STANFORD, Calif. - In just her first year as a head coach Sara Lowe guided the Stanford synchronized swimming team to the program’s seventh U.S. Collegiate National Title. The graduation of over half of the championship team will leave the 2014 squad with just seven members, including five underclassmen.
“With the majority of our competitors having 20-plus athletes on their rosters, it will be tough for Stanford to repeat as national champions in 2014,” said Lowe. “However, the athletes are working very hard and pushing themselves to their limits each day.”
Now in her second season, Lowe will have to find a way to keep the young Cardinal squad focused and poised to have a strong showing at Collegiate Nationals.
“The team trained hard throughout the fall quarter to ensure that each athlete is healthy and strong to compete at the highest level,” said Lowe. “My assistant coach [Megan Azebu] and I have introduced a new training plan and different techniques this season.
“We integrated techniques and a layout similar to those of the European countries we observed while coaching in Russia and observing in Spain last summer. We expect the high level and new training to give our athletes an edge on the competition, and to allow them to be faster and higher than their competition.”
“Leigh and Megan competed on the national team last year in Kazan, along with sophomore Evelyna Wang,” stated Lowe. “They are the three athletes returning to our team who have senior national team experience, and I expect that they will draw on this experience to lead the team by example.”
Stanford opens the season on Jan. 24-25 at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo. The Cardinal’s home opener is set for Feb. 8-9 against the University of Incarnate Word at the Avery Aquatics Center.
“Lindenwood finished third at the 2013 Collegiate Nationals and retained the majority of their athletes for this season,” added Lowe. “They have a strong freshman class, so I expect them to be strong competition.”
After a trip to Gainesville, Fla., Stanford will return to The Farm for its final home competition against Arizona, Feb. 22-23. The Cardinal will swim against Arizona State in Mesa, Ariz., on March 1 before competing at the Western Regionals on March 2.
The 2014 U.S. Collegiate Nationals are scheduled for March 19-22 in Oxford, Ohio, where Stanford will see one of the other top competitors in the nation in Ohio State.