COLUMBUS, Ohio –– Stanford's Katie Drabot, Ella Eastin, Brooke Forde and Katie Ledecky won the 800-yard freestyle relay on Day One of the NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships on Wednesday at McCorkle Aquatic Center.
Stanford, which finished in 6:46.93, won its 10th national title in the event — more than any other school — and has won back-to-back 800 free relay titles for the first time since winning four straight from 1990-93.
"Relays are a really great way to bring the team together, especially when you start the meet off that way," Eastin said. "It was definitely a priority to swim for each other. I think your best swims come out when you are doing it for everyone around you."
Drabot took the lead leg and knocked a whopping three seconds of her time from the Pac-12 championships. The sophomore opened with a split of 1:42.99 to put the Cardinal right with the front of the pack.
"I think the nerves have transferred into excitement," Drabot said. "I've been working on preparing for this moment, and with that came a lot of confidence. There was definitely a lot more energy and excitement as the weeks progressed (toward NCAA's), and I was just happy that I was able to show everyone what I am capable of doing."
Eastin was second into the pool and posted another impressive split of 1:41.13, and Stanford was in a close second at the midway point.
The freshman gave Stanford the lead for good as Forde, who has been battling with the flu, pushed into first and finished her 200 in 1:42.94.
That gave the five-time Olympic gold medalist a comfortable lead. Ledecky posted a split of 1:39.87 and the Cardinal won by a little more than three seconds. Michigan finished second at 6:50.03.
After the first day of competition, the defending champion Cardinal leads the NCAA championships with 40 points.