In his official debut first-year head coach Greg Meehan made sure that the Stanford women’s swimming team emphatically set the tone for a new era.
Powered by victories in the first five events of the meet, the Cardinal (1-0) raced past San Jose State (0-1) 162.5-135.5 in the team’s season opener on Friday.
Stanford got off to a torrid start when its 200-yard medley relay team secured a win in the opening event. The Spartans were hanging tough through the first three legs of the relay, but sophomore sprinter Maddy Schaefer anchored with a blistering 22.66 freestyle split to pull away from field.
After freshman Allison Brown claimed her first career dual-meet victory in the 1000-yard freestyle, Stanford struck another major blow to the Spartans when junior Maya DiRado led a one-two-three sweep in the 200-yard freestyle. DiRado never relinquished the lead that she got after the first lap, holding off her teammates Andi Murez and Andie Taylor by less than half a second.
It seemed as if Stanford would run away with a lopsided victory when Megan Fischer-Colbrie and Katie Olsen respectively notched wins in the 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard breaststroke.
But the Spartans stood tall.
During the middle portion of the meet, San Jose State’s Julia Craddok took the 200-yard butterfly with ease, edging out Stanford junior Kristie Chen by almost two seconds. The Spartans then gave the Cardinal a scare when they completed a one-two-three sweep of in the 100-yard freestyle.
Stanford found a way to halt San Jose State’s momentum when Annemaire Thayer and Jessie Hames locked up a one-two finish in the 200-yard backstroke. From then on, the Cardinal continued to build on its comfortable lead and would eventually turn the last two events of the meet into an exhibition.
On the diving board, the Spartans, carried by the one-two punch of Jessica Holden and Amy Kilby, outscored the Cardinal 13-6 in the 1-meter springboard event. However, the Stanford divers convincingly bounced back later in the 3-meter event as freshman Lillian Hinrichs beat out the rest of the competition by almost 15 points. Two-time All-American and NCAA-qualifier Stephanie Phipps surprisingly finished fourth in the 3-meter and did not compete in the 1-meter.
“It was great to see our team race, and now we’re better able to identify some areas in which we need to get better,” Meehan told GoStanford.com. “There are a number of things you can miss when you’re in the training environment, and we learned in today’s competitive environment that we need to make better decisions in our races.”
One event that the Cardinal may be concerned with is the 200-yard butterfly, in which the Spartans managed a one-three finish and outscored the Cardinal 14-5. The same holds true in the 200-yard breaststroke, where Stanford will need to show more depth if it hopes to contend with the likes of Cal and USC.
The Cardinal will host the alumni meet this Saturday before taking on Wisconsin at the Avery Aquatic Center on Nov. 2.