The Stanford women's swimming and diving program has announced the signing of seven incoming student-athletes to National Letters of Intent, with the group joining the Cardinal for the 2016-17 campaign.
"Today is a very exciting day for our program," said head coach Greg Meehan, who guided the Cardinal to a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships in 2015. "It's the product of a lot of hard work by our staff and by these amazing women. I'm just really happy about how this group came together. These seven incredible young people will make our team better in every sense. They have a great understanding of the core values of Stanford University and our swimming and diving program. They know what we value and what we stand for."
"In the pool, I'm absolutely thrilled about how this group will impact our team," continued Meehan. "They are very talented and present us with great balance across all strokes and distances. There is a scenario in which, as a class, they would cover all 16 swimming and diving events at championship meets. This is very rare and something I'm really excited about. This group, along with Katie Ledecky and the return of Simone Manuel and Kassidy Cook, bodes well for the future of our program."
Ledecky, a multiple world recordholder and Olympic gold medalist, is deferring her freshman year in order to train for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Manuel and Cook are red-shirting this season to do the same.
While she's not ranked as Stanford's No. 1 recruit, Brooke Stenstrom brings a Stanford family background to The Farm.
Stenstrom is the daughter of former Stanford quarterback Steve Stenstrom and former Cardinal All-American swimmer Lori (Heisick) Stenstrom. She started her prep career at Menlo-Atherton High, where she was coached by Lori. The family then moved to Colorado, where Brooke attended Valor Christian -- which produced current Stanford football standout Christian McCaffrey.
Brooke was a four-time Colorado state champion with yards bests of 23.50 (50 free), 49.77 (100 free), 1:51.27 (200 free) and 1:05.75 (100 breast). She is the 4A state recordholder in the 50 free and a five-time NISCA All-American.
"Swimming at Stanford University has been a dream of mine ever since I was a young girl," Stenstrom said. "I was raised in the Stanford community and I have absolutely loved it all my life. Being presented with the opportunity to study at one of the world's elite academic institutions, as well as being able to train with such talented girls and amazing coaches, has been the most incredible opportunity. I absolutely can't wait to get there and start growing."
Said Meehan: "Brooke had every reason to decide on Stanford with her mom, Lori, swimming here and her dad, Steve, playing football here. But what really impressed me about Brooke is how she made this process her own experience. I am thrilled about Brooke's decision and I'm really excited about her future here. With her athleticism and approach to the sport, Brooke has huge upside as a sprint freestyler."
Stanford's top incoming recruit is Katie Drabot of Cedarsburg High in Cedarsburg, Wis. The was ranked No. 6 in the nation by SwimSwam, but a case could be made for her to be ranked higher.
Drabot was a member of the U.S. squad for the 2014 Short Course World Championships, is a former Junior world recordholder and is a current member of the U.S. Junior National Team.
Drabot is a veritable dream recruit for coaches with her extreme versatility and NCAA-scoring range times -- like 1:45.22 in the 200 free, 4:43.09 in the 500 free, 1:57.97 in the 200 IM, 4:09.43 in the 400 IM, 22.75 in the 50 free, 1:02.06 in the 100 breast and 2:11.07 in the 200 breast.
Said Meehen: "From the very beginning of the recruitment process, I was excited about what Katie could bring to our team. She is a wonderful young person who has a great work ethic, international racing experience and can swim a multitude of events. Katie's impact on our program will be immediate and profound through her individual prowess and helping our relays. We've won six relays at the NCAA Championships over the past two years and Katie will put us in a position to compete for more during her four years."
Stanford's other top recruits, which make up a class that rivals the previous two, include Hannah Boyd from University High in Lexington, Ill.; Megan Byrnes of Oaktown High in Fairfax, Va., the No. 14-ranked recruit by SwimSwam; three-time All-American diver Haley Farnsworth of San Clemente High; Allie Szekely of Gwynedd Mercy Acadmey High in Doylestown, Pa.; and Erin Voss of Northhampton High in Northhampton, Mass., the No. 11 recruit by SwimSwam.