“It was fun to race a strong Texas team today,” said head coach Greg Meehan. “Coming off our training camp, we didn't get out to a good start through the front half of the meet, but we rebounded really well. Meets in early January are more about toughness than going fast and I thought both teams worked through that today.”
Stanford, which traveled from the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., held a 143-140 lead before the 400 free relay, meaning that the winning relay team would clinch the victory for its squad. Maddy Schaefer, Felicia Lee, Julia Anderson and Lia Neal put together a 3:18.98 and beat Texas’ best group by almost 2.5 seconds.
Lee, the Pac-12 November Swimmer of the Month, was a pivotal part of the Cardinal’s win, coming away with two individual victories and two more as part of relays. Maya DiRado had three individual wins and was a part of the winning 200 medley and Andie Taylor won both distance events.
Stanford jumped to a lead through the first two events, but Texas quickly cut the Cardinal margin to one by going 1-2-3 in the 200 free. Stanford’s wins came in the 200 medley (DiRado, Katie Olsen, Lee, Maddy Schaefer) in 1:40.53 and with Andie Taylor’s 9:57.01 in the 1,000 free.
Top spots from Lee (100 back, 53.91) and DiRado (200 fly, 1:59.04) continued to keep Stanford ahead, but Texas had the three bests off of the one-meter boards to take its first lead after eight events.
The Longhorns advantage did not last long, as Stanford’s swimmers won four of the next five events.
Neal and DiRado won the 100 free and 200 back in back-to-back fashion. Neal’s 49.75 was 0.78 faster than Texas’ Alex Hooper and DiRado followed with a 1:57.35 in the 200 back to beat the Longhorns’ Tasija Karosas (1:58.21).
After Olsen and Sarah Haase went 2-3 in the 200 breaststroke, Taylor and Lee gave the Cardinal back-to-back wins once again. Taylor touched the wall four seconds ahead of the field in the 500 free and Lee was nearly two full seconds faster than teammate Nicole Stafford in the 100 fly.
Texas once again grabbed a lead after diving, this time owning the top four positions in the three-meter competition, but DiRado and Stanford’s 400 free relay propelled the Cardinal.
DiRado’s third win came in the 200 IM, as she swam a 1:59.60. Texas had two in the top five of the event to setup the deciding showdown in the 400 free relay.
Texas was led by diver Maren Taylor and swimmer Gretchen Jaques, who each won twice.
The Cardinal is back in action Jan. 24-25 when Arizona and Arizona State visit Avery Aquatics Center.