Stanford Lands 2019 Junior National Champion #8 Samantha Tadder

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Samantha Tadder of Tide Swimming, ranked #8 in the high school class of 2021, has verbally committed to Stanford for fall 2021. She’s a rising senior at First Colonial High School in Virginia.

“I am extremely excited and humbled to announce my verbal commitment to swim and further my academic career at Stanford University! It has been my dream for as long as I can remember and I am so excited to join such an amazing team!! I am so thankful to my family, teammates, coaches, and God for helping me get to this point! I cannot wait for the next 4 years on the farm! Fear the Tree! #GoCard 🌲❤️”


  • 50 free – 23.06
  • 100 free – 50.53
  • 200 free – 1:48.52
  • 500 free – 4:44.15
  • 1000 free – 9:39.37
  • 1650 free – 16:13.03
  • 100 breast – 1:00.95
  • 200 breast – 2:11.76
  • 200 IM – 1:57.41
  • 400 IM – 4:07.15

Tadder won the 200 IM and 500 free at the 2019 Virginia 6A State Champs, while she won the 500 free and was 200 IM runner-up at the 2020 Virginia 5A State Champs. Last summer, Tadder won the 2019 Speedo Junior National title in the 400 IM, going 4:46.96 in long course. She also finished within the top 10 in the 200 breast, 200 IM and 800 free. So far, Tadder holds Olympic Trials cuts in the 200 and 400 IM.

Tadder’s versatility is remarkable and feels unique; how many swimmers have ever been near NCAA-qualifying times in a 100 breast/1650 free combo? In any case, the 400 IM is, unsurprisingly, Tadder’s best event. Coming in at 4:07.15, she’s the second-best 400 IMer in the HS class of 2021, and she would’ve easily been under the 2020 NCAA invite line with that time. She projects to be a distance free/IM specialist for Stanford, a school with no shortage of distance free/IM specialists recently. Intriguingly, she dropped in the breaststrokes from 1:03/2:15 to 1:00.9/2:11.7 from 2019 to 2020, and her strengths match up well with rising Stanford senior Brooke Forde, a talent who excels in mid-distance free, IM and breaststroke.

Stanford’s distance and IM groups are forces to be reckoned with. Last season, five women were under 4:40 in the 500 free led by Katie Drabot (4:35.84) and Morgan Tankersley (4:35.99), while Tankersley was the top miler at 15:50.81. Allie Szekely led the 200 IM with her season-best coming from the Cal dual meet (1:56.80), and Forde led three women under 4:10 in the 400 IM at 4:01.53 from her Pac-12 title-winning performance.

Stanford’s current top distance swimmers/IMers will have graduated before Tadder gets to campus, but their incoming class of 2024 is actually incredibly deep in IM talent, with Regan Smith (1:56.5), Janelle Rudolph (1:56.6), Isabel Gormley (1:59.0/4:08.8), Samantha Pearson (1:57.5) and Lillie Nordmann (1:58.0). None of the incoming freshmen are pure distance standouts up to the mile, though Smith has been 4:37 in the 500 free and Gormley has been 4:45 in that event.

Tadder joins #2-ranked Torri Huske, Meghan Lynch and diver Lauren Burch in Stanford’s class of 2025. Already at NCAA-qualifying speed in the mile and 400 IM and not far off in the breaststrokes/200 IM, Tadder is another very big addition for the Cardinal.

If you have a commitment to report, please send an email with a photo (landscape, or horizontal, looks best) and a quote to [email protected].

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2 years ago

Excellent choice. Congrats Samantha!

Bearly Breathing
2 years ago

Well la ti da…isn’t that nice…lol
But seriously congratulations. I’m all in favor of making women’s NCAA D1 swimming come down to one Bay Area dual meet.

Reply to  Bearly Breathing
2 years ago

I don’t think that’ll be the case with the way that UVA has been recruiting.

2 years ago


2 years ago

Congratulations and welcome to the Farm! Amazing accomplishments for this young lady.

The Kopals
2 years ago

Congratulations to Stanford! Sam is the real deal—so talented, smart, kind, and beautiful, inside and out! And her family is, without exception, THE BEST!!! Sam, we will always be there to cheer you on!! Look out world, here comes Tadder!!

2 years ago

Virginia let one escape

Reply to  Taa
2 years ago

(actually 2 – Huske, which actually follows a long-running pattern – UVA always struggles to get the top in-state recruits and does better with out-of-state recruits – think Douglass and the Walshes and Brownstead and others)

2 years ago

They’ve missed on several 2021 recruits from VA- not just Huske and Tadder, but also both Sheble twins (NCSU) and McConagha (Wisconsin).

VA Steve
Reply to  swimmertx
2 years ago

All great swimmers but it’s about fit. In some of these cases about swimmers’ familiarity of coaches, alignment with team members and I’m sure the feel for what they would be asked to swim. I think UVA girls will be fine.

2 years ago


About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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