Stanford University junior Julia Smit set the world record in the 400-meter individual medley today with a time of 4:25.87, swimming on the first day of the 2008 Canada Cup held at the Etobicoke Olympium in Toronto, Canada. Smit’s time was .62-second better than the previous record of 4:26.52, set by two-time Olympic gold medalist Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe on April 9, 2008 in Manchester, Great Britain. The American record had stood for four years, since Kaitlin Sandeno swam a 4:30.12 on October 7, 2004 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
“I was real excited on the last leg, because I could hear my teammates going crazy and the crowd screaming,” Smit said. “I knew I had to come home hard on the 100 free.”
Smit swam the 100-meter butterfly leg in 1:01.28, the backstroke in 1:06.97, the breaststroke in 1:16.51 and the final freestyle leg in 1:01.11.
“The back half of my IM is getting stronger – the breaststroke and the free – and I feel that’s what really enabled me to set the record.”
Smit’s effort highlighted an extraordinary day for Stanford’s women in Toronto. Competing against a top international slate in seven events, current Cardinal swimmers won five, while former Stanford great Tara Kirk added another victory.
Junior Elaine Breeden – like Smit a 2008 United States Olympian – won the 50-meter butterfly with a time of 25.89 that established a meet record and was just .19-second shy of an American record. Freshman Sam Woodward (26.65) and sophomore Kate Dwelley (26.90) also beat the previous meet record while finishing second and third, respectively.
Freshman Jessica Rodriquez opened the evening finals by winning the 1,500-meter free in a meet-record time of 16:20.33. Fellow freshman Angela Duckworth placed fifth with a time of 16:46.58.
Senior Laura Wadden swam to victory in the 200-meter back with an NCAA “B” standard time of 2:07.93, which was followed by Kirk’s win in the 100-meter breast (meet-record 1:05.52). Sophomore Liz Smith placed fifth in the 100 breast with a 1:08.73 (good for a “B” cut), while freshman Jamie Bruce finished 12th (1:09.95).
In addition to Smit, five other Cardinal swimmers made the final of the 400-meter IM. Smith was an impressive second with an NCAA “A” standard time of 4:34.62. Rodriquez (4:43.95) and Bruce (4:45.59) placed fourth and fifth, respectively, with each earning “B” times. Duckworth came in eighth at 4:51.02, but her preliminary time of 4:46.57 was good for a “B” cut. Junior Meredith Ayres tied for 13th with a time of 4:52.05.
Stanford’s “A” team of Dwelley, Woodward, Breeden and Smit were comfortably under the NCAA “A” standard in the 400-meter free relay with a winning time of 3:35.47 (just .51-second off the American record). The Cardinal “B” team, consisting of senior Madeline Rovira, freshman Betsy Webb, Rodriquez and junior Whitney Spence placed fourth with a “B” standard time of 3:44.97.
Stanford placed second, third and fourth in the lone event it did not win – the 100-meter freestyle. All three recorded “B” times, with Woodward leading the way in 54.52, followed by Breeden (54.87) and Dwelley (55.06). Rovira finished 10th in 56.13, while junior Kelley Hug placed 12th (56.20).
The three-day Canada Cup continues tomorrow, with Stanford holding a commanding lead with 560.5 points – 389.5 points ahead of second-place Etobicoke Swimming.