Women Swimmers Maintain Lead at NCAA Championships
Title to go down to final day.
March 20, 1998
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The second night of competition at the 1998 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships, hosted by the University of Minnesota, proved to be as exhilarating as the first with four NCAA and two American records falling. Stanford claimed two of the NCAA's and one American record en route to a 292-259 lead over Georgia by the final race of the night. The Cardinal, led by Catherine Fox and Misty Hyman, who each established new NCAA records, added three more NCAA titles to run its total to five.
To start day two of the championships- in what would be the first of four head-to-head championship final meetings (relay and individual) between the Cardinal and Bulldogs on the day- the Stanford 200 medley relay team of Fox, Elin Austevoll, Hyman and Siobhan Cropper captured the race with an NCAA-record time of 1:37.80. Fox, a sophomore from Shawnee Mission, KS (Bishop Miege HS), opened with the only sub-25 second (24.59) first leg to give the Cardinal the early advantage. By the end of the second leg, Stanford had slipped to third before Hyman turned in the fastest 50 fly split (22.97) in NCAA history to put Stanford back in front. Cropper held off a late charge by Auburn's Katie Taylor to give Stanford its third NCAA title of the meet.
The former NCAA record of 1:38.56 was established by Auburn just last month at the SEC Championships. The Cardinal squad also surpassed the NCAA meet record of 1:38.68, established by Stanford in 1992. Georgia finished a close third in a time of 1:39.10. With the win, Stanford increased its lead over Georgia from 11 to 19 (169-150)
in the next race, the 400 individual medley, Stanford's Lauren Thies (Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) won the consolation final with a personal best 4:14.65, nearly a three second improvement over her preliminary time of 4:17.60. Despiote Thies' tremendous performance, a second and eighth place finish by Georgia in the 400 IM final moved the Bulldogs into a tie with Stanford for the top spot at 178.
Stanford would post a very strong showing in the following race (100 Fly) to retake the lead. Sophomore Jessica Amey (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) and Cropper finished 1-2, respectively, in the consolation final, just minutes before Hyman, a freshman from Phoenix, AZ (Shadow Mtn. HS) would again make history- this time in the 100 fly final. With a 51.34 clip, Hyman broke the NCAA record of 51.75 set by Arizona's Ahmann-Leighton in 1992. The title was Hyman's third of the meet. Hyman, Amey and Cropper combined to put Stanford back in front by 36 points (214-178)
Two races later, with Georgia back within 20 points, Fox timed an American, U.S. Open and NCAA record 52:71 in the 100 backstroke to capture her fourth NCAA title of the meet. She broke former Stanford standout Lea Loveless' 52.79 1992 record-setting finish.
Freshman Kim Powers (Crestview Hills, KY/Dixie Heights HS) gave Stanford a boost on the three-meter springboard, scoring a 510.50 to finish sixth. Her score easily surpassed her previous best of 492.30.
In the final race of the day- the 800 freestyle relay, Stanford and Georgia went head-to-head again. The Stanford team of Gabrielle Rose, Hyman, Thies and Austevoll finished third with a school season-best 7:11.03 and four places ahead of the Bulldogs, giving Stanford a 292-259 lead heading into the third and final day.
"I don't know that I've ever been prouder of a team's effort all night long than by our 800 freestyle relay tonight." said head coach Richard Quick. "It was a great, great effort by those girls."
Click here for complete Stanford NCAA swimming results.