The Stanford women’s swim team, presumptive favorites to win the 2017 NCAA title with a pair of Olympic gold medalists on their roster, have named their three captains for the 2016-2017 season.
Senior Lia Neal, junior Lindsey Engel, and senior Nicole Stafford were announced by head coach Greg Meehan this week as the team’s captains.
The trio combined for 60 individual points and a pile of relay swims at last year’s NCAA Championship meet.
The 21-year old senior Neal is the most experienced of the group internationally, having represented the United States at the last two Olympic Games – in both cases on relays. In 2012, she won a bronze medal, and in 2016 a silver, in both cases as part of the 400 free relay. She also has a World Championship from the 2012 meet and a summer World University Games gold from 2015 – both also coming in the 400 free relay.
The list of captains represent the power of the draw of a powerhouse swimming, and academic, program like Stanford. Neal comes from New York, Stafford from Georgia, and Engel is the lone in-stater coming from about 6 hours down-the-coast in Trabuco Canyon, California.
Not represented in the group are the team’s two Olympic stars – Katie Ledecky, who is just a freshman after deferring enrollment at Stanford to chase Rio gold; and Simone Manuel, who sat out last season to prepare for her shocking gold medal tie in the 100 free. Manuel is listed as a junior on Stanford’s roster, but only has 1 season of NCAA swimming under her belt.
Stanford opened their season last weekend with a resounding win over Oregon State and will face another bottom-tier Pac-12 team in Washington State on Thursday. Their first real test of the season comes on November 12th when they welcome in the Texas Longhorns.