It’s been mirror-image weekends for the Cal and Stanford women the past two weeks. First Texas swung through, beating Stanford Friday night and Cal on Saturday. This week it was Wisconsin who made the long trip out west, and this time the men’s programs were included. The Badgers lost to Cal last night, and Stanford kept pace with its Pac-12 rival, dealing Wisconsin another pair of losses on Saturday.
Though Wisconsin put up a few nice times, Stanford was dominant at home. On the men’s side, the Cardinal won 11 of 13 events (the meet featured only 200s of the fly, back and breast) to run away with the meet. The women’s meet was highlighted by a big sprint showdown between Wisconsin’s Ivy Martin and Simone Manuel and Maddy Schaefer of Stanford – Schaefer beat Martin in the 100, but Martin topped Manuel in the 50.
Martin was coming off a big 100 free win against Olympian Missy Franklin Friday night, and she got another shot at some high-profile sprinters Saturday. Manuel, the nation’s top sprint freshman and perhaps top overall sprinter, lined up against Martin in the 50, but Martin once again came out on top. The Badger senior was 22.32 to Manuel’s 22.46.
That was a return to the splash and dash for Manuel, who has been slid into the 500 free a bit this season to fill Stanford’s biggest lineup gap.
In the 100 free, though, the West Coast finally figured out how to beat Ivy Martin. It was senior Maddy Schaefer who finally knocked her down, going 49.15 to Martin’s 49.36.
Schaefer also won the 200 free for Stanford. Typically holding down the 50 and 100 frees as Manuel slides up in distance, Schaefer pulled mid-D duty this week, going 1:48.90 and leading a 1-2-3 sweep for the Cardinal.
Wisconsin’s Jenny Holtzen once again capitalized on an opponent’s weak spot, sweeping the 500 and 1000 frees as she did against Cal. Holtzen was 10:04.30 in the 1000 to win easily, and led a 1-2 sweep of the 500 free in 4:54.09.
The rest of the events went to Stanford. Kassidy Cook swept diving, hitting Wisconsin’s biggest weakness. The Cardinal went 1-2-3-4 in each diving event.
Freshmen Janet Hu (200 back, 1:57.91) and Lindsey Engel (200 fly, 2:01.25) each did well in longer races, winning 200-yard events even though they’re probably best-known for sprints. Senior Katie Olsen won the 200 breast in 2:15.59.
The Cardinal saved its best overall swim for last, though, putting together its studs to rocket to the top of the national rankings in the 400 free relay. Schaefer led off in 49.14 and Manuel anchored in 48.47 to help the squad go 3:18.08, more than two full seconds ahead of the next-best team in the NCAA so far this year.
That only confirms what most already suspected: Stanford should be the odds-on favorite at this point to win the sprint free relays at the NCAA Championships – the only question remaining is who will be on what relay. Saturday, the middle two legs were filled by Lia Neal and Janet Hu, each of whom was 50.2. But the B relay, which took second, also featured a 50.2 from Julia Ama and a 50.3 from Lindsey Engel.
Stanford also won the 200 medley relay, going 1:40.10 with Hu, Sarah Haase, Nicole Stafford and Manuel.
Stanford wasted no time in taking control of the meet, as the first two events produced an offensive barrage that nearly buried Wisconsin right out of the gate. Stanford first went 1-2- in the 200 medley relay. David Nolan‘s 21.85 leadoff leg was the power split, and freshman Andrew Liang was 21.20 on fly.
Then in the 1000 free, Stanford went 1-2-3 behind a big 9:18.16 from Danny Thomson. That capitalized on the absence of Wisconsin’s Matt Hutchins, who swam the distance event Friday night but opted for the 200 instead on Saturday.
One of the better races of the night pitted Stanford’s Nolan against Wisconsin’s Drew teDuits. Nolan is a two-time national champ in other events and a two-time NCAA runner-up in the 200 back, while teDuits won the NCAA title in the 200 back in 2013. It was Nolan who came out on top in his home pool, though, 1:44.32 to 1:45.93. That moves Nolan to #2 in the nation this year.
Also impressive for Stanford was freshman Sam Perry, who swept the sprint free events. Perry was 20.38 to beat out two Badgers for the 50 free win, and added a 44.58 win in the 100 free later on. That 100 free was a 1-2 sweep for Stanford.
Max Williamson also won twice, taking the 200 IM (1:47.69) and 200 breast (1:59.97), and Kristian Ipsen swept the diving events for the Cardinal. The other Stanford winner was Gray Umbach in the 200 fly (1:47.28).
Wisconsin got an early win from Brett Pinfold in the 200 free. Pinfold swam well against Cal Friday, but Long Gutierrez put up a top-5 NCAA time to steal the event from him. Pinfold broke through on Saturday, going 1:38.31 to beat Stanford’s Drew Cosgarea.
Also winning for Wisconsin individually was Nick Caldwell, who went 4:30.53 in the 500 free.
Pinfold and Caldwell combined to help Wisconsin win the 400 free relay to close the meet. Caldwell had the team’s fastest split, going 44.54 swimming third. Also on the winning squad were Cannon Clifton and Damon Zito. They went 3:00.64. Stanford put together three pretty even relays, taking the next three spots in 3:01.01, 3:01.13 and 3:01.45.