer, the owner of the Avery Aquatic Center’s record 50-yard freestyle time, also had a big day to continue her string of strong performances from last season. Schaefer was a part of the Cardinal’s winning 200-yard medley relay team and also notched an individual victory in the 50 free and came in second in the 200-yard backstroke.
Alongside the upperclassmen that shined, some of the Cardinal freshmen also made big splashes in their first meet on The Farm. Davis native Tara Halsted swam a very impressive 200-yard backstroke to finish in first — ahead of Schaefer — and Olympic bronze medalist Lia Neal swam to a convincing victory in the 200-yard freestyle, coming in a full two seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. Although Halsted and Neal had strong meets, Coach Meehan still believes they have much to work on.
“It’s always interesting watching freshmen race for the first time because they are trying so hard to show you how good they are,” Meehan said. “I think it’s important for them to stick to the details of what we are asking them to do. Sometimes they have to slow things down a little bit to learn and get back. I think our freshman class is a little better than most people think and I’m certainly excited about that. We are more worried about the details, not as much the times.”
The Cardinal will begin its Pac-12 schedule when it welcomes Washington State to Avery for another home dual meet Thursday at 3 p.m.
Contact Do-Hyoung Park at dpark027 ‘at’ stanford.edu.
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