Freshman Maya DiRado made a big splash in the biggest stage in college swimming Thursday, placing second in the 200 IM to help the Stanford women's team start the NCAA championships in third place.
DiRado swam the event in a personal best 1:54.66, more than a second behind winner Katinka Hosszu of USC.
Stanford accumulated 116 points at the meet in Austin, Texas, one point ahead of California and 13 points behind leader Georgia. USC is in second with 122 points.
After failing to score in the 500 free, the Cardinal scored big in both the 50 free and the one-meter diving event. Betsy Webb led a contingent of three Stanford swimmers among the top 10 in the 50 free and Meg Hostage finished third in diving.
Webb finished fourth in the 50 free with a time of 22.05, while Kate Dwelley and Sam Woodward tied for ninth, each at 22.22.
Hostage's finish on the diving board produced 16 team points, which is 16 more than Stanford scored in diving during last year's championship meet.
Stanford also produced strong showings in both the 200 free relay and 400 medley relay. The free relay team of Woodward, Webb, Dwelley and Andi Murez placed fourth while the medley team of Webb, Dwelley, Liz Smith and Felicia Lee finished eighth.
Palo Alto grads Colleen Fotsch and Liv Jensen helped California win the 200 free relay in 1:27.36, while Jensen swam anchor on the Bears' winning medley team.
Jensen also finished second in the 50 free with a time of 21.50. She won last year's race in 22.04.
The championship meet continues through Saturday.
Stanford's Nick Amuchastegui and Ryan Mango each advanced to the championship quarterfinals of the NCAA championships Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
The seventh-seeded Amuchastegui reached the quarterfinals for the second consecutive season, this time at 174 pounds. He recorded a major decision over Wisconsin's Benjamin Jordan, 13-1, and then defeated Nick Heflin of Ohio State, 6-1. Amuchastegui improves to 29-3 on the season.
Mango, seeded seventh at 125 pounds, went 3-0 on the day as he opened his second NCAA tournament with an 11-9 decision over Purdue's Camden Eppert in the preliminary round. In the first round, Mango took out Navy's Aaron Kalil, 13-7. He then registered his fifth fall of the season over Pittsburgh's Anthony Zanetta in 3:23.
Senior Zack Giesen split his first two matches. The Pac-10 champion at 197 pounds entered as the No. 12 seed. He recorded a 7-1 decision over Travis Porter of Gardner-Webb in the first round.
Giesen fell into the consolation bracket after losing, 8-3, to Iowa's Luke Lofthouse, the No. 5 seed.
Senior Justin Paulsen lost both of his bouts on the day and was eliminated from further contention. The 133-pounder dropped a 4-3 decision to Boston University's Fred Santaite, and then fell to Ridge Kiley of Nebraska, 4-0, in the consolation bracket. Paulsen ends his career with a 61-26 overall record.
Stanford finished first in both the duet and trio semifinal events Thursday at the U.S. Collegiate National Championships in the Tonawanda Aquatic and Fitness Center.
Stanford juniors Maria Koroleva and Olivia Morgan were first in duet with a score of 91.875. The Cardinal's Madison Crocker and Morgan Fuller took third with a 90.250.
In the trio, Morgan teamed up with Crocker and Fuller to capture the top spot with an 89.625. Stanford also claimed the second spot in the trio semifinal as Koroleva, junior Alex Bollaidlaw and sophomore Jessica Guenther turned in an 89.375.
Stanford senior Austin Staab was named the Pac-10 Conference's Men's Swimmer of the Month for February today, following a solid showing against No. 8 USC and No. 1 Cal.
The senior then parlayed that showing into school-records in the 200 IM (1:42.01) and 400 free relay (2:48.51) and his third career win in the 100 fly at the Pac-10 Championships in early March.
As a part of the team's 30th-straight Pac-10 title, Staab anchored the 400 free relay team, which broke the 1994 school record mark of 2:51.07. His wins in the 200 IM and 100 fly were his fourth and fifth career titles.
Stanford closed out the regular dual season undefeated, at 7-0, as Staab won the 100 fly against the Trojans and the 200 IM against Cal. Staab was also a part of the 400 free relay team (2:53.97) against the Bears that broke a seven year old pool record, set by Cal, at Avery Aquatic Center.