The #7-ranked Stanford Cardinal men (in our mid-season power rankings) made a clamor for a higher ranking at home Friday night, knocking off #5 Arizona 185-113.
On the women’s side, #5 Stanford (from our women’s power rankings) made the gap between them and the visiting #8 Wildcats look much larger, winning 158-137 while putting together multiple 1-2-3 finishes.
The men’s meet was a battle of strengths vs. weaknesses – three events were swept 1-2-3 by either team and four more events were 1-2 finishes. Stanford was able to capitalize on those big wins more often, though, leading to a big lead. The Cardinal was also helped by a rough day from Arizona star Giles Smith, allowing Stanford’s Connor Black to win the 100 fly easily and David Nolan to do the same in the 100 free.
The Cardinal women were aggressive in trying to contain all-world Arizona stars Margo Geer and Bonnie Brandon. They had solid success with Geer, holding her to just one win in three individual races, but Brandon torched them for 3 individual wins in tight battles. That wasn’t enough to overcome Maya DiRado‘s two dominating wins, Felicia Lee‘s pair of victories, or a big night from breaststroker Katie Olsen, who put up a season-best and a sub-minute medley relay split.
Arizona won the 400 medley relay to kick off the meet, no surprise considering the event is perhaps the Wildcats’ signature one this season. Even without Giles Smith manning the fly leg, the team of Mitchell Friedemann, Kevin Cordes, Andrew Porter and Brian Stevens went 3:14.37 led by a 52.9 breaststroke leg from American record-holder Cordes.
Danny Thomson led a 1-2-3 Stanford finish in the 1000 free, going 9:16.79. The closest Arizona swimmer was freshman Ty Fowler at 9:25.47.
Then Drew Cosgarea went 1:38.83 to lead a 1-2 charge in the 200 free before David Nolan topped Mitchell Friedemann 47.97 to 48.25 in the 100 back.
But Arizona had an easy win coming with Kevin Cordes in the 100 breast. He cruised to a 53.44 win leading a 1-2-3 finish for the Wildcats, who desperately needed a spark at this point.
Unfortunately, Stanford fired right back with Tom Kremer and Gray Umbach each going 1:47s to sweep the top two spots in the 200 fly ahead of Arizona’s Michael Meyer.
The Wildcats did nab a 1-2 punch in the 50 free to end the first session of swimming events with Brian Stevens getting under 20 by just .01. Giles Smith was second in 20.13.
Kristian Ipsen took his first of a pair of diving wins for Stanford, besting Arizona’s Rafael Quintero, himself a top-tier diver, 409.13 to 359.48.
After diving, David Nolan led a 1-2-3 crusade in the 100 free, going 44.34 to win by a good half-second. Both Mitchell Stoehr and Sean Duggan got in before Arizona’s Giles Smith, who went 45.44.
The Wildcats strung together a couple of wins in the next events, though, with Shep Sheppard going 1:47.70 to top Will Gunderson in the 200 back and Kevin Cordes easily pacing the 200 breast in 1:57.70.
But Danny Thomson was the front-runner of another top-3 sweep by Stanford in the 500 free, going 4:27.03 followed by Jimmy Yoder and Justin Buck, all three ahead of Zona’s Michael Meyer.
Stanford freshman Connor Black won the 100 fly in 48.18 followed by Gray Umbach in 48.54, yet another 1-2 for Stanford. Also notable in this race was that Giles Smith was exhibitioned for Arizona, going only 51.36. The splits seemed to show a huge dropoff for Smith in the second half – he split 23.04 going out, but came back in 28.32.
Kristian Ipsen won again for Stanford on 3-meter, scoring 429.15 before Max Williamson took the 400 IM in 3:51.58, about four seconds ahead of Sam Rowan of Arizona.
Finally, Stanford won the 200 free relay, getting a 19.7 split from David Nolan to go 1:20.95 to Arizona’s 1:21.52. Both B relays tied for third place, going 1:22.67.
Stanford opened things up with a gut punch, going 1-2 in the 400 medley relay. The team of Maddy Schaefer, Katie Olsen, Felicia Lee and Lia Neal was all but untouchable, going 3:36.97. That included a 59.4 breaststroke from Olsen, who had a great night, and a 47.5 anchor leg out of Neal.
The teams traded a pair of touchouts in the first two individual races. Bonnie Brandon won the 1000 free for Arizona, one of her three wins on the night, by beating out Andie Taylor by about eight-tenths. Brandon was 9:47.32. Then Lia Neal went 1:47.06 to get in ahead of Zona’s Margo Geer (1:47.20) in the 200 free.
But from then on, things became pretty one-sided for Stanford in the first section of the meet. Felicia Lee went 53.68 leading a 1-2-3 coalition of Cardinal swimmers in the 100 back, Katie Olsen was a season-best 1:00.41 in the 100 breast, another 1-2 Stanford finish, and Maya DiRado won the 200 fly with a 1:57.40.
The 50 free was another Stanford win with Maddy Schaefer going 22.24 to win over Arizona’s stud sprinter Margo Geer.
Stanford definitely seemed intent on challenging Arizona’s two biggest names, Geer and Bonnie Brandon, pushing the duo into close finishes in all 6 of their combined individual events. The loaded Stanford sprinting corps seemed to have more success against Geer than the rest of the team did at stopping Brandon – Geer lost two of her three races, but no one could touch Brandon in the longer races.
Arizona’s second win came from Michal Bower in 1-meter diving. She scored 298.20 to beat Stanford’s Stephanie Phipps by just 9.
Kicking off the second session of swimming was the 100 free, which was the event in which Margo Geer finally broke through the tough crowd of Cardinal freestylers. The senior went 49.26 to top both Maddy Schaefer and Lia Neal, who were each 49-mid.
The Wildcats made it three in a row with Bonnie Brandon’s 1:57.06 backstroke win. She emerged from a tough battle with a hard-charging Annemarie Thayer to win by .3. The sophomore then took one event off before returning to top Tjasa Oder in the 500 free 4:52.28 to 4:52.95.
But in between Brandon’s two wins, Arizona still had no answer for breaststroker Katie Olsen, who went 2:11.96 to win the 200 breast by over three seconds. (That’s just a tenth off what she went at Stanford’s mid-season rest meet in November). And when Felicia Lee won the 100 fly with a 53.36, the meet was pretty well sealed heading into the final block of swimming.
Feeling that momentum, Stephanie Phipps topped Michal Bower on 3-meter springboard, avenging her loss in 1-meter in the early goings. Stanford punctuated the night with a 1-2-3 finish in the 400 IM with Maya DiRado (4:12.75), Andie Taylor (4:18.60) and Tara Halsted (4:21.92).
Arizona was able to salvage a win in the 200 free relay, though, by putting stars Brandon and Geer together. Geer was 22.4 leading off (.4 faster than she was in the open 50) and Brandon showed some speed, splitting 22.8 to give Zona an insurmountable lead. Anchor Taylor Schick added her own 22.8 to hold off charging Cardinal anchor Maddy Schaefer for the win in 1:31.33. Stanford was 1:31.60 for second place thanks to Schaefer’s 22.2 split and Felicia Lee‘s 22.7 lead0ff.