Oct. 5, 2006
The Stanford pool deck will be full of new faces in 2006-07 as the Cardinal brings in 12 freshmen to add strength and depth to an already outstanding returning lineup. The 2006-07 team, which returns nine All-Americans that have combined for a total of 25 All-American honors and 18 letterwinners, is looking to build off of a strong fifth-place showing at the 2006 NCAA Championships that marked the 32nd straight season the Cardinal has finished among the nation's top eight teams, spanning the entire history of the school's program. Stanford has also finished in the top six at every NCAA Championships, which has been in existence for 25 years.
Among the team's top returnees are 2004 Olympian Caroline Bruce, as well as two U.S. National champions in Lauren Costella (1500 free) and Brooke Bishop (50 free).
Bishop is also Stanford's active career-leader with seven NCAA All-American honors earned in her first two years on The Farm, receiving four in her sophomore campaign with one for a third-place finish in the 50 free that is the best NCAA showing of her collegiate career with the other a fifth-place effort in the 100 back.
Bruce is returning to competition after a year hiatus and will look to build off her exceptional freshman season success when she swept two individual NCAA titles in the 100 and 200 breast, finished third in the 200 IM and totaled five All-American honors, while also being named the top freshman performer of the NCAA meet.
Costella was sixth at the NCAA's in the 1650 free as a sophomore in 2004 and hopes to regain that form in her final collegiate campaign.
The Cardinal will also have one of the nation's top divers in five-time All-American Cassidy Krug, who finished seventh in 1-meter diving and ninth in the 3-meter event at the 2006 NCAA Championships. Krug had an even better summer of 2006 when she finished fourth at the U.S. Nationals as well as seventh at the World Championships Trials to qualify for the 2007 U.S. World Championships squad.
Stanford's other returning All-Americans include Andrea Axtell, Elizabeth Durot, Morgan Hentzen, Madeline Rovira and Desiree Stahley.
Stanford will also add two more U.S. national champions in freshmen Elaine Breeden and Julia Smit. Breeden swept the 100 and 200 fly at the 2006 Summer Nationals, while Smit was the winner of the 200 back at the 2006 Spring Nationals. The Cardinal has eight other U.S. national qualifiers in the freshman class alone.
"The team is full of talent, energy, desire and competitive spirit," says Stanford head coach Lea Maurer. "Every day and every meet we plan on improving upon the base that we have built and continuing moving towards our goal of climbing to the top of the NCAA Championship board."
Maurer, who returns as the team's head coach for a second season, is a former Stanford standout swam on three consecutive NCAA championship teams (1992, `93, `94) and won 10 NCAA titles (four individual, six relays), 15 Pac-10 crowns (seven individual, eight relays) and 21 All-American honors (19 at Stanford).
"Swimmers and divers come to Stanford to see their national, Olympic and academic dreams come true," explains Maurer. "We make sure to push them to achieve their dreams."
With the next Olympic Games less than two years away in August of 2008, the Cardinal will also have five representatives on U.S. National teams during 2007 in Bishop, Breeden and Smit, along with former Stanford swimmers and 2004 Olympians Kristen Caverly and Tara Kirk. Maurer was also named to the 2007 Pan American Games coaching staff.
The 2006-07 squad will once again face a competitive and busy preseason, starting off with a double dual meet against San Jose State and Oregon State (October 6), followed by the Alumnae Meet (October 14). The Cardinal will then hit the road to face perennial powerhouse Texas (October 27-28) and follow that meet by traveling to Tennessee for a double dual meet against the Lady Vols and defending NCAA champion Auburn (November 10-11). The Cardinal will finish the preseason at the swimming only Texas Invitational (November 30- December 2).
The divers will also enjoy a busy preseason by diving alongside the swim team for all but the Texas Invitational and adding a home non-conference meet against California (November 8) as well as a three-day trip to the Indiana Open Invitational (November 17-19) to wrap up the fall portion of their schedule.
The Pac-10 season begins with a trip to the state of Arizona where the Cardinal will face defending conference champion Arizona (January 12) and Arizona State (January 13). Stanford will then return home to welcome UCLA (January 19) and USC (January 20) in its only two Pac-10 home meets of the season. The divers will travel to BYU on February 2 before both elements of the club wrap up the regular season portion of the schedule and make their final postseason preparation with a meet at California.
The postseason begins with three days of Pac-10 Championships diving action from February 8-10 in Federal Way, Washington. The swimmers will follow with the four-day Pac-10 Championships event February 14-17 in Long Beach, California. Stanford was third at the conference meet a year ago after having won the event in both 2004 and 2005. The swimmers will have a final chance to qualify for the NCAA Championships at the Pac-10 Invite on February 18, while the divers will attempt to make it to the NCAA Championships during the three-day NCAA Zone E Championships held March 1-3 in Oklahoma City, OK. The 2007 NCAA Championships will be held March 8-10 at Minneapolis, Minnesota.
"Last year was an amazing year," concludes Maurer. "It was great to have the Stanford women's team finish fifth at the NCAA Championships and to have some breakthrough swims along the way. My goal is to move the expectations and the performances beyond this team's wildest dreams. I don't believe that we have reached our full potential, and I believe we are building a team where the ceiling that is put upon what is possible is removed."