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Cardinal wins second straight national championship

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Back-to-back national champions.

Stanford won its second straight women's swimming and diving NCAA team title on Saturday. The Cardinal had 16 different All-Americans combine for 56 All-America honors, five American records, eight individual national championships and five relay titles during the four-day NCAA championship meet inside McCorkle Aquatic Center.

Stanford's 13 event victories tied the all-time record set several times, last by Stanford in 1993. Stanford is just the third school to sweep all five relays at the NCAA Championships, joining Georgia in 2005 and Arizona in 2008.

Stanford's 593 points were the most since Georgia had 609.5 in 2005 and the most for the program since the Cardinal totaled 649.5 in 1993. Cal was second with 373 points – the 220-point difference was the third-largest margin of victory at the NCAA Championships and the largest since 1993 (Stanford over Florida, 649.5 - 421).

This is Stanford's 10th NCAA women's swimming and diving title and 11th overall, the most in the nation, and marks the program's first back-to-back NCAA championships since winning five straight from 1992-96. The Cardinal also earned its 38th straight top-eight finish (every year the NCAA has sponsored a championship meet).

"This is an amazing group," said Paul A. Violich Director of Women's Swimming Greg Meehan. "They inspire us as coaches every day, and they inspire our amazing families and fans. And we draw inspiration off of representing Stanford at this stage—we're going back to The Farm with the 116th national championship for Stanford University."

"It's truly so inspiring watching them people compete," senior diver Kassidy Cook said of her teammates. "We are surrounded by greatness every single day. I watched Ally Howe win the backstroke and I got goosebumps everywhere, and it made me so pumped to compete. They make you want to be better."
 

Award Winners

Junior Ella Eastin was named the Swimmer of the Meet. She set two American records en route two relay titles and a meet-best three individual national titles. In addition to Saturday's victory in the 200-yard butterfly, Eastin swept the individual medleys with a pair of American records. On Thursday, the Irvine, California, native set the NCAA and American standards in the 200 individual medley at 1:50.67, and on Friday, she shattered the American record in the 400 IM by nearly two seconds (3:54.60). She was also a member of the winning 800 free relay on Wednesday, and the 400 free relay that capped the record-setting meet. 

Meehan won the NCAA Coach of the Year award for the second consecutive season and the third time overall. He is the fifth coach to win the award at least three times and the second Stanford coach to do so, joining five-time winner Richard Quick (1984-86, 1989, 1992). 
 

Saturday Champions

Sophomore Katie Ledecky celebrated her 21st birthday on Saturday with her second straight national title in the 1,650-yard freestyle, senior Simone Manuel won her third NCAA title in the 100 free, Eastin was tops in the 200 fly and the 400 free relay capped off one of the most dominant team performances in NCAA history.

Ledecky, Janet Evans (1990-91) and Marybeth Linzmeier (1982-84) are the only Cardinal to win the 1,650 free at NCAA's. Ledecky pulled away from the field early and won her second individual title of the meet with one of the fastest finishes of all-time at 15:07.91. It was 30 seconds faster than the rest of the field. During the event, Ledecky broke her own NCAA record in the 1,000 free with a split of 9:05.89.


In her final individual event, Manuel touched the wall first with the second-fastest time in history at 45.65. She remains the only woman to break 46 seconds in the event after her American record-setting swim of 45.56 at the national championship meet last year.

Manuel became the fifth woman to win three NCAA titles in the 100 free, and the second Cardinal (Jenny Thompson, 1992-95). She won the 100 free each year she competed (2015, 2017, 2018) and is the first to repeat in the event since Arizona's Margo Geer (2013-14).

An emotional Manuel fought through tears in her post-race interview with ESPN, and received a standing ovation from the crowd.

"I really just wanted to go out there and do my best. This was my last race as a Stanford Cardinal," Manuel said. "I have so many people to thank. Definitely my family, my coaches and my teammates. They drive me every day to be a better swimmer and also a better person outside the water. I'm really grateful to all the people who have supported me throughout my career."


Stanford went 1-2 in the 200 fly, led by Eastin's third individual title of the meet. Eastin sprinted to a finish of 1:50.01 to become the first Cardinal to win back-to-back titles in this event since Elaine Breeden (2009-10). The only other Cardinal to accomplish the feat was Summer Sanders in 1991-92.

"I set pretty high goals for myself and that was one of them," Eastin said of winning three individual national titles. "I think it's a testament to everything my team has been able to do for me."

This was the first time Stanford took the top two spots on the 200 fly podium since Misty Hyman and Shelly Ripple in 2001. Sophomore Katie Drabot touched the wall at 1:51.73 to claim silver.

This was the second time Stanford claimed both gold and silver in an event this week. Eastin beat out Ledecky in the 400 individual medley on Friday.


Stanford made history in the final event. The Cardinal swept the relays and matched the most event victories in NCAA meet history.  

