Stanford swimmers Torri Huske and Claire Curzan will be sitting out of the 2023-24 NCAA season and taking an Olympic redshirt year in preparation for the 2024 Olympic Games, Stanford head coach Greg Meehan confirmed to SwimSwam on Saturday. Both swimmers were 2020(1) Tokyo Olympians two years ago, and will be vying for their second-straight Olympic team in the summer of 2024.
“This decision came from a lot of conversations weighing out the pros and cons, but ultimately we felt like this will put them into the best position headed into Olympic trials,” Meehan said. “We have done this before and understand how much it will impact our NCAA performance next year. At the same time, they know how much their teammates support this decision as well as Stanford’s long history of supporting student-athletes in all sports to pursue the Olympic movement.”
Both Huske and Curzan will enroll at Stanford for the fall quarter of the 2023-24 school year, before taking academic leaves of absence in the winter and spring while remaining on campus to train. Huske will have two years of NCAA eligibility left, while Curzan will have three.
Other Stanford athletes that have recently taken Olympic redshirts during their NCAA career include Simone Manuel in 2016 and Taylor Ruck in 2020.
Huske and Curzan were Stanford’s top scorers at the 2023 NCAA Championships, combining for a total of 101 individual points. With their redshirts and the departure of fifth-year seniors Ruck and Morgan Tankersley, the Cardinal will be losing 123 out of their 183 individual points from NCAAs. In addition, the loss of Huske, Curzan, and Ruck will be a major blow to Stanford relays, as they made up 3/4th of the team’s 400 medley relay, 200 free relay, and 400 free relay that finished 4th, 2nd, and 2nd respectively at NCAAs. Curzan was also on Stanford’s 200 medley relay that finished 9th, while Huske and Ruck were on the 800 free relay that finished 2nd.
At 2023 NCAAs, Stanford finished third overall with 333 points. However, if the individual contributions of Huske, Curzan, and Ruck were taken out, the Cardinal would only have 210 points and finish 7th—and that doesn’t even account for the aforementioned three swimmers’ impact on relays. In other words, even with top breaststrokers Lucy Thomas and Caroline Bricker coming in next season, Stanford is expected to see a major drop in the team rankings.
In addition to being the best two swimmers on Stanford, Huske and Curzan are also two of the best swimmers in the NCAA, and their absence will be felt next season. In the 200 IM, Alex Walsh will become the heavy favorite to win—Huske beat her by 0.01 this year, and without her or Kate Douglass, Walsh will be over two seconds clear of the rest of the NCAA field. The top four finishers of Douglass, Maggie MacNeil, Huske, and Curzan in the 100 fly will all not be present, causing the event to become wide open. Curzan won the 200 back by over a second this year, and without her, the doors have opened for names like Phoebe Bacon and Isabelle Stadden to win an NCAA title.
All of this is assuming that no other swimmers will be taking Olympic redshirts, and given that names like Virginia’s Matt King have already considered it, that assumption probably won’t be true.
In 2021, both Huske and Curzan qualified for the 100 fly at the Tokyo Olympic games. Huske finished 4th and missed a gold medal by 0.14 seconds, while Curzan placed 10th. In addition, both swimmers earned a silver medal for swimming the fly leg of the 4×100 medley relay for Team USA, with Huske swimming the finals leg and Curzan swimming the free leg.
Since the Olympics, Huske and Curzan have taken on a much bigger role for team USA. At the 2022 World Championships, they both swam on the women’s and mixed 4×100 free and medley relays, in addition to their four individual events apiece. Huske amassed a total of three gold and three bronze medals (including an individual world title in the 100 fly), while Curzan earned two golds and three bronzes.
Reading this article, dude my realizing the 2022-2023 women’s ncaa season will be one of the deepest and highest quliety we will ever witness
Great plan! Torri and Claire’s teammates are 100% behind them (my daughter is on the team). The duo will not be limited to the training hour limits specified by the NCAA plus with two 50 meter pools they will be able to train exclusively in LC. With a limited class burden/ meet schedule they can focus on Olympic training and LC meets. With the ability to keep all eligibility there is no down side that I see.
Do we think the Walsh sisters are next to announce?
I doubt it. Neither Kate Douglass nor Alex Walsh took a year off before Tokyo.
I feel like they basically have to take a redshirt at Stanford because the quarter system screws them over with spring classes finishing June 12, 2024 when the Olympic Trials start June 15.
Good point. In cycles past a number of Stanford men from the 80s & early 90s would withdraw after NCAAs for the last quarter. Stanford’s academic calendar is unique among the top NCAA swim schools.
When does third quarter start? Is NCAA during third quarter?
Good for them. Simone had a wonderful Olympics in 2016 after her redshirt. Greg knows what he is doing, and Claire and Torri are both staying at Stanford for the year. That alone says a lot.
Has there been an article discussing those who took redshirts and how they performed? excluding those who delayed a year?
delayed attending a year*
Is it weird that I feel like there’s been a history of people performing worse at the Olympics after taking a redshirt year?
Anecdotal there or do you have specifics?
So, how does the training change if they stay at Stanford? Do they have separate LC sessions apart from the school team?
less tapers so more bigger training for trials
It’s an individual choice. Take fewer courses, focus more on long course training, more long course racing & 25m short course meets in international competitions. I think it is particularly compelling for Huske & Curzan considering Virginia is still out of reach on paper for next year’s NCAA meet. Stanford gears up toward the 2025 NCAA meet now.
I’ve said this before, so apologies for repeating myself, but an Olympic redshirt is less about the differences in training and more about controlling your schedule. Not having to go to a bunch of dual meets in yards throughout the year, maybe racing World Cup stops against the best competition in LC, taking a lighter course load with no class in the last quarter before trials, and not tapering in the spring.
Most of the time, it’s too demanding for staffs to have pros or Olympic redshirts operating outside of the team structure for practice day-to-day. Particularly for just 2 full time coaches (it’ll be interesting to see which athletics departments want to pay for another full time swim… Read more »
I would guess the scheduling some classes/practice that would allow you to get more rest and sleep? Nothing like having lab after a full day at 8 PM and waking up for morning swim to make you a zombie
Jack Lustig Olympic Redshirt?