Stanford synchro brings home another national championship


In February, Stanford head coach Sara Lowe admitted her synchronized swimming team was young, boasting seven freshmen and five sophomores.

But she was confident it could overcome lack of experience with talent, stamina, strength, work ethic and drive.

Evelyna Wang
"Winning the national championship is not out of the question," she said.

Lowe was right.

On Saturday, the Cardinal captured the U.S. National Collegiate Synchronized Swimming Championships in impressive fashion, collecting victories in three of four finals.

Stanford totaled 98 points, while defending championship Ohio State finished second with 92 and the University of the Incarnate World was third with 75.

It marked the eighth title for the Cardinal, previously winning in 1998, 1999, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2013.

"The girls did a great job and I've very excited for them," said Lowe, who was thrown in the pool afterwards, along with assistant coach Megan Azebu. "This is kind of what I thought could happen, but they surprised me a bit, especially today. They came out with a lot of fight."

Stanford sparkled in the preliminaries during the four-day competition hosted by the University of Florida, and didn't let up Saturday.

The Cardinal placed first and second in the trio free routine, with sophomores Clare McGovern, Sandra Ortellado and Erica Slavin scoring 83.2667, receiving 25.4000 for execution and 25.2000 for difficulty from the judges.

Marisa Tashima, Amanda Urke, Evelyna Wang and Isabella Park came in second at 82.1667.

Ortellado and Slavin won the duet, amassing 82.9667 points. They dazzled, scoring 24.9000 for execution, 32.6667 for artistic improvisation and 25.4000 for difficulty.

McGovern earned an important second-place showing in solo, garnering 81.3333 points. Emma Baranski of Ohio State was first with 83.3000.

Stanford clinched the victory by finishing first and fourth in the team competition.

Rachel Hyon, McGovern, Ortellado, Park, Slavin, Tashima, Urke and Wang led the way with a score of 84.3667.

Teammates Elle Billman, Gillian Brassil, Madeleine Duboc, Dylan Harding, Rina Horii, Joanna Langner and Shiree Lee claimed fourth with 80.6500 points.

"It means a lot," said Wang, the lone senior and team captain. "Very emotional. There were lots of hugs, tears and cheers. It couldn't have ended any better."

Lowe, a four-time All-American at Stanford, used her deep roster to perfection. Last year, she competed with nine swimmers, and had only seven in 2014.

"Our depth was huge," said Lowe, who guided Stanford to the 2013 title. "Everybody did their part."

Lowe was selected the USA Synchro Coach of the Year for the second time (2013), while Azebu received the College Contributor Award.

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