Jayhawks Head to Columbia for Big 12 Championships
Feb. 20, 2012
COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Kansas swimming and diving team will make their return trip to the Mizzou Aquatic center this week for the Big 12 Championships (Feb. 22-25), as they look to finish the 2011-12 season on a high note.
The Jayhawks competed in Columbia earlier this season at the Mizzou Invite (Dec. 1-4), where they finished in third place, with 604 points.
“We are going back to Mizzou, where we historically swim very well,” thought head coach Clark Campbell. “The meet that we had in December is only going to help us be better in February.”
Their 2012 trip to Missouri will look quite similar to the one they went on just two months ago, partly because they will be sporting the same full-body swimsuits they wore at the December invite.
“During the season, women’s swimmers generally race in a tank-suit,” Campbell explained. “At championship time, all of our athletes wear a knee suit, which is made out of a different material that compresses the body and helps make it more hydro-dynamic. We did really well with them (the suits) in the fall, so it’s exciting for the team to be able to put those on again.”
As for the swimmers who will be wearing those sleek suits come championship time, Campbell knows he will have four seniors in Shannon Garlie, Sarah Hettenbach, Kath Liggett and Stephanie Payne, who will be looking to finish their season and Big 12 careers strong and fast.
“Hopefully a couple of them will make the NCAA Championships, so they will have another meet as Jayhawks under their belt,” Campbell said. “But it is their final Big 12 meet, so the number one thing is that each athlete goes in there and maximizes their potential and reaches their individual goals.”
But as the ten year KU coaching veteran explained, the senior corps will also play an important role in the team’s overall performance.
“What we want to do is not only help them (the seniors) be the best athletes they can be, we want them to help those around them be better as well,” he said about his core four. “Our seniors have a great opportunity to do that because they have done this before and know what it takes to help their teammates be better too.”
One of those seasoned veterans, Kath Liggett, agreed that she and her other senior counterparts can help set the tone for the rest of the team.
“For a lot of us seniors, this will be our last meet, so I think we will be focused on being relaxed in order to accomplish our goals,” Liggett explained. “One person feeds off another, so the seniors being positive and energetic will definitely rub off on the rest of the team.”
For Campbell and his athletes, this week’s championship meet will also serve as the culmination of a season long training regimen to get to this point.
“We are ready,” Campbell thought. “The team has never been healthier; we have never trained harder for a longer period of time, so we are really excited to see how we perform.”
Also competing at the conference championships with Kansas, will be Texas, Texas A&M, Iowa State and host Missouri. Out of those schools, the Jayhawks have only competed against the Cyclones and Tigers in meets during the 2011-12 season. KU dropped duals with MU 102-185 on Nov. 11, in Lawrence and ISU (142-158), Feb3-4, in Ames. The Jayhawks put 409.5 points up on the board and finished fourth during last year’s Big 12 Championships in Austin, Texas. They will be looking to crack the top three at conference for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
About the venue…
The Mizzou Aquatic Center is now in its seventh season and has already hosted two Big 12 Championships, with its third coming in a matter of days. The facility was completed just in time for the 2005-06 season and features a 50-meter and 25-yard competitive pool as well as a 25-yard diving well.
Venue Information: http://www.mutigers.com/facilities/fac-mizzou-aquatics-swim.html
Big 12 Championships information: http://www.big12sports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=10410&ATCLID=205177413