Underclassmen lead the way as Jayhawks finish strong in final day of Big 12 Swimming/Diving Championships
Feb. 26, 2011
AUSTIN, Texas –
Four KU freshman and sophomores finished in the top 10 Saturday to give Kansas a fourth-place finish at the 2011 Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championships in Austin, Texas.
Kansas wrapped up its final day of competition at the event by scoring 149 points, for a championship total of 409.5. Texas (948) won the Big 12 championship, followed by Texas A&M (931) and Missouri (588.5).
Sophomores Christy Cash (platform diving), Rebecca Swank (1650-freestyle) and freshmen Alison Lusk (200-yard breaststroke) and Malia Johnson (200-yard butterfly) finished in seventh, fifth, seventh and eighth place respectively during the final night of competition at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Austin.
Cash gave her teammates something to cheer about early on in the session Saturday night as she kicked off competition with a seventh-place finish in the platform diving finals with a season high score of 225.60.
“It was just unreal, I did not think I was going to make it,” said Cash. “To get to the finals was really amazing.”
On the heels of Cash’s performance, senior Iuliaa Kuzhil started off the last night of Big 12 competition for her career with a strong showing in the 200-yard backstroke with a 1:55.44 time and a ninth-place finish. Junior Abigail Anderson bested her fastest time of the season by over a second a finished 10th behind Kuzhil at 1:57.26.
Sophomore Brooke Brull cruised past her season high to the tune of four and a half seconds quicker at 1:59.86, good enough for a 14th overall finish. Underclassmen Heather Clark and Alyssa Rudman rounded out finals competition for the ‘Hawks Saturday night.
The Jayhawks were led by sophomore Monica Johannessen and freshman Morgan Sharp in the 100-yard free style as Johannessen swam past her fastest time of the season with a 50.40 and an 11th-place finish. Sharp had a life-time best time of 51.17 and a 14th-place finish. Senior Amanda Maez and freshman Shelby Cox acted as bookends to Johannessen and Sharp’s performances. Maez finished with a 51.71 time and a 21st-place standing as her teammate Shelby Cox was 24th with a time of 52.35.
Sophomore Rebecca Swank shattered her fastest season time in the 1650-yard freestyle by over 10 seconds. Her 16:34.73 put her in fifth overall place during the finals as she received a well deserved handshake on the award stand. Other Jayhawk milers finishing in the top 15 were freshman Alison Moffit (12th, 16:58.50) and junior Shannon Garlie (15th, 17:03.99).
Freshman Alison Lusk had a strong showing in the final night of her first Big 12 Championship setting a new school record (that she broke just hours before in the preliminaries) with her 2:14.57 as she took seventh place in the 200-yard breaststroke.
“It’s definitely exciting to break a school record, especially freshman year,” Lusk said. “What’s nice about it, is it (the old school record of 2:15.30) was Danielle Herman’s old record and she still trains with us all the time, so it makes it that much more special because I race her every day in practice.”
Also racing in the 200-yard breast stroke were sophomores Brittany Rospierski and Cora Powers, who placed 15th and 24th respectively with times of 2:20.32 and 2:23.58, both season highs.
In the 200-yard butterfly the Jayhawks were well represented, having six swimmers finish in the top 10. Stephanie Payne who broke three school records in two days, finished in seventh overall place with her fastest time this season with a 1:59.83. Payne was joined in the top 10 by freshman Malia Johnson (8th, 2:00.41) and senior Brittany Potter (10th, 2:02.69). Johnson surpassed her life-time best by a little more than three seconds. Joining their teammates in the fray were seniors Joy Bunting (11th, 2:02.69) and Alyssa Potter (12th, 2:03.03). Junior Kath Liggett finished 14th with a time of 2:03.15.
To close-out the night at the Big 12 Championships the Kansas 400-yard freestyle relay team placed fourth behind Missouri, Texas A&M and Texas with a time of 3:21.70. The relay team was led by Sophomores Monica Johannessen and Brooke Brull, freshman Morgan Sharp, and senior Amanda Maez.
The 149-points put up on the board by KU swimmers Saturday night marked their single highest point total during this year’s competition, surpassing the 138.5-point performance Friday night.
“We definitely built a lot of momentum over the course of the weekend,” said freshman Amanda Maez. “Tonight we were awesome, we had so many swimmers coming back for finals and scoring points.”
Maez and the rest of the Jayhawk swimming and diving team will compete in the last chance meet tomorrow morning to qualify for the NCAA’s before boarding a plane back to Lawrence.
FINAL BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
2-Texas A&M (931.0)
6-Iowa State (176.0)
1-Domique Bouchard SO-Missouri (1:52.02)
2-Lauren Lavigna SR-Missouri (1:54.18)
3-Lindsey King SR-Texas A&M (1:54.19)
9-Iuliia Kuzhil SR-Kansas (1:55.44)
10-Abigail Anderson JR-Kansas (1:57.26)
14-Brooke Brull SO-Kansaa (1:59.86)
22-Heather Clark FR-Kansas (2:03.47)
23-Alyssa Rudman SO-Kansas (2:04.83)
25-Brittany Rospierski SO-Kansas (2:03.40)
33-Sara Snow FR-Kansas (2:10.16)
1-Karlee Bispo JR-Texas (47.98)
2-Maria Sommer SR-Texas A&M (48.83)
3-Kelsey Amundsen SO-Texas (48.96)
11-Monica Johannessen SO-Kansas (50.40)
14-Morgan Sharp FR-Kansas (51.17)
21-Amanda Maez SR-Kansas (51.71)
24-Shelby Cox FR-Kansas (52.35)
25-Madison Wagner SO-Kansas (52.46)
27-Sarah Hettenbach JR-Kansas (52.76)
1-Maureen McLaine SO-Texas A&M (16:31.14)
2-Sarah Henry FR-Texas A&M (16:17.06)
3-Natalie Sacco SR-Texas (16:18.66)
5-Rebecca Swank SO-Kansas (16:34.73)
12-Alison Moffit FR-Kansas (16:58.50)
15-Shannon Garlie JR-Kansas (17:03.99)
1-Laura Sogar SO-Texas (2:07.66)
2-Breeja Larson FR-Texas A&M (2:08.33)
3-Amanda Masters SO-Missouri (2:11.90)
7-Alison Lusk FR-Kansas (2:14.57)*
15-Brittany Rospierski SO-Kansas (2:20.32)
24-Cora Powers SO-Kansas (2:23.58)
*=New KU School Record
1-Cammile Adams FR-Texas A&M (1:53.66)
2-Rita Medrano JR-Texas A&M (1:56.60)
3-Kendra Chernoff SO-Texas A&M (1:57.08)
7-Stephanie Payne JR-Kansas (1:59.83)
8-Malia Johnson FR-Kansas (2:00.41)
10-Brittany Potter SR-Kansas (2:02.20)
11-Joy Bunting SR-Kansas (2:02.69)
12-Alyssa Potter SR-Kansas (2:03.03)
14-Kath Liggett JR-Kansas (2:03.15)
1-Maren Taylor SO-Texas (331.25)
2-Janie Potvin JR-Texas A&M (320.80)
3-Shelby Cullinan SO-Texas (319.05)
7-Christy Cash SO-Kansas (225.60)
400-YARD FREESTYLE RELAY
2-Texas A&M (3:16.51)
6-Iowa State (3:29.22)