No. 1 Stanford women’s swimming and diving (1-0, 0-0 Pac-12) opened its season with a 186-105 victory against No. 19 Arkansas (1-1, 0-0 SEC) this weekend at home. This was the team’s 30th consecutive dual meet victory.
Since last year, Stanford has seen the loss of eight-time individual NCAA champion Ella Eastin and Canadian Olympic medalist Taylor Ruck. Star swimmers like senior Katie Drabot, junior Lauren Pitzer and sophomore Lucie Nordmann also did not swim at this meet, opting to get some recovery time from their training season. Despite their absences, the Cardinal still won 12 of the 14 events of the meet.
“For us to be able to take care of business in the way that we did today, without them, is a good sign of where our team is in terms of functioning at a really high level,” head coach Greg Meehan said.
Coming in as three-time defending NCAA champions, the Cardinal has a lot of pressure riding on the season. Meehan said, however, that the team is focusing on, “be[ing] the best version of [them]selves. Last year’s win has no impact on this year, so we are just trying to stay in the moment of what they’re doing and embrace this team and be as good as this team can be.”
Junior Brooke Forde had an especially strong performance on Saturday. She came in first place in both the 1000-yard freestyle (9:50.58) and the 200-yard breaststroke (2:13.05). “We were pretty excited going in, since it’s the first time racing as a group with this team,” Forde said. “We were pretty tired from training, but everyone did a really good job of stepping up in their events.”
Stanford performed well in both relays, starting the meet with a great 200-yard medley relay. The Stanford A and B teams came in first and second with times of 1:40.33 and 1:42.73, respectively. The 400-yard free relay at the end was a much closer race; the Cardinal was behind coming into the last leg of the race, when junior Grace Zhao closed in on Arkansas, out-touching the Razorbacks by 0.17 seconds, stopping the clock at 3:23.58.
Sophomore Allie Raab also had a standout meet, leading throughout all of the 100-yard breaststroke and 200-yard individual medley. In the 100 breast, her winning time of 1:00.84 was uncontested, almost three seconds faster than Zhao (1:03.61) who took silver. In the 200 I.M., Raab battled it out with senior Erin Voss, starting behind in the butterfly and backstroke and then pulling ahead with a strong breaststroke leg. Raab (1:59.59) claimed first place, and Voss (2:00.13) followed close behind in second.
The day saw more impressive performances by sophomore Amalie Fackenthal and freshman Alexandra Crisera. The duo quickly pulled ahead in the 200-yard free, leading the race by over five seconds. Fackenthal won the event (1:47.05) and Crisera followed closely behind (1:47.58), an especially impressive feat considering it was Crisera’s first collegiate dual meet. Later in the day, Crisera won the 200-yard backstroke by almost six seconds, touching the wall at 1:54.99. Fackenthal also later led the 100 butterfly with a time of 53.92, followed by Forde with a 54.45.
The Cardinal also saw successes in the remaining events. In the 100 back, Voss dominated, stopping the clock at 53.95. Senior Allie Szekely secured first place in the 200 butterfly (2:00.98) and junior Katie Glavinovich handily won the 500 freestyle (4:51.42). In the 50-yard and 100-yard free races, Arkansas’ Anna Hopkin led with times of 22.21 and 49.08, respectively. Stanford earned second through fifth place in the 50, led by sophomore Anya Goeders (22.58). In the 100, Raab came in second (50.93).
Stanford dominated the diving competition as well, led by sophomore Daria Lenz. In the 3-meter diving competition, Lenz won first place with 300.08 points. In 1-meter diving, Lenz earned first again, with 275.85 points, followed by junior Mia Paulsen with 269.93 points.
The next dual meet is against Washington State on Wednesday, October 23rd at 5:00 p.m. PT at Avery Aquatic Center, followed by the annual Alumni Meet on Friday, October 25th.
Contact Natalie Hilderbrand at nhild ‘at’ stanford.edu and James Hemker at jahemker ‘at’ stanford.edu.