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Stanford Women Ink Seven New Cardinal -- November 27, 2004

STANFORD, CA, November 27. THE Stanford women's swimming and diving program has announced the signing of seven student-athletes, six swimmers and one diver, to national letters of intent to attend Stanford beginning in the fall of 2005.

The six new incoming swimmers are Andrea Axtell (Austin, TX/Bowie HS/Longhorn Aquatics), Margot Brooks (Cleveland, OH/Hathaway Brown School/Lake Erie Silver Dolphins), Alexa Merz (Pacific Palisades, CA/Harvard Westlake HS/Palisades Malibu YMCA), Fiona O'Donnell-McCarthy (Mentor, OH/Hawken School/Lake Erie Silver Dolphins), Madeline Rovira (Boulder, CO/Fairview HS/Rally Sport Aquatic Club) and Laura Wadden (Chicago, IL/Evanston Township HS/Wildkit Aquatics). The team's incoming diver is Sarah Ohr (Kennesaw, GA/Harrison HS/Atlanta Diving Association).

"We have recruited a solid class this year, and we're very excited about their potential," said Stanford women's swimming head coach Richard Quick. "When you put all the parts of the class together, it's a real versatile group than can cover a lot of the areas on our team that we need help in. We really believe there are several members of this class that will help as soon as their freshman year and the entire class should make significant contributions at some point during their collegiate careers."

Axtell reached the semifinals at the 2004 Olympic Trials in both the 200 meter back (13th) and 200 meter fly (14th). She also just missed the semifinals at the Trials in both the 100 meter back and 100 meter fly, finishing 18th in both events. Axtell currently ranks 17th in the nation in the 200 meter back with the 2:14.69 she recorded at the 2004 Summer Senior Nationals to finish third. She is ranked 28th in the country in the 200 meter fly with a mark of 2:14.48 at the 2004 Spring Senior Nationals that placed her eighth. In 2001, Axtell was a member of the United States Junior National team.

"Andrea is an extremely versatile swimmer," said Quick. "To reach the semifinals of the Olympic Trials in two events and just miss it in two others is quite an accomplishment and showcases her versatility. She has a very bright future in our program and is talented enough to score at the NCAA level in her freshman season. To have the type of versatility she will bring to our program is invaluable."

Brooks was a member of the 2004 Junior National team that traveled to Sydney and a 2004 Olympic Trials participant, taking 39th in the 800 free. She finished sixth in the 800 meter free at the 2004 Summer Senior Nationals with a time of 8:47.92 that ranks 34th in the country this year.

"I'm very excited about Margo's potential in the middle distance freestyle," commented Quick. "She hadn't been on the national scene before but now she is after moving into a very strong training program with the Lake Erie Silver Dolphins club team. She has a bright future as she continues train with that program in her senior year and then at Stanford after that."

Merz won the both 50 and 100 meter free at the 2004 YMCA National Long Course Championship. She was also a CIF section high school champion in the 50 yard free, and competed at the 2004 Senior Spring Nationals in the 50, 100 and 200 meter free.

"Alexa is a developing national-caliber sprinter that will play a significant role on our team during her career," said Quick. "She could help right away, especially in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays."
O'Donnell-McCarthy is the record holder for the state of Ohio and in the 100 back (57.02), as well as the Ohio State champion in both the 100 back and 100 fly. She also competed in the 100 back at the 2004 Summer Senior Nationals.

"Fionna is on a tremendous improvement curve and will help us strengthen an area (backstroke) where we really need some help," said Quick. "She recently moved into a more powerful club program and has benefited greatly from it. I look forward to her being a significant swimmer in our program right away."

Rovira competed at the 2004 Olympic Trials in the 50 meter free and finished 31st with a personal-best time of 26.24. She also swam the 100 meter free at the 2004 Olympic Team Trials.

"Madeline is a very talented swimmer that is developing into national-caliber," said Quick. "Our eventual goal for Madeline is that she step in and help replace the invaluable Lacey Boutwell, which will be a huge challenge. But she has the potential to do that."

Wadden was the 2004 runner-up in the 100 yard fly for the state of Illinois and an Olympic Trials qualifier in the 100 meter fly.

"Laura has very good potential and is an exciting swimmer with extremely high goals," commented Quick.

Ohr is a Georgia state high school champion and a Junior Olympics National finalist.

"Sara is the catch in this year's recruiting class," commented Stanford diving head coach Dr. Rick Schavone. "She has tremendous physical talent and unlimited potential, and will be a great addition to our diving program."

2004 STANFORD WOMEN'S SWIMMING AND DIVING SIGNEES
Name Event(s) Hometown (Last School)
Andrea Axtell Back/Free/Fly Austin, TX (Bowie HS/Longhorn Aquatics)
Margot Brooks Free Cleveland, OH (Hathaway Brown School/Lake Erie
Silver Dolphins)
Alexa Merz Sprint Free Pacific Palisades, CA (Harvard
Westlake HS/Palisades Malibu YMCA)
Fiona O'Donnell-McCarthy Back/Fly/Sprint Free Mentor, OH (Hawken
School/Lake Erie Silver Dolphins)
Sarah Ohr Diving Kennesaw, GA (Harrison HS/Atlanta
Diving Association)
Madeline Rovira Sprint Free Boulder, CO (Fairview HS/Rally Sport Aquatic)
Laura Wadden Back/Fly Chicago, IL(Evanston Township HS/Wildkit Aquatics)