LONG BEACH, California, February 27. IN a total team effort, Julia Smit was named the Pac-10 Conference's Swimmer of the Meet and No. 1-ranked Stanford won its first conference title since 2005.
The Cardinal took home 10 Pac-10 titles over the four-day event, which included three individual wins by Smit (200 IM, 400 IM and 200 back) and relay titles in the 400 free, 200 free and 400 medley relays. Stanford finished with 1489 points, ahead of Cal (1341) and USC (1298.5).
"This was a fun meet– a championship meet and a great team effort," said fifth-year head coach and Olympic alumnae Lea Maurer, who won her first coaching title, after four Pac-10 titles as a swimmer. "We had great leadership from every class, and that is what is necessary to pull off a successful meet."
The Cardinal put an exclamation mark on the Pac-10 Championships, winning the final event, the 400 free relay, after Liz Smith (200 breaststroke) and Smit (200 backstroke) won individual titles earlier in the evening.
Smit closed out her Pac-10 Championship career with eight individual titles, winning the 200 backstroke by breaking her third school-record in as many days. Her time of 1:50.76, broke her own mark set earlier this year of 1:52.13.
For the meet, she was an unanimous selection for the meet's top honor, receiving a standing ovation at the event's conclusion after breaking two of her own American, school, NCAA and Pac-10 records in the 200 and 400 individual medleys as well as another school-record in the 200 backstroke. She was also a part of two relay wins, the firsts of her career.
Showing a continued dominance in the 200 breaststroke, Smith's time of 2:07.65 was just five-tenths slower than school-record holder Tara Kirk's 2004 time of 2:07.13. It was the team's sixth win since 2001 in that event, but first by Smith.
"It was a big boost to team moral to see some new faces steal wins," said Maurer, who also saw solid performances from underclassmen Betsy Webb, Sam Woodward and Andi Murez.
Senior Elaine Breeden, finished second in the 200 butterfly with a mark of 1:53.15. Breeden, who won the 100 fly on Friday, finishes her Pac-10 career with five titles.
Showing a dominance all year in the sprints, the Cardinal placed four swimmers in the finals of the 100 freestyle. Kate Dwelley finished second (48.24), followed by career-bests by Webb (48.51) for fourth and Murez for fifth (48.53). Woodward was sixth (48.87). The quartet gave the Cardinal 103 points midway through the Saturday finale.
In the final diving event, in Federal Way, WA, defending platform champion Carmen Stellar was fourth with 258.35 points. On the men's side, Brent Eichenseer was third with a tally of 391.85.
With the meet virtually won by Stanford, Smit, Murez, Webb and Kate Dwelley raced to a time of 3:12.83 in the 400 free for the team's 10th title of the championship. For Webb, it was her third relay title.
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