Duel in the desert part one: Women’s Swim & Dive see off Sun Devils

Jan. 21, 2023, 8:05 p.m.

Down south in the sun-scorched desert, the women of Stanford’s Swimming & Diving squad defended their unblemished 2022-23 record once more, trumping Arizona State University 175-122 on Friday.

Against the first of two challengers during their weekend on the road in Arizona, the Cardinal (4-0, 3-0 Pac-12) passed the test — winning 10 of 14 races on the swimming side, as well as both the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events.

Bookending the day’s proceedings, freshman Claire Curzan and seniors Emma Wheal and Taylor Ruck powered Stanford to first place in the 200-yard medley relay (1:38.84) and 200-yard freestyle relay (1:29.54). In the medley relay that trio was joined by graduate student Allie Raab, while sophomore Torri Huske was the preferred fourth freestyler in the latter relay. The Cardinal also claimed third place in both relays.

Before that relay, Huske had already raked in a major points haul in Tempe with three individual event wins, throwing down a 1:46.07 to win the 200-yard freestyle, 22.17 in the 50-yard freestyle, and 51.54 in her signature event, the 100-yard butterfly. Sophomore Amy Tan (23.08) and Wheal (23.18) joined Huske in a podium sweep of the sprint freestyle, while freshman Kayla Wilson (1:46.70) was runner-up in the 200. Wheal again accompanied Huske onto the podium with a time of 53.73 that was good for third place in the 100-yard butterfly.

That 50 free was actually the day’s second sweep for the Cardinal — Ruck (53.28), freshman Natalie Mannion (54.04) and senior Alex Crisera (54.22) claiming the top three spots in the 100-yard backstroke three events prior.

Sophomore Aurora Roghair clocked in at 9:47.59 in the 1000-yard freestyle, over seven seconds clear of the competition, while freshman Sophie Duncan (9:59.74) finished third. Completing a tough distance double with ease, Roghair also won the 500-yard freestyle in 4:47.22 — this time by a much narrower margin, of 0.03 seconds. Only four one-hundredths of a second, meanwhile, separated Wilson (4:51.69) and graduate student Morgan Tankersley (4:51.73) in third and fourth place.

In the diving pool, sophomore Lauren Burch matched Roghair and Curzan as a two-time champion — 275.93 at 1-meter and 310.20 at 3-meter ranking her above the Sun Devils’ best. Freshman Emilie Moore claimed second and third in the two diving events, respectively. That followed up a strong showing for Stanford’s divers at the UCLA Bruin Diving Invite the previous weekend.

Competing for the first time since a stellar World Championships performance in December, Curzan grabbed the 200-yard backstroke title in 1:53.45 as Crisera (1:57.35) took third place. With a time of 1:54.05, Curzan also raced onto the podium in the 200-yard butterfly — one of four Stanford freshmen in the event, with Lucy Bell, Charlotte Hook and Gigi Johnson finishing fourth, fifth and seventh. 

Breaststroke specialist Allie Raab (1:02.98) in fourth was the Cardinal’s highest placing in the 100-yard breaststroke, before sophomore Sam Tadder’s 2:15.74 saw her take third in the 200-yard breaststroke. 

Positions three through six of the 100-yard freestyle went to Stanford, earned by Tang (49.64), Ruck (49.70), sophomore Lillie Nordmann (50.27) and junior Janelle Rudolph (50.34, exhibition), while the final individual event of the day saw freshman trio Bell (2:01.98), Johnson (2:03.55) and Hook (2:03.57) join Rudolph (2:03.89, exhibition) in fourth through seventh. 

Speaking to Stanford Athletics, Stanford’s Paul A. Violich Director of Women’s Swimming, Greg Meehan, was pleased with the team’s performance.

“It was important in this format to come out and be really competitive from the very first event to set the tone for the day,” Meehan said, adding “we did that and it will serve us well for our heavy racing schedule in the next eight days.”

Alex Dakers is a staff writer in the sports section and a first-year masters student studying Journalism. He is from the Cayman Islands (and more recently, an undergrad in the UK). You can catch Alex in the gym, at the pool or trying to find somewhere to watch the Premier League games — if he can wake up early enough to watch them! Contact him at sports 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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