Stanford won the 400 free relay for the fourth time in the last five years with a time of 3:07.94. Janet Hu, in her 14th swim of the meet and the final of her collegiate career, posted the fastest 100 free split of her career at 47.49. Eastin followed with a split of 47.13 and Drabot finished in 47.85.

For the second straight night and third time this week, Manuel faced a deficit in the anchor leg. For the second straight night and third time this week, she made up all of it with one of the fastest splits in history. In her 13th swim of the meet and her final one as a Cardinal, she finished her leg of the 100 free in 45.47.

"I just wanted to give it all I had. This team has given me so much and I just wanted to give it right back in that swim," Manuel said. "Finishing off in first place – that is just the perfect senior moment."

"We have just accomplished amazing things together, and they are my very best friends," Eastin said of her teammates. "And we couldn't ask for anything better."


All-Americans

Stanford added eight other All-American efforts on the final day of competition.

Alongside Ledecky in the 1,650 free, sophomore Megan Byrnes and junior Leah Stevens each earned their third career All-America honors, including their second straight first-team honors in the event. Byrnes knocked four seconds off her previous collegiate-best with a fourth-place finish of 15:43.68, while Stevens became the fourth Cardinal in history to break 15:50 in the event with an impressive fifth-place effort of 15:49.07. Janet Evans is the only other Cardinal under the 15:50 threshold.

Senior Lindsey Engel concluded her career with an All-America award in the 200 fly. Engel finished 11th in 1:54.27 for her ninth and final All-America accolade, which included six individual honors – three apiece in the 100 and 200 fly. 

In the 200 backstroke, seniors Howe and Hu swam in their final individual races. The pair combined for 44 All-American honors in their careers. Hu earned her third in this event with a career-best eighth-place finish (1:52.76). Howe won the B final with a time of 1:51.26 to collect her 19th individual All-America award.

Meanwhile, also in the 200 back, sophomore Erin Voss earned her first career All-America honor. She swam a collegiate-best 1:51.91 in the prelims

Freshman Grace Zhao swept All-America honors in the breaststroke. She duplicated her efforts from the 100 breast with honorable mention accolades in the 200. She was 16th overall with a time of 2:09.48.

 

Up Next

Ahead, Stanford swimmers are set to compete in national and international competitions throughout the summer. The Pan-Pacific Championships are in Tokyo, Japan, Aug. 23-27. You can follow Cardinal women's swimming and diving all year long on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook (@StanfordwSwim) | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

  


Stanford's 2018 National Champions
NCAA Champion Event(s)
Katie Drabot (2) 400 Free Relay
800 Free Relay
Ella Eastin (5) 200 Fly
200 Individual Medley
400 Individual Medley
400 Free Relay
800 Free Relay
Brooke Forde 800 Free Relay
Ally Howe (4) 100 Back
200 Free Relay
200 Medley Relay
400 Medley Relay
Janet Hu (4) 200 Free Relay
400 Free Relay
200 Medley Relay
400 Medley Relay
Katie Ledecky (3) 500 Free
1650 Free
800 Free Relay
Simone Manuel (6) 50 Free
100 Free
200 Free Relay
400 Free Relay
200 Medley Relay
400 Medley Relay
Lauren Pitzer 200 Free Relay
Kim Williams (2) 200 Medley Relay
400 Medley Relay


Stanford's 2018 All-Americans
All-American Event(s)
Megan Byrnes 1650 Free
Kassidy Cook 3-Meter Diving
Katie Drabot (5) 200 Fly
200 Free
500 Free
400 Free Relay
800 Free Relay
Ella Eastin (5) 200 Fly
200 Individual Medley
400 Individual Medley
400 Free Relay
800 Free Relay
Lindsey Engel (3) 100 Fly
200 Fly
400 Medley Relay
Brooke Forde (3) 400 Individual Medley
500 Free
800 Free Relay
Ally Howe (6) 100 Back
200 Back
200 Individual Medley
200 Free Relay
200 Medley Relay
400 Medley Relay
Janet Hu (7) 100 Back
200 Back
100 Fly
200 Free Relay
200 Medley Relay
400 Medley Relay
400 Free Relay
Katie Ledecky (4) 400 Individual Medley
500 Free
1650 Free
800 Free Relay
Simone Manuel (7) 50 Free
100 Free
200 Free
200 Free Relay
400 Free Relay
200 Medley Relay
400 Medley Relay
Lauren Pitzer (4) 500 Free
200 Free Relay
200 Medley Relay
400 Free Relay
Leah Stevens 1650 Free
Allie Szekely 400 Individual Medley
Erin Voss 200 Back
Kim Williams (3) 100 Breast
200 Medley Relay
400 Medley Relay
Grace Zhao (4) 100 Breast
200 Breast
200 Medley Relay
400 Medley Relay

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