2004-05 Honor Roll: Caroline Bruce

It is a rare freshman who can make The Bootleg's Honor Roll, but Caroline Bruce is not new to breaking through barriers. In the last year, the Stanford swimmer had been an Olympian, National Champion and All-American. We can't wait to see what her next three years on The Farm have in store...

In the Summer Issue of The Bootleg Magazine, we released the 30 finalists for The Bootleg Honor Roll award for the 2004/2005 school-year.

The criteria are as follows:

Each academic year, The Bootleg’s Honor Roll will recognize the top ten Stanford student-athletes who have performed at an exceptional level, with athletic accomplishments that are both extraordinary and inspirational.  While achieving athletic success, these athletes should also have displayed uncommon leadership, sportsmanship and respect towards their fellow teammates and opponents.  Finally, these honorees’ performances and actions should also demonstrate their love for their particular sport as well as their school pride, the famed “Spirit of Stanford.”

During the month of August, we will be releasing the 10 winners of this prestigious award, one by one.  We previously have recognized Tony Azevedo, Alice Barnes and Nicole Barnhart amongst this year's winners.  Our fourth announced member of the The Bootleg's 2004-05 Honor Roll is women's swimmer Caroline Bruce.

Rarely does a freshman cement her name in the school record books and pick up regional and national accolades, not to mention single-handedly capturing two national championships.  For Stanford swimmer Caroline Bruce, however, success has often come prodigiously early.

The tale starts in Wichita, Kansas, home of Bruce's Trinity Academy.  Bruce is barely old enough to drive, but she's more than old enough to swim, as the high-school standout takes the Kansas swimming scene by storm.  By the time she graduated from Trinity, Bruce was an All-American six times, a state champion eight times, Kansas' High School Swimmer of the Year twice, and had qualified for the 2004 Olympics in the 200 breaststroke.  In Athens, Bruce's 2:27.60 placed her ninth in the 200 meter breast - just the third woman to enter Stanford having swum in the Olympics.

From Kansas via Greece, Bruce arrived at Palo Alto last fall, and, yet again, she began to accrue aquatic acclaim.  The Pac-10 Championships were shades of high school all over again for Bruce, for when the event had finished, Bruce found herself part of a remarkable five conference championships - three solo events (the 200 breast, 200 IM and 400 IM) and two relays (the 200 and 400 medleys).

Next up for Bruce were the 2005 NCAA Championships, and the frosh phenom delivered victories in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke.  The pair of championships neatly aligns Bruce with Class of 2004 graduate and fellow Olympian Tara Kirk, as Bruce's breaststroke sweep comes on the heels of three such sweeps by Kirk.  Indeed, Bruce's 100 breast time of 59.55 places her at No. 2 in school history, trailing only Kirk (58.41, 2003).

Also at the NCAAs, Bruce swam a personal-best 1:57.66 in the 200 IM.  The time was good enough for both third place at the meet and fourth in school history.

Her winning time of 2:08.67 in the 200 breast places her fifth all-time, and the three top-three performances made Bruce the second-highest scorer at the 2005 NCAA Championships.

Fittingly then, awards were plentiful for the Kansan's freshman year.  On the regional stage, Bruce was not only named the Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year, a Stanford first, but also was crowned the Pac-10 Women's Swimmer of the Year.  Nationally, Bruce captured six All-American honors, providing Cardinalmaniacs™ just a glimpse of her potential in years to come.

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