The Stanford women showed up in College Station ready to swim. The Cardinal posted two nation-leading relay times and accounted for 6 NCAA “A” cuts, most notably Maya Dirado’s 1:53.5 200 IM, 51.7 100 backstroke leading off the medley relay and Maddy Schaefer’s 21.7 50 freestyle.
Texas A&M added A cuts in both relays as well.
No A cuts went down in the men’s meet, but Texas A&M leads the team race at home with two days left to swim.
The Stanford women kicked things off in dominating fashion, putting up a humongous time of 1:27.88 to win the 200 free relay – that’s three 21s and a 22-low for those of you doing the math. The time is an NCAA “A” cut by almost two seconds, and is only .7 off of the NCAA championship time posted by Tennessee last spring. It’s also just faster than Stanford went at NCAAs last year. The relay included Maddy Schaefer, Felicia Lee, Alex Whitford and Lia Neal. Schaefer, Lee and Neal were all 21 on the relay, including an impressive 21.7 from Schaefer on the leadoff leg.
Overshadowed by Stanford’s huge night was a big swim from the Texas A&M women, who were only two tenths out of first place. The team went 1:28.02, and included Erica Dittmer, Sammie Bosma, Breeja Larson, and Liliana Ibanez. Ibanez came home with the fastest split in the pool, going 21.55. As evidence of how far the Aggies’ sprint group has come, that is a new School Record in the 200 free relay for them, breaking a 1:28.14 set back in 2009, anchored by the great Triin Aljand.
Southern Methodist University was 1:30.16, a solid 3 second drop in an event that SMU took 10th in at last year’s NCAAs.
Cammile Adams won the 500 free, going 4:38.52. The time isn’t quite what she went at this time last year (4:35.6) but is faster than she went at a disappointing NCAAs in the spring (4:42.2). It’s hard to gauge how much A&M has changed its rest from a year ago, but it’s probably fair to assume Adams is willing to take this as a midseason swim if it means a bigger NCAAs down the road. Stanford’s Andie Taylor was second in 4:41.81, which is her best swim in almost two years. Aggie Sarah Henry was 4:42, probably a borderline time for getting into NCAAs.
Stanford swept the top 2 spots in the 200 IM. Senior Maya Dirado put an A cut on the board, going a lightning-fast lifetime-best 1:53.50. That kind of time in November should put Dirado right in the thick of things for the NCAA title come spring, with defending champion Caitlin Leverenz graduated. Felicia Lee was second tonight, going 1:56.17, also a lifetime best. A&M took the next two spots with Erica Dittmer (1:56.41) and Ashley McGregor (1:58.62).
Maddy Schaefer put up her own showstopping time in the 50 free. The junior matched her relay leadoff time, going 21.78 to win the individual 50 convincingly. That’s easily the fastest 50 time in the nation, at least pending the results of other invitationals this weekend, and is just .05 off of Margo Geer’s 2013 NCAA Championship time. Stanford placed three in the A final: Lia Neal was fourth in 22.33, and Felicia Lee fifth in 22.40. Texas A&M loaded up the final heat, placing 4 in the top ten: Liliana Ibanez (2nd, 22.24), Erica Dittmer (3rd, 22.31), Sammie Bosma (6th, 22.54), and Breeja Larson (8th, 22.80).
Stanford closed the night with yet another A cut, this time in the 400 medley relay. The team of Maya Dirado, Katie Olsen, Felicia Lee and Maddy Schaefer went 3:30.73, four seconds under NCAA “A” standard and just .7 off of Stanford’s top time last season. Dirado was 51.9 on the backstroke leg (another A cut) and Lee was 51.6 on butterfly for the Cardinal. In a show of depth, Stanford’s B relay actually tied with Texas A&M for second place, with both relays going 3:33.02 for A cuts of their own. Lia Neal was 47.1 on the freestyle leg for Stanford’s B, the fastest overall split in the pool. A&M’s team was made up of Paige Miller, Breeja Larson, Sammie Bosma and Liliana Ibanez. Larson was 59.0 on the breaststroke leg.
After one day of racing, Stanford leads the team race by about 25 over Texas A&M. The two are far ahead of the rest of the field with two days of racing left.
1. Stanford University 419
2. Texas A&M University 395
3. Louisiana State University 196
4. Southern Methodist University 106
5. Texas Christian University 75
6. U.S. Air Force Academy 26
Texas A&M won the opening 200 free relay, going 1:18.99. The Aggies had three swimmers under 20 seconds, including senior Kyle Troskot who was 19.1. His relay team was Henrik Lindau, Cory Bolleter and PaMarc Schweitzer. LSU took second by a half-second; they were 1:19.53.
A&M’s Omar Enriquez won the 500 free, going 4:23.43, not too far off what he went at SECs last year. Air Force sophomore Kevin Jackson was second in a lifetime-best 4:26.48, just touching out TCUs Sebastian Arispe (4:26.83).
The 200 IM was a tight race between A&M’s Simon Frank and LSU’s Frank Greeff. Greeff took the early lead, was run down on backstroke and breaststroke, and then made a late charge for first place but came up just short. Simon went 1:48.51 to top Greeff’s 1:48.61. Three others got sub-1:50, TCU’s Cooper Robinson, A&M’s Omar Enriquez (fresh off the 500 free victory) and Air Force’s Paul Leonhardt. TCU’s Adam Szilagyi won the B final with a time of 1:49.56 that would have placed him fourth overall.
Two swimmers made their first trips under 20 seconds this season during the 50 free. Texas A&M’s Kyle Troskot went 19.69 for the win while his teammate Henrik Lindau took second in 19.90. Air Force’s top sprinter, Ryan Dunne, was third in 20.22.
The men also competed in 1m diving tonight (the women’s diving event isn’t until Friday). Stanford’s male swimmes didn’t make the trip to Texas, swimming the UNLV Invite instead, but the whole Stanford dive team was in attendance, and made its presence known. Kristian Ipsen was convincing winner with a score of 407.50. His teammate Connor Kuremsky was second, scoring 378.10, just ahead of SMU’s Devin Burnett, who took third with a score of 371.40.
The night finished with the 400 medley relay, where Air Force picked up its first win of the weekend. The team of Angus MacDonald, Michael Barnosky, Paul Leonhardt, and Ryan Dunne went 3:14.12 to finish just ahead of LSU (3:15.3) and A&M (3:16.2). Dunne was 43.2 on the freestyle for Air Force. LSU got a strong butterfly split from Frank Greeff (47.7) and A&M had the fastest backstroker in Henrik Lindau (47.9).
The Aggies lead the team race so far, building a 100-plus point lead on day 1. LSU sits second, just head of Air Force.
1. Texas A&M University 366.5
2. Louisiana State University 247.5
3. U.S. Air Force Academy 236
4. Texas Christian University 162
5. Southern Methodist University 153.5
6. Stanford University 56.5