Kansas Heads to Columbia For Big 12 Championships

Feb. 24, 2009


Kansas swimming and diving will head east along I-70 for the second time this season for the 2009 Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championships. The event begins Wednesday, Feb. 23, at the Mizzou Aquatics Center in Columbia, Mo. Six women’s and three men’s squads will participate in the 13th annual event.

Preliminary diving events begin on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m., with the swimming relays kicking off at 6 p.m. Preliminaries for all events run Thursday to Saturday and start at 10 a.m., with diving finals starting at 5 p.m. (Friday and Saturday) and swimming finals at 6 p.m. (daily).

“This is our Christmas and New Year’s all rolled into one,” said Kansas head coach Clark Campbell. “Our team has had a great season of preparation and now they are ready to go. They’re tapered, they’re going to shave and put on fast-suits and see how far we can go.”

Kansas has faced four of the five other members of the Big 12 Conference in duals this season. KU defeated Iowa State and Nebraska, but fell to Texas A&M and Missouri. The Jayhawks tied for third place with Missouri at the Big 12 Relays in the fall.

“It’s been fun watching the other conferences swim over the past two weeks,” said Campbell. “And what we’ve seen is that the sport has changed for the faster. It is a new world in our sport and its exciting to have our turn to go fast.”

The Mizzou Aquatics Center should help the Big 12 Conference continue the trend of fast swimming as it is one of the top swimming facilities in the country. The aquatics center features a 50-meter by 25-yard competitive pool that is kept between 78 and 80 degrees at all times. The pool has a top depth of eight feet, six inches. The diving area has two one-meter and two three-meter springboards, and one, three, seven-and-a-half and ten-meter platforms.

In addition to a conference title being at stake, this week’s competition will mark the final chance for swimmers to qualify for the NCAA Championships in March. Several Jayhawk swimmers will make a strong push for NCAA qualification, including Maria Mayrovich, Danielle Herrmann, Iuliia Kuzhil and Ashley Leidigh.

“We always go into it with the expectations of recording lifetime best times,” said Campbell. “And because of the new technology it is a great opportunity to do that. (Recording fast times) is always overriding how we do. We will just let things like points, placing and qualifying for the NCAA’s take care of themselves.”

Daily highlight packages of the championship will be available on the Big 12 Web site, big12sports.com, featuring recaps and interviews with both student-athletes and coaches.

Please check back with kuathletics.com all week for updates on the swimming and diving team in Columbia following each session. Live results will also be posted on the Missouri Athletics website, mutigers.com.