Canadian Olympic medalist and Stanford standout Taylor Ruck has confirmed that she will not be returning to the California, at least for the fall 2020 semester. Instead, she is opting to stay in Canada and continue training in Toronto at the Swimming Canada High Performance Center there.
Ruck was born in Canada and her family moved to Scottsdale, Arizona before she was 1 year old. She spent most of her childhood in Arizona, but does not hold American citizenship.
She told SwimSwam on Monday that she’s taking things “one month at a time.”
Ruck’s decision comes following Stanford’s announcement that the school’s campus will not be reopening in the fall and most classes will be held remotely. Despite this, Stanford women’s swimming and diving head coach Greg Meehan says that this decision specifically revolves around the academic side of the university, doesn’t necessarily apply to athletics, and that he feels confident that the program will continue to be able to train.
Stanford’s swimming and diving season has already been postponed until at least January 2021.
Last season, Ruck used her redshirt year from Stanford in order to prepare for the 2020 Olympic Games training under Ben Titley in Toronto. However, the NCAA has already said that it will grant eligibility extensions to athletes like Ruck if the coronavirus forces them to miss a season.
The 20-year old Ruck was on the Canadian Olympic Team in 2016, where she won bronze medals as part of her country’s 400 and 800 free relays. She is a two-time World Champion in short course meters, won 8 total medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games (including individual gold in the 200 free), and was on 3 Canadian bronze medal winning relays at the 2019 World Championships.
She is also the all-time medal leader at the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships, with 9 gold, 2 silver, and 2 bronze medals to her name.
At the 2019 NCAA Championships, in her freshman season for Stanford, Ruck scored 50 individual points, which was second-most for the NCAA Championship-winning Cardinla. That included a 2nd-place finish in the 200 free, 3rd-place finish in the 100 back, and 2nd-place finish in the 200 back.
The Cardinal, who have won the last 3 NCAA Division I Championships, have already lost the services of the #1 recruit in the incoming high school class, World Record holder Regan Smith, and the #6 recruit in the class, National Teamer Lillie Nordmann, for the 2020-2021 season. Both have announced that they are planning to take a gap year before beginning their Stanford careers.
California is one of the states that has seen the biggest increases in new coronavirus cases since June 1, averaging over 9,000 new daily cases over the last week. Santa Clara County, where Stanford is located, has a total of 14,429 confirmed cases that has led to 210 deaths. Over the last week, the county is averaging 354 new daily cases amid its population of nearly 2 million.
In Toronto, there are currently 15,484 confirmed cases; however, the entire country of Canada is averaging fewer than 400 new daily cases amid a population of almost 38 million people.
The border between Canada and the US remains closed except for very limited essential travel.