Fast freshmen were on display for both sides as Stanford picked up an early-season dual meet victory over Pac-12 rivals Utah. First-year athletes accounted for 11 of the meet’s 14 individual event wins in a 174-124 Stanford win.
Full results here.
Stanford split its medley relays to open up the meet, and the split was as even as it could possibly be. The two squads tied for the win at 1:43.20 with Utah’s A team third in 1:45.04.
Stanford’s A squad featured freshman backstroker Ally Howe, who jumped out to an early lead at 26.38. Senior Katie Olsen cut down on that lead, though, swimming breaststroke for the other relay and going 28.86. Janet Hu took the baton from there, splitting a field-best 24.21 on butterfly, but the other crew roared back on freshman Simone Manuel‘s 22.39 anchor leg. Sophomore Lia Neal anchored her team in 23.10 as the two relays got their hands on the wall at the exact same time.
Notably, Stanford’s third relay, which wound up as an exhibition team, got the field’s fastest backstroke split with a 25.86 from freestyler Maddy Schaefer.
Stanford had our number-1-ranked freshman class, but it was Utah who picked up the first individual freshman win of the year when Kat Wickham went 10:39.69 to win the 1000 free. Stanford senior Mackenzie Stein was second, ten seconds back at 10:49.85.
Schaefer came off that medley relay to win the 200 free, a bit longer distance than she’s typically known for. The senior’s 1:51.44 was enough to beat freshman Ally Howe for the win. Howe, a Palo Alto club swimmer in her first year with the Cardinal’s college program, went 1:52.29 with another freshman, Alexandra Meyers, third in 1:55.41.
Another of Stanford’s highly-touted freshman won the next race, the 100 back. It was Janet Hu who picked up the win in 54.75, blowing out fellow freshman Lindsey Engel.
But count the 100 breast as another strike back for Utah (and for upperclassmen). Stina Colleou picked up a touchout win in 1:04.37, just a tick ahead of Stanford junior Sarah Haase. Katie Olsen, who had a breakout season for Stanford in the breaststrokes last year, did not enter this event.
The 100 fly went to Isabella Kearns, giving Utah back-to-back wins. Kearns, yet another freshman, went 2:06.20 and her teammate Petra Soininen was second at 2:06.49.
In the last race before diving, stud sprinter Simone Manuel picked up her first collegiate win, going 23.19 to pace the 50 free over junior teammate Julia Ama (23.87).
Next came 1-meter diving which was won by – you guessed it – another freshman. Stanford first-year Gracia Leydon-Mahoney scored 302.03 points to pick up the varsity win, beginning what would become a diving sweep for her.
Janet Hu returned after the break for her second win, going 51.95 in the 100 free. That topped Utah freshman Dorien Butter‘s 52.28. Then it was Ally Howe getting her first win with a 1:59.85 in her native 200 backstroke.
Stanford’s Katie Olsen jumped into the 200 breast, picking up the win there after not competing in the 100. She was 2:17.96 to beat out 100 breast champ Stina Colleou of Utah.
Utah freshman Madelynn Meisel picked up a tight win over Stanford sophomore Tara Halsted in the 500 free, 5:06.62 to 5:06.73, with fellow Ute freshman and 1000 free champ Kat Wickham third.
Simone Manuel showed off her butterfly prowess in the next race, going 56.95 to win the 100 fly. That could wind up being a third event for her, though she’s probably more likely to stick with the 200 free to pair with her 50 and 100 of that stroke.
Gracia Leydon-Mahoney came back to complete her diving double, scoring 311.33 points to win on 3-meter. In both events, Leydon-Mahoney was the only diver over 300 points.
Janet Hu got her third win (the most of any swimmer in the meet) in the final event, going 2:05.84 to blow away the 200 IM field. Utah’s Brianna Francis was the closest to her, going 2:08.48.
Finally, Stanford once again split its free relays and once again got a very close result. The top crew was Katie Olsen, Sarah Haase, Lia Neal and Maddy Schaefer – a group half composed of breaststrokers, who went 1:35.22 in the 200-yard relay. Schaefer was a fast 22.63 on the anchor leg.
The second team, meanwhile, went 1:35.40, just over a tenth back. That crew was Lindsey Engel, Julia Ama, Simone Manuel and Haley Sims. Their top split was Manuel’s 23.24 – she showed some fatigue there, adding nearly a second from her split on the meet’s first relay.
Utah was third at 1:37.45, getting a 23.68 split from senior anchor Giulianna Gigliotti.
This meet turned out to be a major showcase of freshmen on both sides. That was probably expected from Stanford, which has been making non-stop waves in recruiting lately, but it’s also impressive for a Utah program that continues to grow under coach Joe Dykstra.
11 events went to freshmen, including three to Hu, two to the diver Leydon-Mahoney, two to Manuel, and one apiece to Stanford’s Ally Howe and Utah’s Kat Wickham, Isabella Kearns and Madelynn Meisel.