May 3, 2008
Tucson, Ariz.- Stanford finished off an outstanding weekend in the pool on Saturday by capturing a share of the United States National Synchronized Swimming Championship. The Cardinal swept the top spot in all three events on their way to sharing the title with the Santa Clara Aquamaids Club Team.
Head coach Heather Olson was ecstatic with the result saying, "I am so proud of our team and how they did here. It is very difficult to pick back up after NCAAs with no recovery time and perform they way they did here this week. We had the best swims of the season and that was our team goal for the meet. This team performed better than I could have anticipated."
The Cardinal became the first collegiate team to ever win the U.S. National title. The Santa Clara team had won the last 16 titles and was the favorite again this season. Because the Club team enters many more routines in the meet, Stanford did not expect to be able to compete.
Olson reiterated the point saying, "The most exciting and truly unexpected part of the day was that we tied with Santa Clara Aquamaids for the Overall National Title."
The Cardinal were once again led by Sara Lowe, competing in her final competition for Stanford. Lowe captured the U.S. solo title with a score of 95.667.
The performance by Lowe was particularly impressive because she was battling an injury.
Olson commented, "Sara Lowe fell running exactly 2 weeks ago and severely sprained her ankle. We thought it was broken at first and when I saw her black foot, I really did not think she could swim here at this event. She practiced very little before the meet, so it is remarkable what she was still able to accomplish with her teammates, duet and solo."
Lowe and Courtenay Stewart captured the U.S. duet title with a score of 96.000. They just managed to hold off the sister team from Santa Clara of Bianca and Sonja Van der Velden who will compete for the Netherlands in the upcoming Olympics in Beijing.
Also competing in the duets were Poppy Carlig and Melissa Knight who finished fifth with a score of 92.583 and Debbie Chen and Taylor Durand who finished eighth with a score of 90.833.
In the team competition the Cardinal held off strong challenges from Ohio State and the Santa Clara Aquamaids. Stanford's combined score of 96.083 was just two tenths better than the Buckeyes and less than a point ahead of Santa Clara. The team of Lowe, Stewart, Carlig, Knight, Chen, Durand, Erin Bell, Corinne Smith and Michelle Moore completed the sweep for the Cardinal.
The completion of the U.S. Nationals finishes a wildly successful season for Stanford. In March the Cardinal captured their fourth consecutive Collegiate National title and now have added the first ever U.S. National title by a collegiate team.