Oct. 19, 2012
Pacific Invitational: Live Video | Results
STANFORD, Calif. -
Ted Knapp is no stranger to the Stanford swimming and diving program. An assistant under Hall of Fame head coach Skip Kenney for 28 seasons prior to his appointment as the Goldman Family Director of Men's Swimming and Diving this past summer, Knapp will make his head coaching debut Saturday when the Cardinal takes part in the Pacific Invitational in Stockton, Calif.
Knapp has been a part of 28 consecutive conference titles and seven NCAA crowns at Stanford, but his success may just be getting started as he transitions into his position as head coach.
With the departure of Kenney, 14-time All-Americans David Mosko and Bobby Bollier, 13-time All-American Curtis Lovelace and eight-time All-American Chad La Tourette, the cupboard is anything but bare for Knapp.
Of Stanford's 10 seniors on last season's roster, six scored points at the 2012 NCAA Championships while the Cardinal punched in a third-place finish. But a host of experienced and talented returners leads Knapp to believe that previous success can not only be duplicated, but improved upon.
"Contending for the national championship is always the norm at Stanford," Knapp said. "Winning would certainly be the ultimate goal, but swimming fast is always what you prepare for. If we swim fast, the rest will take care of itself."
Senior Aaron Wayne, a finalist in the 50 and 100 free at the 2012 NCAAs, and classmate Andrew Saeta will help lead the Cardinal throughout the upcoming season. Saeta swam in the finals of both the 200 and 400 free relays at last season's NCAA Championships, earning All-America honors in each.
An extraordinaire group of underclassmen parlayed with a freshmen class which includes three of the nation's top 10 recruits creates an interesting dynamic for this season's team.
"Not only do we have great leadership in and out of the pool from our senior class, but our underclassmen and freshmen class has stepped up to every challenge presented to them throughout the preseason," Knapp said. "We have very versatile freshmen who can step in and fill the gaps where needed. I'm eager to see how much our sophomores have improved and how much our juniors will continue to contribute to our success."
Among the returning underclassmen is 2012 Pac-12 Conference Freshman of the Year David Nolan, a seven-time All-American and NCAA runner-up in the 200 back with a school-record 1:39.74 and the 100 back in 45.53.
On the diving side, head coach Rick Schavone will enjoy the return of sophomore Kristian Ipsen, the defending NCAA champion in the 3-meter and bronze medalist in the synchronized 3-meter at the 2012 Olympics.
"Some people lead by example, some are vocal leaders, but Kristian leads by niceness," Schavone said. "There is not a nicer person out there than Kristian, and it's very contagious in our training and performances."
Ipsen will be flanked on the boards by Tommy Fraychineaud, Noah Garcia, Connor Kuremsky, Larry Reinhard, Jr., and Taylor Sishc.
Off the blocks and off the boards, Stanford is glowing with optimism in its trek for the program's first national title since 1998. After this weekend's Pacific Invitational, the path to the program's ninth title continues with a Bay Area showdown between Stanford and Cal (Nov. 7), which is sandwiched between the season-opening dual meet with Wisconsin (Nov. 2) and the Arena Invitational (Nov. 15-17) held in Long Beach, Calif.
After more than a six-week layoff from formal competition, the Cardinal will play host to Pacific (Jan. 5) before back-to-back dual meets at Arizona State (Jan. 25) and Arizona (Jan. 26).
The Cardinal returns to Long Beach for the 2013 Pac-12 Championships (March 6-9) in search of an unprecedented 32nd consecutive league title. Stanford cruised to the top of the podium at the 2012 edition of the league meet while outscoring second-place Cal by 131 points. The Pac-12 Invitational will be held on March 10.
The IU Natatorium in Indianapolis will serve as the host site for the 2013 NCAA Championships (March 28-30).
Knapp has even admitted that he's "fired up" for the upcoming season, and is quick to credit an encouraging preseason to the energy and innovation of his newly-constructed coaching staff, which includes assistant coach Scott Armstrong and volunteer assistant Eugene Godsoe.
"There are some things I'd like to see evolve within the program," Knapp said. "There is now an influx of new ideas, and in already working through these ideas with our staff and team, the new approaches have been well received.
"In some ways it will be fun for the student-athletes, and in others it will be more fatiguing. The end result - winning - will be worth it."