Sports

Stanford swim recruits include Olympic champion Ledecky

 

The Stanford women's swim team received a National Letter of Intent from five recruits on Wednesday, comprising one of the top classes in the nation. The group hails from four states and includes Olympic gold medalist and world recordholder Katie Ledecky.

"I couldn't be more excited about what this class will bring to the pool deck everyday as young people, not just as swimmers," said Stanford head coach Greg Meehan, who is the reigning College Swimming Coaches Association of America Swimming Coach of the Year after guiding the Cardinal to second place at last year's NCAA Championships. "Above all, they represent the things that we are about here."

Ledecky, one of the most decorated swimmers to ever enter the college ranks, highlights the signees. Her Olympic gold came in the 800-meter freestyle (London 2012) as the youngest member of the United States Olympic team and she owns the world's best times in the 400-, 800- and 1,500-meter freestyles. The Bethesda, Md., native has been named the 2013 FINA World Swimmer of the Year, 2014 USA Swimming Athlete of The Year, and the 2014 U.S. Olympic Committee Sportswoman of the Year.

"Katie is, in my opinion, the best swimmer on the planet," said Meehan. "But, what's most important about Katie is that anyone that meets her is so incredibly impressed by how she carries herself and how she handles herself. She really embodies what the Stanford student-athlete is all about."

Said Ledecky: "I'm really excited to be signing with Stanford. I'm looking forward to swimming with such a talented and hard-working team coached by Greg (Meehan) and Tracy (Duchac). I know it will be a lot of fun to compete in the Pac-12 and NCAA. Needless to say, I'm a proud new member of Nerd Nation."

The recruiting class goes beyond Ledecky, as well. Ella Eastin (No. 6) and Leah Stevens (No. 19) are both ranked in the top 20 according to SwimSwam and Eastin joins Kim Williams as one of the best IM swimmers in the group. Kaitlyn Albertoli, a freestyle swimmer who helped JSerra Catholic in Orange County set a national high school relay record, is also a part of the talent-laden class.

"In a lot of ways, it helps balance our team," noted Meehan. "We had a sprint-heavy Class of 2014. We have worked towards getting more depth and strength in our 200 strokes, our IMs and certainly our distance freestyle. This class really helps keep us well-rounded."

All five members of the class have represented the United States at various levels. Here's a look at each swimmer:

Kaitlyn Albertoli

JSerra Catholic, San Clemente

• 2013-14 USA Swimming National Junior Team

• Part of JSerra's national high school record-setting 400-yard free style relay in 2013

• Second place in the 50- and 100-yard freestyles at the CIF Southern Section high school championships

• 2012 and 2016 Olympic Trials qualifier

Top Times

• 50-meter free: 25.86

• 100-meter free: 56.94

• 200-meter free: 2:04.31

• 100-meter fly: 1:02.86

Meehan on Albertoli: "Kaitlyn Albertoli is a great young woman. Her ability to swim the 50 up to the 100 is exciting for us as we continue to add to the sprint group of our team. Kaitlyn's abilities extend to the community as well as she has been really involved in community service and I'm excited to have her bring that aspect of her life to help better our program."

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Ella Eastin

Crean Lutheran High, Irvine

• Broke Missy Franklin's 200-yard IM high school record

• No. 6 recruit according to SwimSwam

• 2014-15 USA Swimming National Junior Team

• 2014 Jr. Pan Pacs titles in the 200- and 400-meter IM

Top Times

• 200-meter IM: 2:13.12

• 400-meter IM: 4:38.97

• 100-meter fly: 1:00.72

• 100-meter back: 1:02.44

• 200-meter breast: 2:35.74

• 200-meter free: 2:00.93

Meehan on Eastin: "Ella Eastin is the most well-rounded swimmer in the Class of 2015. She is a world class IMer, but she can also swim a great 200 fly, 200 back and 200 and 500 free. We are excited to have Ella come in and, along with Kim and Leah, to create a training group that can follow in the footsteps of the great IMers we have had in the history of our program."

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Katie Ledecky

Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, Bethesda, Md.

• World recordholder in the 400-, 800- and 1,500-meter freestyle

• 2012 Olympic gold medalist in the 800-meter freestyle

• 2014 USA Swimming Athlete of the Year

• Six-time United States champion, including 200-, 400-, and 800-meter freestyle titles in 2014

Top Times

• 100-meter free: 54.96

• 200-meter free: 1:55.16

• 400-meter free: 3:58.37*

• 800-meter free: 8:11.00*

• 1,500-meter free: 15:28.36*

* - indicates world record

Meehan on Ledecky: "Katie is, in my opinion, the best swimmer on the planet. But what's most important about Katie is that anyone that meets her is so incredibly impressed by how she carries herself and how she handles herself. She really embodies what the Stanford student-athlete is all about. She has range from the 100 to the 1500 and is world class in everything."

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Leah Stevens

Sacred Heart Academy, Louisville, Ky.

• 2014-15 USA Swimming National Junior Team

• 2014 Kentucky state champion in the 200- and 500-yard freestyles

• No. 19 recruit according to SwimSwam

• 2013 gold medalist in the 1,650-yard freestyle at the Speedo Winter Junior Nationals

Top Times

• 200-meter IM: 2:15.26

• 400-meter IM: 4:46.21

• 200-meter free: 2:02.23

• 200-meter breast: 2:33.37

Meehan on Stevens: "We are excited about Leah and what she will bring to our program. It was clear from the beginning of this process that Leah has an incredible work ethic and that our team will benefit from this in the future. Along with the others, Leah is really good in a lot of different events and I'm excited to see where that takes us."

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Kim Williams

Bellevue High, Bellevue, Wash.

• 2014-15 USA Swimming National Junior Team

• 2014 Jr. Pan Pacs bronze medal in the 200-meter IM

• Swept the IM events at the 2014 US Junior National Championships

• 21st in the 400 IM at the 2012 Olympic Trials

Top Times

• 200-meter IM: 2:14.18

• 400-meter IM: 4:43.18

• 100-meter breast: 1:11.48

• 200-meter breast: 2:33.51

Meehan on Williams: "Kim Williams is someone who, after watching her race this past spring, really opened our eyes to just how good of a swimmer she is. Kim has a great natural feel for the water and can swim a multitude of events. With that said, I'm very excited about her prospects in the IM events."

— Stanford Athletics

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