Feb. 20, 2012
The two-time defending conference champion Stanford will head to Federal Way, Wash., for the four-day Pac-12 Championships starting on Wednesday. Both men’s and women’s divers will also be in action. Stanford has won 18 conference championships since 1987.
Stanford comes into the championship with the nation’s fastest 200 free relay squad (1:28.20) and with two swimmers ranked in the top-three. Sam Woodward has the nation’s second-fastest 100 fly (52.06) and fifth-fastest 50 free (22.13) in her final championship go around, while sophomore Maya DiRado has the nation’s fastest 200 back (1:52.57), second-best 200 IM (1:54.66) and third-fastest 400 IM (4:02.06). The Cardinal also have the second-fastest 400 free relay (3:13.76) and third-fastest 800 free relay (7:02.76).
According to rankings on January 26, Cal was No. 1 (prior to losing to Stanford in the final dual meet two weeks ago). USC was No. 7, followed by Stanford at No. 8 and Arizona at No. 9. Arizona State ranked No. 21. Cal is the defending NCAA champion.
Defending Pac-10 Champions
Sam Woodward, Betsy Webb and Maya DiRado are all defending conference champions. DiRado won last year’s 200 back as a freshman. Woodward was a part of the Pac-10 champion 400 free relay team in 2010 with Webb and each were part of the champion 200 free relay teams the last two years. Webb also won the 50 free in 2010 and was a part of the 400 medley relay winning squad in 2010. In addition, Woodward and Webb won the NCAA title in the 400 free relay in 2010 as sophomore.
In the Record Books
In the annals of the Stanford record books the Cardinal have a number of current swimmers. Betsy Webb has the school’s fastest 100 back at 52.39, joining Felica Lee (No. 6) and Maya DiRado (No. 10) in the top-10. DiRado is second in both the 200 back (1:52.04) and 400 IM (4:10.02). DiRado is also third in the 200 IM (1:54.66). Sam Woodward is a part of record-setting 200, 400 and 800 free relay teams and individually is No. 5 in the 50 free and 100 fly and No. 6 in the 100 free. Lee is No. 6 in both the 100 and 200 back and No. 9 in the 100 fly. Andie Taylor ranks in the top-10 in four categories, ranking No. 4 in the 500 free (4:40.64), No. 8 in the 1650 free, No. 7 in the 200 fly and No. 10 in the 200 free. Maddy Schaefer as just a freshman ranks No. 8 in both the 50 and 100 free after the regular season.
The Stanford will feature All-American Stephanie Phipps as the top performer on the women’s side having won 13, 1- or 3-meter events during the regular season. Phipps posted a career-best in the 3-meter at 340-80 in her last event against Cal. In the 1-meter she had a career-best 313.90 at the Stanford Invite. Freshman Sloane Brazina has the second-best score in the 1-meter, scoring a 268.28 against the Bears. Brazina had a best of 250.28 at USC.
On the men’s side, the Cardinal will be without its top diver, freshman Kristian Ipsen, who is competing at the World Cup in London. He will be available for Zones and NCAAs. Without Ipsen the Cardinal have three veterans of the Zones-- senior captain Taylor Sishc, and sophomores Dhruv Tyagi and Noah Garcia. Freshman Connor Kuremsky stepped up in Ipsen’s absence against Cal and won both the 1- and 3-meter. Kuremsky scored a career-best of 345.45 in the 1-meter against the Bears. Sishc, Garcia and Tyagi are all within 10 points of their career-highs in the 3-meter. Sishc set a career-best of 355.28 against ASU.
Handicapping the Field
Relays-- Stanford’s Woodward, Webb, Schaefer and Andi Murez have the nation’s fastest 200 free relay time, joining No. 2 Arizona and No. 3 Cal in the top-five. Stanford is the two-time defending champion. In the 400 free relay, the Cardinal quartet trails Arizona by a second, as the two rank 2-3 in the nation. In the 800 free relay, Lee, DiRado, Taylor and Murez are .58 seconds behind No. 2-ranked Cal and over a second ahead of USC, swimming at 7:02.76. The medley relays have Cal and Arizona with the top times with Stanford ranking No. 6 in the 200 medley behind Cal (No. 1), Arizona (No. 2) and USC (No. 5) and No. 11 in the 400 medley behind national leader Arizona.
Freestyle Sprints-- Woodward (No. 5), Schaefer (No. 9) and Webb (No. 10) all rank in the top-10 in the 50 free with Cal, Arizona and USC’s top sprinters also in the picture. Those six make up two-thirds of the top Pac-12 times in the top-25... in the 100 free, Arizona’s Margo Geer as the nation’s No. 2 fastest time (47.32) with Schaefer and Webb at No. 7 and No. 8. Woodward ranks No. 14 nationally and sixth in the Pac-12.
Longer Freestyles-- Murez ranks No. 20 nationally in a field that has nine top-25 times from the Pac-12 in the 200 free... Taylor (4:40.64) is one of six Pac-12 swimmers in the top-25 in the 500 free, ranking behind Cal’s Shelley Harper and USC’s Haley Anderson by two seconds... Taylor is one of three Pac-12 swimmers in the 1650 free, ranking No. 15 nationally (16:18.95).
Backstroke -- Arizona’s Lauren Smart has the nation’s fastest 100 back in a field that has 11 top-25 times. Lee and Webb rank No. 20 and No. 21... Maya DiRado has the nation’s fastest 200 back (1:52.57) with nearly a two second advantage for the defending Pac-10 champion.
Breast Stroke -- Stanford does not have a swimmer in the top-25 of either event with freshman Katie Olsen and senior Kerry Kraemer the top threats.
Butterfly -- Woodward has the nation’s second-fastest 100 fly and Lee ranks No. 9 as two fo the top-three in the event featuring nine top-25 times... USC’s Katinka Hosszu and Cal’s Caitlin Leverenz have the nation’s top-two times in a field of 11 top-25 times.
Individual Medley -- Long known as an IM school with former Olympians Julia Smit and Summer Sanders on the roster, DiRado ranks No. 2 behind USC’s Katinka Hosszu by two seconds in the 200 IM with Lee ranking No. 12 nationally and sixth in the Pac-12... the 400 IM has DiRado trailing Hosszu and Leverenz in a field national top-three field separated by four seconds. Taylor ranks No. 13 nationally.
START TIME EVENT
Wed., Feb. 22
6 p.m. 200 Medley Relay
800 Freestyle Relay
Thurs., Feb. 23
11 a.m. Preliminaries/Time Standard Trials
Men’s 3 Meter Prelim
Women’s 1 Meter Prelim (3 p.m.)
Women’s 1 Meter Final
200 Individual Medley
Men’s 3 Meter Final
200 Freestyle Relay
Fri., Feb. 24 11 a.m.
Preliminaries/Time Standard Trials
Women’s 3 Meter Prelim
Men’s 1 Meter Prelim (3:30 p.m.)
Men’s 1 Meter Final
400 Individual Medley
Women’s 3 Meter Final
400 Medley Relay
Sat., Feb. 25 10 a.m. Women’s Platform Prelim
11 a.m. Preliminaries/Time Standard Trials
Men’s Platform Prelim
Men’s Platform Final
Women’s Platform Final
400 Freestyle Relay