Men’s swim & dive earns eighth place finish at NCAAs

April 11, 2023, 12:27 p.m.

Following four days of competition at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center in Minneapolis, Minn., the Cardinal (4-2, 3-2 Pac-12) drew the 2022-23 season to a close with an eighth-place finish at the 2023 NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships.

It was a tight turnaround for head coach Dan Schemmel’s swimmers, who headed to these national championships from March 22-25 just a few weeks after securing third place at the Pac-12 conference championships. But the squad battled through that end-of-season fatigue to notch season and all-time bests, a combined 28 All-America honors and its second-best national ranking in Schemmel’s time at the helm. 

Opening night saw Stanford grab two top-10 relay finishes, with a 1:22.69 for 10th in the 200-yard medley relay and a 6:11.49 for seventh in the 800-yard freestyle relay. The former, courtesy of senior Leon MacAlister, sophomore Ron Polonsky, junior Andrei Minakov and freshman Rafael Gu, was a season best by over a second.

The following day, Polonsky was again a key points scorer for the Cardinal, securing fifth place in the 200-yard individual medley at a 1:40.62 that was just two-tenths shy of his season best.

Sophomore Jack Ryan, meanwhile, continued a stellar season off the diving boards to earn a bronze medal in the 1-meter event, scoring 429.45.

Minakov and Gu were then back in the line-up for day two’s relay, the 200-yard freestyle relay, joined by juniors Luke Maurer and Jonny Affeld. That team’s effort of 1:16.44 was good for 14th place overall.

The closest Stanford came to an individual medal in the pool was on day three, when Minakov’s time of 44.27 narrowly missed the 100-yard butterfly podium. His 44.17 in the morning’s heats aside, though, that’s the fastest the junior has been this season. 

Also scoring in that event was sophomore Aaron Sequeira, who finished 16th overall after putting up a season and lifetime best 44.87 in prelims.

Cards raked in points in each of the next two events as well, through Maurer (1:32.54, 12th place) in the 200-yard freestyle and Polonsky (51.41, 11th place) in the 100-yard breaststroke. 

Maurer and Polonsky were each slightly quicker in their qualifying heats, with season bests of 1:32.40 and 51.14 respectively. That 51.14 from Polonsky stands as both a new lifetime best for the sophomore, and a new Stanford record, while Maurer’s 1:32.40 was also a lifetime best.

Both swimmers were back behind the blocks for the 400-yard medley relay, linking up with Minakov and MacAlister to produce a 3:03.61 for 11th place.

Sequeira continued a strong showing in Minneapolis with another lifetime best on day four, clocking in at 1:39.91 in the morning to qualify for the 200-yard backstroke final, where he finished 14th.

Junior diver Ethan Foster was another individual points scorer on the final day of competition, taking 10th place off the platform with a score of 358.80.

Relay regulars Maurer, Minakov and Polonsky then added freshman Andres Dupont to complete the Cardinal’s 400-yard freestyle relay team, touching in a season best mark of 2:47.61 to end the meet — and season — on a high.

Full results of the 2023 NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships can be found here.

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'

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