Among the things going for him at Austin was an almost bald head. The day before the start of the NCAAs, Biondi had shaved his head, even though he once promised his mother, Lucille, he never would. "Mom's always had a thing about shaved heads," he said. "She didn't want me to do it because she felt I'd lose my individuality." Matt finally called his mother on Friday night and confessed, but only because he had remembered, too late, that his sister Ann Marie is getting married in three weeks and he's supposed to be in the wedding party. There was no hope of hiding at school until it grew back.
Biondi aside, Stanford was a surprising winner in the team competition. The Cardinal hadn't won the NCAAs since 1967, and when someone suggested that his team might have a shot at the title, coach Skip Kenney merely shook his head and muttered, "Nah."
But behind the brilliant swimming of Morales, John Moffet (who won the 100 and 200 breaststrokes), Jeff Kostoff (who set an American record in the 400 IM) and team captain Dave Bottom (who swam the leadoff leg on the 400-medley relay team, which broke two American records), Stanford accumulated 403.5 points, 74.5 more than defending champion Florida.
It was clear on Friday night that—barring total disaster—Stanford had the championship locked up. At 4 a.m. Saturday, Kenney's wife, Debbie, was awakened by a noise in their motel room. "I looked over," she said, "and there was Skip, sitting on the edge of the bed, sobbing. I got up and we must have talked for two hours, about all the people who would be so happy we had won."
"This is the highlight of my coaching career," Kenney said that night. "I just can't explain the inner glow I feel right now." Then he picked up the championship plaque and kissed it.