Seniors Pablo Morales and Jeff Kostoff combined won five individual NCAA titles and the Stanford University men's swimming and diving team did something no Stanford team has ever done - won three NCAA Championships in a row.
Behind its two leaders, the Cardinal, for the third straight year, turned what was supposed to be a tight team battle into a rout by winning the national championship by 78 points - the largest margin of victory in NCAA men's swimming history. Stanford finished the three-day meet at the University of Texas Swim Center with 374 points, followed by USC (296), Florida (293), Cal (269) and Texas (257).
"The feeling of winning a national championship is so fantastic that I can't begin to describe my feelings," Cardinal head coach Skip Kenney said. Kenney was named the NCAA Coach of the Year for the third straight season and the fourth time in the last six years.
"Nobody can say we were lucky," Kenney explained. "We knew coming into the meet that if we swam well, we'd win it. This is one of the greatest teams in NCAA history."
Morales, who is arguably the greatest swimmer in NCAA history placed himself in the record book by winning three more individual titles, giving him 11 in his storybook career. Morales' total breaks the NCAA record of 10 previously held by USC's John Naber.
Morales won his three events (100 fly, 200 fly and 200 individual medley), broke his own American record in the 200 fly (1:42.60), led his team to a first place finish in the 400 medley relay and helped the Cardinal score well in the 400 free and 800 free relays.
In his career the Santa Clara native won 11 of the 12 individual events he swam. He won the 100 and 200 fly for four consecutive years and won the 200 IM the past three years. As a freshman, Morales placed fourth in the 200 IM.
"It doesn't get much better than this," Morales said of winning the national championship. "We have a lot of great athletes on this team and they proved what they can do. I couldn't have asked for anything more."
Jeff Kostoff, from Upland, California, enjoyed his finest NCAA Championship meet, winning both the 1650 free and the 400 IM and also placing fifth in the 500 free. He finished his career with five NCAA individual titles, the 1650 free in 1984, '86 and '87 and the 400 IM in '85 and '87.
Along with Morales and Kostoff, Stanford had the depth to not only win the title, but win it going away.
Anthony Mosse, Sean Murphy, Jay Mortenson and freshman John Witchel all scored well for the Cardinal. Mortenson, a sophomore from Madison, Wisconsin, gave notice that he is one of this country's most versatile and talented swimmers as he placed second in both the 100 back and the 100 fly and broke the American record in the 100 back swimming the leadoff leg of the 400 medley relay.
Mortenson's split of 47.94 to lead off the medley relay broke Tom Jager's American mark of 48.21. He came back later in the meet to score big points in the 100 back and 100 fly, finishing second to Morales in the 100 fly.
Mosse, for the third year in a row, was a finalist in both the 100 and 200 butterfly events, taking second to Morales in the 100 fly and third in the 100 fly, completing a 1-2-3 Stanford finish in that event.
Murphy, a junior from Toronto, had won the 200 back the past two seasons, but finished fourth in this meet. He still scored well for the Cardinal with an eighth place finish in the 100 back.
The freshman class, led by John Witchel of New York, gave the Cardinal the depth needed to win the meet. Witchel was a finalist in all three of his events, placing sixth in the 500 and 1650 free and seventh in the 200 free. Byron Burson took ninth in the 100 fly and was a member of Stanford's 400 free relay team. Doug Lillydahl finished 10th in the 50 free and was also on the 400 free relay and Sam Schwartz helped the Cardinal win the 400 medley relay.
1986-87 NCAA Team Results
1. Stanford 374
2. USC 296
3. Florida 293
4. California 269
5. Texas 257
6. Michigan 174
7. UCLA 146
8. LSU 145
9. Arizona 142
10. South Carolina 115
1987 Individual NCAA Champions
Prelims Finals Place
Jeff Kostoff 14:47.75 1st
Pablo Morales 46.47 46.47 1st
Pablo Morales 1:44.14 *1:42.60 1st
Pablo Morales 1:47.07 1:45.42 1st
Jeff Kostoff 3:47.61 3:47.40 1st
400 Medley Relay
Jay Mortenson, Sam Schwartz, 3:12.05 1st
Pablo Morales, John Hodge
*NCAA American Record