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Stanford women setting more swimming records at Pac-12s

by ZwemZa on February 24th, 2018
The record-setting 400 medley relay (l to r) Simone Manuel, Janet Hu, Kim Williams and SHP grad Ally Howe. Photo courtesy of Stanford Athletics.

The record-setting 400 medley relay (l to r) Simone Manuel, Janet Hu, Kim Williams and SHP grad Ally Howe. Photo courtesy of Stanford Athletics.

Top-ranked and defending NCAA champion Stanford set two American records on Day Three of the Pac-12 Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships. Sophomore Katie Ledecky set the standard in the 400-yard individual medley and the quartet of Sacred Heart Prep grad Ally Howe, Kim Williams, Janet Hu and Simone Manuel combined for a record-breaking swim in the 400 medley relay on Friday.

After three days and 14 events at Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center, defending champion Stanford leads with 1,230.5 points. Cal is second with 1,028 points and Arizona State is third with 667.

Stanford dominated the 400 individual medley. Junior Ella Eastin would have set the American record with her runner-up finish of 3:57.32. Ledecky set the record with a time of 3:56.53, and behind the two fastest times in the history of the event, freshman Brooke Forde took the bronze with a career-best 4:01.04.

Ledecky, who also won the 200 free later in the night, bested the American record she set last year and also broke a five-year-old NCAA record by one-hundredth of a second — held by Olympian Katinka Hosszu since the 2012 NCAA Championships (3:56.54).

“We had six Stanford swimmers in the A final, and one in the B, so we just have a great 400 IM group,” Ledecky said of Stanford’s podium sweep. “We push each other every day, and today was just like any other day. I just wanted to put together the best race the best I could, get my hand to the wall and get some points for Stanford.”

Sophomore Allie Szekely was fifth at 4:06.63, junior Leah Stevens was sixth at 4:07.74 and freshman Hannah Kukurugya was seventh with a finish of 4:09.19. In the B final, freshman Katie Glavinovich was the runner-up to place 10th overall (4:09.26).

In the final event of the night, Howe took the backstroke and finished in 50.21. Williams finished the breaststroke in 58.61, and Hu took the fly in 50.38.

Cal’s Abbey Weitzeil held a slight lead over Manuel heading into the final turn, but the four-time Olympic medalist took the lead back in the final 25 yards and touched the wall at 3:25.15.

“I just wanted to finish well for the team,” Manuel said of her anchor leg. “We really had good splits up there so I wanted to do the same. This means a lot. I’m trying to soak it all in, do well for the team and just enjoy the experience that I’ve had with Stanford swimming.”

Even with a pair of American records, the feel-good moment of the night for the Cardinal was most probably in the 100 back, where Hu earned her first career individual Pac-12 title.

“It feels incredible,” Hu said. “Everything just came together in that race. I felt great on my last under and just got my hand to the wall first.”

Hu has been one of the most consistent and versatile swimmers in program history, and had won eight Pac-12 titles as a member of Stanford’s relay teams. However, she had yet to win an individual title.

The senior did so in dramatic fashion. She posted the fourth-fastest finish in the history of the 100 back at 49.93, and bested two Cal swimmers.

In the head-to-head face off of Stanford Olympians, who have combined for 10 Olympic medals, Ledecky out-touched Manuel by seven-hundreths of a second in the 200 free.

Manuel, who won this matchup last year at the conference meet, led for much of the race, but a strong finish by Ledecky resulted in a winning time of 1:40.71.

Stanford had two more in that final as sophomore Katie Drabot stopped the clock at 1:43.92 for a fourth-place showing, and freshman Lauren Pitzer was eighth with a time of 1:45.36. In addition, sophomore Erin Voss won the B final to finish ninth overall with her time of 1:45.40.

Howe was the runner-up in the 100 fly with a finish of 51.03, while junior Lindsey Engel was fifth at 52.18. Lauren Green was 10th overall (52.41).

Williams was also on the podium for her career day in the 100 breast. She broke the minute barrier for the first time in the prelims and then bested that effort with a third-place finish of 59.07 in the finals. Palo Alto grad Grace Zhao was sixth with a time of 1:00.04, also a career best.

Senior diver Kassidy Cook won the bronze on the 3-meter. The Olympian finished with a score of 343.95 to lead a trio of Cardinal in the final. Menlo-Atherton grad Mia Paulsen was sixth at 313.10, and sophomore Haley Farnsworth was seventh with a score of 306.50.

Men’s diving

Senior divers Tarek Abdelghany and Ted Miclau scored valuable points this week at the Pac-12 Diving Championships at the King County Aquatic Center.

Miclau had the highlight of the week, winning the platform title with a final score of 398.35. Abdelghany (335.15) backed him up in fourth place, securing top-five finishes in all three events for Stanford’s two divers.

The duo started the meet on Wednesday, posting top-five finishes in the 1-meter. Abdelghany (339.10) led the way in fourth place, with Miclau (325.95) right behind him in fifth. On Thursday, Adelghany (415.35) led Stanford in the 3-meter, and Miclau (357.45) was fifth.

Diving points will be added to next week’s total when the Cardinal swimmers compete in Federal Way. The four-day meet began Wednesday, with Stanford aiming for a third consecutive conference title.

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