Arizona vs. Stanford Women

STANFORD, California, January 26. NO. 3 Stanford (4-1, 3-0 Pac-10) handed No. 4 Arizona (9-1, 4-1 Pac-10) its first loss of the season with a 174-126 victory over the Wildcats in a fast meet between the Pac-10 and national rivals Saturday at the Avery Aquatic Center. Julia Smit led the way for the Cardinal with three individual victories (50 free, 200 back, 200 IM) and was responsible for breaking two of the five school records that fell with her victories and NCAA `A' times in both the 200 back (1:55.66) and 200 IM (1:56.65).

Stanford's third pool record came when a foursome of Kate Dwelley, Fiona O'Donnell-McCarthy, Elaine Breeden and Brooke Bishop gobbled up the 400 free relay in an NCAA `A' time of 3:20.06.

Breeden (100 fly, 200 fly) and Meg Hostage (1-meter diving, 3-meter diving) also won two individual events each for the Cardinal, while Elizabeth Durot (1000 free) and Liz Smith (200 breast) picked up one individual victory apiece.

Arizona started the meet off with a bang, breaking a pool record with an NCAA `A' mark of 3:37.45 recorded by a winning 400 medley relay team of Hailey DeGolia, Annie Chandler, Ana Agy and Lacey Nymeyer.

Durot would even the meet at one event each when she captured the 1000 free in 9:53.02.

Arizona then went on a roll and took control of the early stages of the meet with three consecutive victories. Nymeyer started the Wildcat run with a narrow win over Dwelley in the 200 free, recording a time of 1:47.33 to out touch the Cardinal swimmer by just .06 seconds in an exciting finish. DeGolia then knocked off Catherine Fox's 11-year-old pool record in the 100 back with an NCAA `A' time of 53.76. Chandler completed the run that left Arizona ahead, 58-35, after five events by holding off Stanford's Caroline Bruce for a victory in the 100 breast. Chandler (1:01.27) and Bruce (1:01.60) both recorded NCAA `A' times in the race. After taking four of the first five events, Arizona would win only two of the final 11.

Breeden started the Cardinal comeback with a dominating victory in the 100 fly with an NCAA `A' time of 1:57.59 that was 4.56 seconds better than anyone else in the event. Laura Wadden (2:02.15, NCAA `B') also gave the Cardinal inspiration when she edged Dana Christ (2:02.23, NCAA `B') for second place, finishing .08 seconds ahead of the Arizona swimmer.

Smit continued the run with a surprise win over Bishop in the 50 free by finishing in 22.79 to top Bishop's 22.91 mark, both NCAA `B' times. "Going into the 50 free we were a few points behind Arizona, so it was the goal of Brooke and mine to finish 1-2," explained Smit, who rarely swims the event.

The back-to-back 1-2 finishes put the Cardinal within reach of the Wildcats by cutting the lead to 69-62.

Stanford's divers then vaulted the Cardinal into a lead it would never relinquish by taking the top three spots in the 3-meter boards. Hostage's victory with 330.97 points was backed up by Katie Lampe (302.32) and Sarah Ohr (275.40).

Nymeyer tried to keep the meet close when the teams came back from a swimming break with a victory in the 100 free (50.06, NCAA `B').

But the Cardinal answered with back-to-back victories by Smit and Smith in the 200 back and 200 breast to establish firm control of the meet. Smit broke current head coach Lea Maurer's 14-year-old 200 back pool record in an NCAA `A' time of 1:55.66, while Smith pulled away from Bruce in the second half of the 200 breast and finished with an NCAA `A' mark of 2:11.48 that makes her the country's fifth-fastest performer in the event this season.

"I was really happy and surprised with the 200 back," said Smit. "The pool record was definitely unexpected, but it's great to post fast times in the middle of season and a lot of girls on the team did that today."

"It was awesome," added Maurer about Smit breaking her record. "It made my weekend. I'm happy to see records go off the board."

Nymeyer picked up her third victory of the meet by passing both Durot and teammate Susanna Helms late in the 500 free before finishing an NCAA `B' time of 4:50.68, but Stanford would leave no doubt about who was the better team Saturday by sweeping the final four events.

Breeden began the last stretch that put an exclamation point on the Cardinal win by taking the 100 fly in an NCAA `A' time of 53.71. Hostage wrapped up her second diving win during the swimming break with a score of 257.40 in the 1-meter competition. When the swimmers jumped back in the water, Smit broke her second individual pool record of the meet with an NCAA `A' time of 1:56.65 in the 200 IM. Stanford concluded the meet with an impressive winning 400 free relay performance as Dwelley, O'Donnell-McCarthy, Breeden and Bishop picked up the pool record with a time of 3:20.06.

"This was a great team win today," offered Maurer. "We knew coming into today's meet that Arizona was a tremendous team. I was very proud of the way we swim with composure and energy."

"Arizona is a very strong and deep team, and it was a wonderful opportunity to race them this weekend," added Smith. "It's great to have such fast competition. Having a victory over such a good team is an incredible reflection on our team this year. Everyone has really been working hard, and we came together as a group in a positive and energetic state of mind that was contagious."

Special thanks to Stanford for contributing this report.