Columbus, Ohio - With a dominating performance on the final day of the National Collegiate Championships, Stanford claimed its fourth consecutive national collegiate title. The Cardinal swept the first three events of the day on its way to a comfortable victory over rival Ohio State. The Buckeyes won the final team event, while Stanford finished second. Stanford finished with 94 total points, while Ohio State scored 87. Canisius College was third with 70 points.
Sara Lowe added three more event titles to her outstanding career. She has now swept all three events she has competed in for four consecutive years. Lowe was also named Athlete of the Meet following the completion of the competition. Courtenay Stewart also added two event wins to her outstanding career.
In the morning, Lowe teamed with Stewart and Melissa Knight to win the trio competition with a score of 96.500 points.
Stanford also got a big performance from its second trio of Erin Bell, Poppy Carlig and Taylor Durand who took third with a score of 94.167. The finish for this trio was a boost from the prelims and put Stanford in great position in the team race early on.
In duets, Lowe and Stewart won the title with the high score of 97.333.
It was the fourth consecutive win in the event for the Stanford seniors who have been so instrumental in the four consecutive titles for the Cardinal.
The second Stanford duet of Carlig and Knight might have had the most important swim of the day, finishing third with a score of 95.000. Their result bettered the Ohio State `A' squad, earning decisive points for Stanford.
"I was ecstatic with the way that the trios and duos swam," said head coach Heather Olson about the trio and duet swims. "Their places were unexpected, but they fed off the energy in the building, which was through the roof."
In the solo competition, Lowe finished off her collegiate career with an impressive win with a score of 96.833. The win completed a four-year career at the National Collegiate Championships, where she won all 12 events that she entered.
"In the solo, we worked hard on Sara's emotion because technically she is so strong, but today she really got the emotion," offered Olson.
The final event was the team competition where Ohio State performed well in front of a loud, boisterous crowd in its home pool. The Buckeyes won the event with a score 98.500, besting the Stanford team of Stewart, Knight, Bell, Carlig, Durand, Corinne Smith, Michelle Moore and Debbie Chen who finished second with a score of 96.833.
Olson was disappointed that Stanford could not capture the team event, but looked forward to next month's U.S. Nationals, where the Cardinal will get another shot at Ohio State. She also recognized the difficulty of swimming in the opponents' home pool as she called the cheering "deafening."
Stanford will next compete at the U.S. Nationals from April 30 to May 4 in Tucson, Ariz. This competition is open to collegiate teams as well as club squads and provides Stanford with its top competition of the year.