STANFORD, Calif. – Sara Lowe, one of the most accomplished synchronized swimmers in program history, and one of the most successful and respected head coaches in the country, has announced her resignation.
Lowe is moving to Texas and interested in pursuing a position in college sports administration. She earned her master's degree in business administration from Saint Mary's last spring.
"I'm sad to leave the program, but I think it's in really good hands," said Lowe, who is also recently engaged. "I'm ready for a new challenge."
Megan Azebu, who has spent the last six seasons as the Cardinal's assistant coach, has been promoted to head coach.
Under the guidance of Lowe and Azebu, Stanford captured national titles in 2016 and 2013 while finishing as the national runner-up in 2018 and 2017.
Prior to Stanford, Azebu coached the Santa Clara Aquamaids for five years. Azebu worked in all areas of the Aquamaids' programs, including summer camp, novice and intermediate, recreational and age group programs. Azebu was responsible for the 10-and-under program, which won gold in every competition it entered during the 2012 season.
Azebu also has extensive coaching experience at the international level, assisting the 13-15 National Team (2016-18), 12-and-under National Team (2014-15) and World University Games Team (2013).
Azebu also swam for the Aquamaids for seven years, joining the program at age 11. A junior A Team member, she placed second in the team and trio events, while taking fourth in the duet at the 2009 Junior Nationals.
"I am honored and excited to continue the tradition of excellence that Stanford synchronized swimming represents," said Azebu, a 2012 graduate of Santa Clara who earned her undergraduate degree in psychology and holds a minor in economics. "I have learned a tremendous amount working with Sara for the past six seasons, and I look forward to leveraging that experience with the team."
"I am excited for the future of our program and what should be a seamless transition in our leadership," said Jaquish & Kenninger Director of Athletics Bernard Muir. "I want to congratulate Megan on her much-deserved promotion and thank Sara for her tremendous contributions to our program as both a head coach and student-athlete."
During her career on The Farm, Lowe was a four-time first team All-American and led the Cardinal to consecutive National Collegiate Championships in 2005-08. She was also a four-time member of the USA Synchro National Team and three-time member of the USA Synchro Junior National Team. Lowe won a gold medal competing at the 2003 Pan Am Games and captured a bronze with the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team.
Lowe was named the Collegiate High Point Athlete in each of her four years on The Farm. She won a gold medal in every event she entered and served as captain during her sophomore, junior and senior years.
Lowe was nominated for the USOC Sports Woman of the Year as a junior in 2007 and senior in 2008, and was twice named USA Synchronized Swimming Athlete of the Year.
Lowe graduated from Stanford with a degree in communication in 2008 and was appointed a Matteson Fellow. She served as the AAC Athlete Representative on the USOC Athlete Advisory Council and as a member of the Board of Directors for United States Synchronized Swimming, Inc. from 2009-12.
In 2013, Lowe was inducted into the USA Synchronized Swimming Hall of Fame as a student-athlete. Following her graduation at Stanford in 2008, Lowe started as a volunteer assistant coach for the Cardinal in 2009, and was named head coach in 2013. Lowe was twice named USA Synchro Coach of the Year.
Stanford came close to winning its eighth Collegiate National Championship each of the last two years, losing tightly-contested meets to Ohio State.
"Obviously, winning the national championships stands out," Lowe said. "This year was tough, having to switch athletes around, but it was also one of my favorite years."