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Swimmers look to make a bigger splash in 2013

“Beat Cal.”

It’s a slogan that adorns cardinal red shirts throughout the year, and one that will have particular significance for the men’s swimming and diving team this fall.

The perennial national title contenders from Berkeley have always been a thorn in Stanford aquatics’ side. However, the competition between the Cardinal and its cross-bay rivals came to a head last spring when the Golden Bears topped Stanford in the Pac-12 championship, ending Stanford’s 31-year streak as conference champions.

(Stanford Daily File Photo)
Junior David Nolan, coming off of a fantastic performance in the 2012 NCAA Championship Meets in which he won two national titles, will look to lead the men’s swimming and diving squad back to the top of the Pac-12 conference. (LARRY GE/The Stanford Daily)

Cal went on to place second in the NCAA championship meets—falling just short of winning the national title for a third straight year—while Stanford finished a disappointing seventh. It was the first time in over two decades that the Cardinal finished outside of the top four in the national championship.

Despite the disappointing finish to last season, the Cardinal has several reasons to be confident that the 2013-14 season will yield better results.

Two of those reasons are juniors Kristian Ipsen and David Nolan.

Ipsen has made a substantial impact on both the national and international stage. The Olympic bronze medalist cruised through the NCAA Championship Meets last season, claiming national titles in both the one-meter and three-meter springboard events, with a close second in the platform diving event. The squad will also be bolstered by senior Noah Garcia and three-time NCAA Diving Coach of the Year Rick Schavone.

Nolan, one of the most heavily recruited swimmers in recent history, has quickly proven to be a top all-around collegiate swimmer. The junior claimed two individual national titles at the NCAA Championships in the 200-yard individual medley (IM) and the 100-yard backstroke while picking up three All-American honors.

The team will also look to Junior Drew Cosgarea—who proved to be a threat in the freestyle, backstroke and IM last season—as well as rising sophomore Tom Kremer, who gave very promising performances in the NCAA Championships.

After Aaron Wayne graduated at the end of last season, however, the Cardinal will need to bolster its sprinting corps. Freshman Connor Black, a top-five recruit in the nation, will look to make an immediate impact for the team.

The Cardinal will also look to Charlie Wiser, a freshman from the East Bay, to make a big impression. Wiser’s claim to fame is that he swam the second-fastest high school time in history in the 100-yard breaststroke. Wiser will look to translate that success into collegiate aquatics.

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The women’s swimming and diving team will face a new challenge in competing against the Golden Bears this year. Cal claimed the most coveted recruitment in recent history during the offseason when it was announced that Missy Franklin—who won four gold medals and one bronze in the 2012 Olympic Games—had chosen to swim for Berkeley.

In addition to new opposition, the Cardinal will look to bounce back from a tough season ending. While the team claimed its third Pac-12 Championship in the last four years in early March of last season, it fell to eighth place in the NCAA Championships a few weeks later in the face of stronger competition.

Despite a disappointing finish and the loss of All-American Andi Murez, Stanford has its fair share of talent to tout this year. Junior Maddy Schaefer and seniors Felicia Lee and Maya DiRado proved themselves last season as strong, effective swimmers and stand out as important players to guide the Cardinal as it looks to contend again in the national picture.

Lee was a key asset last season, setting a new Stanford record with her 51.58-second time in the 100-yard backstroke at the NCAA Championships and swimming in five relays for the Cardinal. DiRado also finished in the top five in three individual races at the NCAAs—earning All-American honors in each—and, along with Lee, was part of the team that finished with a school-record time in the 400-yard medley relay.

The Cardinal, with strong swimmers all around the board and a diving corps led by senior Stephanie Phipps—the reigning 3-meter springboard Pac-12 champion—will look to continue its recent streak of Pac-12 dominance after it begins its dual-meet season on Sept. 26 against San Jose State at Avery Aquatics Center.

Contact Do-Hyoung Park at dpark027 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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