By James Hemker
Today, both of Stanford’s swimming and diving teams (both 0-0) will take on Utah (both 0-0) at the Avery Aquatic Center in their first conference dual meet of the season.
This meet marks the beginning of a new dual meet season for the Cardinal. Both teams have high hopes for this year. The women have won 23 straight dual meets, last falling in 2015; similarly, the men have not dropped a dual meet in more than a year.
The men will seek to improve their championship performances after a second place finish at the Pac-12 championship and a seventh place finish at the NCAA championship. The women are primed to continue their conquest of collegiate swimming after taking home their 21st Pac-12 title and tenth NCAA title. Last year’s campaign broke seven Division 1 NCAA records, and senior Ella Eastin holds three of them.
The men’s team returns eight All-Americans including senior Abrahm Devine and junior Grant Shoults, who were both named to the Team USA national swim team for the 2018-2019 season. Junior True Sweetser and freshmen Jack LeVant and Daniel Roy also join them on the national team.
A strong freshman class paired with veteran upperclassmen such as seniors Matt Anderson, Ryan Dudzinski and Brad Zdroik and junior James Murphy, also a team captain, will create a strong foundation for the the Cardinal men.
The women’s team has stuck a bullseye on its back following a third consecutive Pac-12 championship and its second national championship in a row. Ten All-Americans return to the team, led by Eastin, junior Katie Drabot and sophomore Brooke Ford. These three are accompanied by freshman Zoe Bartel on the 2018-2019 women’s national team.
The freshmen of the women’s team have immense shoes to fill following the decisions of Olympians Katie Ledecky and Simone Manuel to go professional. While the two stars have forgone their NCAA eligibility, they will continue to train with the team. Their experience and elite caliber of swimming will benefit everyone in the pool with them. The women’s diving team has a similar Olympian-sized hole following the departure of Kassidy Cook.
When Stanford dueled the Utes last year, both of the Cardinal teams came away with comfortable wins despite having some of their most experienced swimmers away at a national meet. The women won 143-95 while the men clinched a 141.5-93 victory. The two teams finished first in a combined 19 out of 26 events.
Swimmers are set to first leap from their starting blocks today at 2 p.m. PST.
Contact James Hemker at jahemker ‘at’ stanford.edu