1996-97 Season Outlook
The tradition of the Stanford women's swimming and diving team speaks for
itself: five straight national titles, 10 straight Pac-10 titles and just one
dual meet loss since 1989. And, believe it or not, the Cardinal is expected to
be even better in 1996-97.
Richard Quick's squad returns 10 All-Americans and five NCAA champions, which
coupled with a talented recruiting class, make the Cardinal a favorite to win a
sixth-straight NCAA title.
The recruiting class includes three Olympians, led by two-time Olympic gold
medalist Catherine Fox. She is joined by Jessica Amey (Canada) and Gabrielle
Rose (Brazil). In all, Stanford has five swimmers who competed in the 1996
Olympics, including senior Claudia Franco (Spain) and junior Elin Austevoll
But the road to the top won't be easy with Michigan, SMU, Texas and Georgia all
expected to contend.
Here's a stroke-by-stroke breakdown of the 1996-97 Cardinal:
Nineteen-time All-American Claudia Franco won three titles at the 1995-96 NCAA
Championships, and has now won five in her illustrious career. Franco, who
finished 11th in the 50 meter free at the Summer Olympics, ranks third in school
history in the 50 free and fifth in the 100 free.
While Franco ranks first on the team in the 50 free and 200 free, freshman
Catherine Fox already is tops on the squad in the 100 free. The Shawnee Mission,
Kansas native won two relay gold medals at the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Joining this pair is a host of talented returners mixed in with a few newcomers.
Nine-time All-American senior Michelle Jesperson, junior All-Americans Becky
Bicknell, Lindsay Gassner and Michelle Collins and sophomore Emily Smith will
all make an impact. Joining them are freshmen Jessica Amey, who represented
Canada in the Summer Olympics, Gabrielle Rose, who swam for Brazil at the
Olympics and Jessica Powell.
The Cardinal boasts two of the top distance free swimmers in the country in
senior Sarah Anderson and junior Amy Oberhelman.
Anderson is a nine-time All-American, and has recorded six individual top 10
finishes at NCAAs. Oberhelman, who is a seven-time All-American, placed third in
the 1650 free at last year's NCAAs. Both swimmers have also earned All-American
accolades in the 200 free. Joining Oberhelman and Anderson in this group are
freshman Courtney Lischke and Jennifer Tucker-Mohl.
Richard Quick's squad is young and deep in the backstroke behind senior Kerry
O'Hanlon, junior Evi-Lynn Byer, sophomores Kari Edwards, Chantal Rawn and
Suzanne Toledo and Fox.
O'Hanlon is a seven-time All-American and three-time NCAA champion, while Fox
finished fourth in the 100 meter back at the 1996 Olympic Trials, and owns the
best short course time on the squad in both events. Joining Fox are the three
sophomores - Edwards, Rawn and Toledo - who also qualified for NCAAs as
freshmen. Byer, who finished 14th at the Olympic Trials in the 200 back, and
freshman Maren Ewers are also expected to contribute.
Junior Elin Austevoll, the Norwegian national record holder in the 100 and 200
breast, is back after earning six All-American honors as a freshman. Austevoll
also won Pac-10 titles in both the 100 and 200 breast.
Joining Austevoll are sophomore Alison Fealey, a transfer from USC who qualified
for the NCAAs as a freshman, sophomore Tara Hopwood and freshman Gabrielle Rose.
Stanford returns four NCAA qualifiers, led by All-Americans Franco and Anderson.
Franco finished 11th in the 100 fly at last year's NCAAs, while Anderson was
16th in the 200 fly.
Sophomores Jodi Jackson, who finished 17th in the 100 fly at NCAAs, Caroline
Palmer, an NCAA qualifier in both fly events, Amey, Collins, Rose and Toledo are
all expected to contribute. Both Amey and Rose competed in the 100 fly in
The Cardinal returns three sophomores - Austevoll, Edwards and Rawn - who
recorded top 10 finishes at the NCAA Championships as freshmen. Austevoll
finished fourth in the 200 IM, while Edwards was seventh in the 400 IM and Rawn
10th in the 200 IM.
Anderson, Hopwood and Jackson along with newcomers Fealey, Rose, who was an
Olympian in the 200 IM, and Tucker-Mohl provide added depth.
Stanford has dominated relays at the NCAA Championships, including three
first-place finishes in 1995-96, and this year could be no exception. The
Cardinal loses just two swimmers - Lisa Jacob and Jessica Tong - from last
season's NCAA relay teams.
Franco anchored three relay squads - 400 free, 200 medley and 400 medley - and
also swam a leg in the 200 free. Austevoll, a member of the 400 free, 200 medley
and 400 medley relay teams, will also be a key contributor. Big things are
expected from Amey, Rose, and Fox in the relay events.
Rick Schavone's squad is led by 1995-96 Pac-10 Diver of the Year Megan Gardner.
She finished a close second in the platform at NCAAs in helping boost the
Cardinal to its fifth straight title. Gardner is a three-time All-American, and
Pac-10 platform champion last season.
Senior Stefanie Forrest, who finished fourth in the platform at Pac-10s last
season is also back, as are sophomores Gaelyn Felix, Kari Kokka, Tricia Tempio
and Carissa Zenorini, who finished second at Pac-10s in the one-meter.