By James Hemker
The Stanford men’s swimming and diving team will be competing for the final time this year at the NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas from Wednesday to Saturday. The team will be sending 17 total athletes in the form of 11 invited swimmers, two invited divers, and four relay alternates.
The Cardinal, who finished seventh in the national polls, were the runners-up at the Pac-12 Conference Championship two weeks ago. Top-ranked Cal took home the conference title, and the Golden Bears are one of the front runners for the national championship, along with four-time defending champ Texas.
Stanford finished seventh at NCAA’s last year but looks to improve its standing this year.
Three members of the senior class will race in the Stanford cap for one last time. Senior Matt Anderson qualified to race in the 100-yard breaststroke, where he will try to shave three tenths of a second off his best time to break the current school record of 51.75.
Redshirt senior Patrick Conaton, who is slated to compete in the 200-yard backstroke, also has a chance to set a new Stanford record if he can drop six tenths of a second off his personal best of 1:39.72.
Senior Abrahm DeVine, the veteran star of the team, will be competing in both the 200 and 400 IMs. Last year, DeVine won the 400 IM and became Stanford’s first individual champion since David Nolan in 2015. It was the first 400 IM title the school had seen in 20 years. DeVine will try to defend his title and best his fourth place 200 IM finish from last year. Sophomore Alex Liang will also be racing in the 400 IM.
Stanford’s middle and long distance crew have been the team’s most consistent group. Representative of that, juniors True Sweetser and James Murphy, and sophomores Johannes Calloni and Matthew Hirschberger will be spread across the 500-yard and 1,650-yard freestyle races.
Junior Hank Poppe will be the only other Cardinal to join Anderson in the 100 breast, and he will also compete in the 200-yard variant. Sophomore Brennan Pastorek and freshman Daniel Roy will both be included in the 200 breast field.
On the boards, both freshmen divers will be making the trip to Texas. Conor Casey qualified for both springboard events, while Noah Vigran was able to earn a spot in the springboard events and the platform as well.
The team’s relay alternates are seniors Cole Cogswell and Brad Zdroik, junior Ben Ho, and freshman Mason Gonzalez.
Notably absent from the lineup is freshman sensation Jack LeVant, who was tabbed to compete in the 500 and 200-yard free events. Unfortunately, LeVant announced on Instagram that he would be unable to travel with the team due to unforeseen medical complications.
The NCAA meet follows the invitational schedule of preliminary races in the morning and finals races in the evening. Prelims will begin at 8 a.m. PST and finals are set to start at 4 p.m. PST.
Contact James Hemker at jahemker ‘at’ stanford.edu.