STANFORD, Calif. – A large and loud crowd at Avery Aquatics Center boosted the Stanford women’s swimming team to six pool records and a 161-137 victory against Texas over the weekend.
An estimated 1,800 fans packed the stands, and about 500 stayed for an autograph session with the Stanford swimmers, who signed for about 90 minutes following the meet on Saturday.
“Our crowd was incredible today,” said head coach Greg Meehan. “The local club teams came out in droves to sit in the stands and chant names as the races were going on. The team certainly feels that energy on the deck as they’re getting ready to swim their races.
“We really appreciate that support, and we were grateful for the opportunity to connect with our fans at the autograph session. I’d like to thank everyone who attended and waited in line patiently to meet our student-athletes.”
The swimmers put on quite a show. The two teams combined for seven pool records — six from Stanford and another by the Longhorns. Freshman Katie Ledecky had two, juniors Simone Manuel and Janet Hu each had one, and Texas’ Madisyn Cox set the Avery standard in the 200 individual medley (1:55.87). Stanford bookended the meet with facility records in the 400-yard medley relay and 200 freestyle relay.
Ally Howe, Kim Williams, Hu and Manuel opened the meet with the fastest 400 medley relay in Avery history. The quartet slightly trailed the Longhorns after the first three legs, but Manuel pushed Stanford into the lead and stopped the clock at 3:33.24. Howe, Hu and Manuel joined Neal for the record-setting 200 free relay (1:29.83) to cap the meet.
In the second race of the day, the Cardinal set its second pool record. Ledecky finished the 1,000 free in 9:10.49. That broke Olympian Janet Evans’s 26-year-old mark more than 20 seconds (9:30.69). Freshman Megan Byrnes was second with an impressive finish of 9:45.34.
Hu was the next to break an Avery record. In the 100 backstroke, she touched the pad at 51.95 to best the standard set by Cal’s Amy Bilquist in 2015.
Erich Schlegel | USA TODAY Sports Images
Earlier this year, Stanford junior Simone Manuel became the first African-American woman to win an individual gold medal in swimming.
Manuel, who also won the 200 free (1:44.25), broke the 50 free pool record that she set as a freshman. She improved her time by about a quarter of a second to 22.07. Ledecky then broke her own record in the 500 free. She was three seconds faster than her swim in the home opener with an Avery-best of 4:33.94.
“It was a really fun day,” Meehan said. “The pool records are nice, but that’s more a byproduct of the strength of our team. We got pushed by a really good and well-coached Texas team. It’s the first time we’ve beaten them here in the last three meets, and it was really great to be in a very competitive environment.”
Each of the last three meetings between these programs came down to the final race. This time, the Cardinal held off the Longhorns and avenged a close loss during Texas’ last visit to Avery in 2014. Since that defeat, Stanford has won nine straight dual meets at home.
Lia Neal won the 100 free in 48.31, Hu earned her second win in the 100 fly (52.30), while freshman Haley Farnsworth was third in the 1-meter diving and fourth on the 3-meter for the Cardinal.
“Janet Hu was one that really stood out to me today,” Meehan said. “She’s really been progressing nicely and had some great swims today. We also had some really good swims from Hannah Boyd, Allie Szekely and Megan Byrnes out of our freshmen class. Everybody took care of business.”
The Cardinal has just one meet remaining in the Fall. The team heads to Columbus, Ohio, next weekend for the Ohio State Invitational, Nov. 18-20.