By Sally Egan
This weekend, the No. 10 men’s swimming and diving (0-0, 0-0 Pac-12) team will compete in their first meet of the season at the University of the Pacific Invite in Stockton, CA. While there is a lot to like about this Cardinal team, the biggest topic of discussion is how the team will deal with the retirement of former head coach Ted Knapp and the graduation of key members like Abrahm DeVine and Brad Zdroik. This meet provides a first glance as to which swimmers will step up this season and how the team performs under new head coach Dan Schemmel.
Schemmel is coming in after three successful seasons as the head coach of the men’s and women’s at the University of Hawaii. Under his guidance, the women’s team won the MPSF championship every year while the men’s team won its first conference championship since 2006. The two teams combined to produce 57 individual conference champions, 42 school records, 20 conference records and six All-Americans in this timeframe. Despite these accomplishments, Schemmel has even bigger shoes to fill in replacing Knapp. As the team’s head coach for the last six years, Knapp was a part of the program for 35 seasons. He had a hand in seven team NCAA championships, 70 individual NCAA championships, 33 Pac-12 championships, and ten school records.
In terms of the swimmers, the biggest loss for Stanford is DeVine. In addition to leading the team in the 50-yard and 1,000-yard freestyle, DeVine won the national championship two years in a row in the 400-yard IM, including setting a program record in the event in 2018. He graduated with 15 All-America honors. The Cardinal also lost Pac-12 Scholar Athlete of the Year Matt Anderson (breaststroke), team-leading backstrokers Ryan Dudzinski and Patrick Conaton, and freestyler Cole Cogswell. Contaton, Zdroik and Cogswell were part of the 15th-place 200-yard freestyle relay, along with sophomore Mason Gonzalez, at the NCAA championships.
Gonzalez is one of the main reasons Stanford should still have a successful season. Beyond his sprint-freestyle skills, sophomore Jack LeVant, senior Grant Shoults, senior True Sweester, and sophomore Daniel Roy were all named to Team USA, and the five of them form a solid returning core. Junior Alex Liang also should be a key contributor as he, Gonzalez, DeVine and sophomore diver Noah Vigran each earned multiple All-America honors last season.
This meet doesn’t count towards the Cardinal’s overall record, but it should be a good indicator of how the team will perform later on in the season. The first race is on Friday, Oct. 18th, and concludes the next day.
Contact Sally Egan at egansj18 ‘at’ stanford.edu.