Stanford swimming: A new year and the same old results

Ella Eastin won a pair of events for Stanford. Photo by Keith Peters.

The two-time defending NCAA champion Stanford women's swimming and diving team opened the season with a 193-99 victory over visiting Utah at Avery Aquatic Center on Tuesday.

Stanford (1-0, 1-0) won all 16 events, including seven by freshmen. The Cardinal extended its winning streak to 24 straight dual meets, 22 consecutive Pac-12 duals and 17 straight home duals.

Brad Zdroik/Stanford Atletics
Senior Brad Zdroik and freshmen Jack Levant and Conor Casey each won two events and the Stanford men eased past Utah, 190-105, Tuesday.

Freshmen were also key to the women's victory as Taylor Ruck and Amalie Fackenthal each won twice, while Allie Raab, Daria Lenz and Zoe Bartel each won in their collegiate debuts.

Ruck won both backstroke events, taking the 100-yard swim at 54.09, and the 200 in 1:58.89. Fackenthal took home top honors in the 50 freestyle (23.14) and 100 butterfly (53.46), while Raab won the 200 individual medley (2:01.46) and Bartel was tops in the 200 breaststroke (2:13.14).

Lenz won her first collegiate competition on the 1-meter, while junior Haley Farnsworth won the 3-meter. Lenz edged fellow freshman teammate Carolina Sculti on the 1-meter with a score of 278.55. Sculti was the runner-up in both events as she finished with a score of 274.05 on the 1-meter, and Farnsworth won at the higher height with a score of 313.43 to Sculti's 299.25.

Stanford's returners also had a good showing to start the season. Senior Ella Eastin won twice, while junior Megan Byrnes was the only swimmer to break 10 minutes in the 1,000 free with a finish of 9:52.59. Eastin won the 500 free with a finish of 4:50.42, just a second separated from junior Erin Voss (4:51.60) and another second in front of freshman Morgan Tankersley, who finished third (4:52.26). Eastin was also first in the 200 fly at 1:56.53; three seconds faster than anyone else.

Sophomore standouts Brooke Forde, Lauren Pitzer and Palo Alto grad Grace Zhao each picked up where they left off last season with victories in the opener. Forde bested the field by more than two seconds in the 200 free at 1:50.43, while Zhao finished in 1:02.77 to win the 100 breast and Pitzer bested a pair of freshmen in the 100 free at 50.29, just ahead of Lucie Nordmann (50.54) and Anya Goeders (51.97).

The Cardinal opened the matinee with a victory in the 200 medley relay (1:40.96), and closed the day with a win in the 200 free relay (1:35.11).

Stanford travels to Washington State on Friday for another Pac-12 dual. The Cardinal and Cougars will meet at 2 p.m.

Men's swimming and diving

Patrick Conaton (49.28), racing for the first time since 2017 after using his redshirt season, won the 100-yard backstroke ahead of Jack Walsh (49.34), who was second. Hank Poppe (55.12) and Daniel Roy (55.75) finished one-two in the 100-yard breaststroke, and Zdroik (1:48.68) and Will Macmillan (1:49.26) made it three one-two finishes in a row in the 200-yard butterfly.

"Our training sessions have been very competitive but this was a new experience for our freshman, getting up on the starting blocks for the first time," said Stanford coach Ted Knapp. "We rested some of our upperclassmen today, so that opened the door for others to step up and they did -- Daniel Roy, Mason Gonzalez and Will Roberts had nice swims to score points, and I thought Jack Walsh performed well in both individual and relay events."

After Stanford won the opening 200-yard medley relay, Matthew Hirschberger (9:15.75) captured the first individual event, the 1,000-yard freestyle, with teammate James Murphy (9:22.90) placing second. Levant (1:36.47) won his first ever race at Avery in the 200-yard freestyle, nearly two seconds faster than the runner up.

In divingcompetition, Casey won both events with impressive scores, first in the 1-meter (397.80). Fellow newcomer Noah Vigran followed him up in second place (289.95). In the 3-meter, Casey (403.13) and Vigran (330.83) finished one-two to complete the sweep of both diving events.

After a break, Walsh (1:48.23) led the way in the 200-yard backstroke with Alex Boratto (1:48.82) and Glen Cowand (1:49.16) rounding out the podium. Roy (1:59.62) won his first race as a Cardinal in the 200-yard breaststroke with Matt Anderson (2:01.55) and Hank Poppe (2:01.77) completing the top-three sweep.

In the 500-yard freestyle, Murphy (4:28.78) owned the top place followed by teammate Hirschberger (4:32.92) in second. Zdroik (48.34) made it two wins with the top time in the 100-yard butterfly, followed by Macmillan (49.34) in second place.

Alex Liang (1:49.84) won the final individual event of the day, beating out Benjamin Ho(1:50.07) to win the 200-yard individual medley.

The Cardinal returns to action on Friday when it travels to Stockton for the Pacific Invitational, which continues through Saturday.

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