March 18, 2010

By Mike Beas
Special to

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Any time the words 'best' and 'ever' are paired within the same sentence, arguments have a tendency to ensue.

At Stanford, home to a women's swim program that counts former United States Olympians Janet Evans, Summer Sanders and Jenny Thompson among its more-decorated alums, Julia Smit soon will splash her way into the debate if she hasn't already.

The 22-year-old senior, already an eight-time Pac-10 individual champion, added a fresh line of type to her extraordinary list of credentials Thursday evening at the NCAA Championships at Purdue University when she thoroughly dominating her specialty, the 200 individual medley.

Holder of the NCAA and American records with the blistering 1:52.31 she clocked winning the event at the Pac-10 Meet on Feb. 25 in Long Beach, Calif., Smit captured her second consecutive NCAA championship, this time with a 1:53.56 to oust runner-up Julia Wilkinson of Texas A&M (1:54.45).

Touching the wall first guaranteed Smit another distinction as the product of Mt. Sinai, NY, is Stanford's first repeat NCAA titlist in the 200 IM since Sanders pulled it off in 1991-92.

"It was awesome to repeat from last year. That's what I was looking to do," said Smit. "This year we gave a lift to the team. That's what this meet is all about, getting the points, so I'm really pleased with that win."

Smit's victory also gave Stanford an NCAA-leading record of seven first-place performances in the event all-time. Besides Smit's back-to-back wins, Susie Rapp (1986), Janel Jorgensen (1990), Sanders (1991-92) and Thompson (1995) have also won for the Cardinal.

On Friday, Smit attempts to become Stanford's first-ever three-time champion in the 400 individual medley having won the event in 2008 and 2009.

Aggies' Doerge honored

Prior to Thursday's finals, Texas A&M senior Ella Doerge was presented the Elite 88 Academic Award by the NCAA. A butterfly and backstroke specialist for the Aggies who majors in genetics, the native of Clive, Iowa, in November was selected as a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship.