Feb. 27, 2009
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FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - From Beijing in 2008 to Federal Way in 2009, Stanford juniors and U.S. Olympians Julia Smit and Elaine Breeden continue to amaze. Swimming at the 2009 Pacific-10 Conference championships, Smit won the 400 IM with an NCAA record-time of 4:01.56 - eclipsing the previous mark of 4:02.28 set by Olympic and Stanford legend Summer Sanders in 1992. In the very next race, Breeden won the championship in the 100 fly with a school-record time of 50.87.
A night after setting an American, U.S. Open and NCAA record in the 200 IM (1:53.11), Smit broke the NCAA mark with an electrifying swim in the 400 IM that fell just 1.06 seconds shy of the American standard. Smit, who is the defending NCAA champion in the 400 IM, now has won the event twice at the Pac-10 Championships (also as a freshman in 2007). A five-time Pac-10 champion during her career (200 IM in 2007 and '09; 400 IM in 2007 and '09 and the 200 back in 2007), the junior will swim the 100 freestyle and 400 free relay on Saturday.
Breeden, who is the two-time defending Pac-10 champion in the 200 fly, won her first career conference title in the 100 fly by outkicking fellow Olympian Dana Vollmer of Cal. Despite entering the final as the six seed, Breeden swam a great race and touched the wall in 50.87 to edge Vollmer (51.11). That time was an NCAA "A" standard and broke the previous Stanford record of 51.34 set by Misty Hyman in 1998.
Sophomore Kate Dwelley assured that she will compete in the 200 free at the NCAA Championships by clocking an "A" standard time of 1:43.80 to finish third in a tightly-contested race. Junior Whitney Spence placed 12th with a 1:47.57, after checking in with a "B" time of 1:47.08 in the preliminaries. Senior Madeline Rovira also scored for the Cardinal, finishing 23rd with a time of 1:49.18.
Stanford had three swimmers score after Smit in the 400 IM, led by the fourth-place finish of sophomore Liz Smith with an NCAA "B" time of 4:11.07. Freshman Jamie Bruce was 21st (4:20.39), while fellow freshman Jessica Rodriquez finished 24th (4:21.44).
Four Cardinal swimmers recorded "B" times and tallied points in the 100 fly. Freshman Sam Woodward finished 10th (52.45), junior Stefanie Sutton clocked a personal-best 52.91 to place 12th, junior Kelley Hug was 13th with a time of 53.09 (after setting a PR of 52.54 in the prelims) and junior Nilasha Ghosh touched the wall in a PR of 53.55 to finish 16th.
Freshman Betsy Webb led a Stanford contingent in the 100 back, finishing seventh in 53.47. Senior Laura Wadden placed 11th (53.96), Hug was 15th (55.11) and Sutton finished 21st (55.46).
Stanford's 400 medley relay fell just .05-second of an NCAA "A" time, as the foursome of Webb, Smith, Breeden and Smit finished third in 3:32.61.
On the diving side, junior Carmen Stellar and sophomore Meg Hostage finished 2-3 in the 3-meter competition. Stellar was a mere 1.80 points away from winning her first Pac-10 title, setting a personal championship meet record with a score of 325.90. Hostage was awarded a score of 321.35, while senior Sarah Ohr was 10th (250.35) and freshman Mary Beth Corbett was 13th (230.10).
Stanford remained in third place as a team after the third day of the 2009 Pac-10 Championships with a total of 873 points. California is in first (990.5 points), while Arizona sits in second (937.5).
The championships will wrap up with the fourth and final day on Saturday. Tomorrow's morning session (11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. PT) will feature preliminaries in the 1,650 freestyle, 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly and platform diving. Saturday's evening session - the final one of the Pac-10 Championships - will have the finals for those six events and the 400 freestyle relay.