You may think you’ve seen it all when it comes to the Stanford-Cal rivalry, but Saturday’s women’s swimming matchup promises only thrilling action at noon at the Avery Aquatic Center. The undefeated Cardinal women (6-0, 6-0 Pac-12), ranked second in the NCAA, will take on the Bears (6-1, 5-1), which follow close behind at No. 3.
The difference between the teams’ records can be traced to differences in the fates of each of the teams against No. 7 USC. The Trojans beat Cal 153-147, while Stanford enjoyed a late-meet comeback to post a 152-148 victory.
Last Valentine’s Day, Stanford swimming fell just short to Berkeley with a loss of 158-142. That loss was its only loss across its last 12 dual meets extending back to last season. However, with veteran swimmers like senior Sarah Haase, senior Alison Brown and junior Lia Neal in positions of leadership, this meet’s fate is anything but predictable. Stanford also is riding the added dynamism of underclassmen like freshman Ella Eastin, sophomore Janet Hu and sophomore Ally Howe, all of whom, along with Neal, garnered two individual wins two weekends ago against UCLA.
As this is the last dual meet of the 2015-16 season, this meet will also serve as Stanford’s Senior Day. Fans will honor the team’s nine seniors: Julia Ama, Julia Anderson, Allison Brown, Alex Clay, Sarah Haase, Lilly Hinrichs, Kelly Markle, KC Moss and Jaynie Pulte. After this meet, Stanford moves on to the Pac-12 championships, held from Feb. 24-27, and then to the NCAAs, from Mar. 16-19. Closing the dual season is a cause for reflection on the success of this group of girls — a group head coach Greg Meehan has described as among “the most fun group of girls I’ve ever coached.”
In addition to being Senior Day, this meet will also be held #ForTheKids. Fans are encouraged to make a donation to the Lucile Packard Stanford Children’s Hospital upon entrance. The team is challenging fans to surpass last year’s impressive total of $2,500, which was raised at the squad’s meet against Texas.
For live updates this weekend, fans have the option of tuning into GoStanford.com for times and ranks or checking in with the girls at “StanfordWSwim” on Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter to see the action poolside.
Contact Kit Ramgopal at kramgopa ‘at’ stanford.edu.