KU Swimming and Diving Season Rewind

March 20, 2012

LAWRENCE, Kan. – With their regular and postseasons now behind them, Kansas swimmers and divers are looking toward their spring and summer swimming seasons. With more than a month to go before the Jimi Flowers Invitational takes place in Auburn, Ala., kuathletics.com takes a look back at the season gone by and the many accomplishments and accolades that came along with it. Below is a quick glimpse of the Crimson and Blue’s past eight months in the pool.

July 2011
-Stephanie Payne gave herself a boost heading into her senior season with her very first Olympic Trial cut, which came in Columbia, Mo., during sectionals. Payne’s 2:16.39 time in the 200 fly meant that she would be going to Omaha, Neb. for trials in a little less than a year. Aside from Payne’s accomplishment, Kansas Aquatics (KU’s summer swim club) also experienced unprecedented success, swimming away with first place honors inside the Mizzou Aquatic Center.

August 2011
-The month began with a splash, thanks to Stephanie Payne, who qualified for the Olympic Trials in a second event. A 4:51.46 time in the 400 IM at Nationals in Palo Alto, Calif., gave her a second trial cut in a two week span.

-Jayhawk swimmers and divers returned to campus later in the month with a new home to greet them. Thanks to a $200,000 renovation to the team’s old locker room, the 2011-12 squad was welcomed back with 32-new lockers, seven individual showers, a new training area with an ice machine, as well as a 40-inch flat screen TV and two new swimsuit dryers.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have the new locker room and it is a big upgrade for us,” said head coach Clark Campbell at the time. “We really appreciate all the donors and supporters of the program, who without their help could not have completed this project.”

September 2011
-As the regular season approached, KU head coach Clark Campbell celebrated his tenth anniversary as the head man of his alma mater’s swim team. Campbell amassed a 72-31 record during his first nine seasons and was tied for fifth in the athletic department as the longest tenured head coach at Kansas.

-On the month’s final day, the Jayhawks officially kicked off their 2011-12 campaign with an intrasquad meet. The event also served as the yearly alumni gathering and the official dedication of the new locker room. Following competition, the Blue squad defeated the Crimson team 144-123, thanks to Blue victories in four of the meet’s first six events.

October 2011
-KU would face a tough test in their first dual meet of the season, as they traveled to Tucson, Ariz., to take on the Wildcats of the U of A. Senior Stephanie Payne won the Jayhawk’s lone event, with a 2:08.23 time in the 200 IM. KU would go onto lose the meet to Arizona by the final score of 170-80.

KU's new locker room-Two weeks later, KU would succumb to another rough road battle, this time at the hands of the Minnesota Golden Gophers in Minneapolis. The 206-87 loss dropped KU’s record to 0-2 as they looked to get back to .500 with a double-dual the following day.

-A clean sweep would welcome Clark Campbell and his swimmers in Cedar Falls, Iowa as they defeated host Northern Iowa (186-105), and North Dakota (176-117) en route to evening their season record at 2-2. Junior transfer Svetlana Golovchun captured her first event in collegiate competition, as she finished with a 59.52 time in the 100 back.

-Kansas looked to close out the month on a high note, as it welcomed in Illinois to Robinson Natatorium for the first regular season home meet of the year. Vanessa Hanbury and Alison Lusk captured two events apiece, as KU swam past the Illini 174.5-118.5 and brought their dual meet record to 3-2 on the young season.

November 2011
-The Jayhawks had more than two weeks to rest before welcoming in Big 12 border rival Missouri into Robinson Natatorium. Taking on the 15th ranked Tigers were a tall order for KU, but the ‘Hawks were ready, hanging tough with MU for the majority of the meet. Three straight first place finishes by Rebecca Swank (1000 free), Shannon Garlie (200 free), and Deanna Marks (100 back), in the meet’s first four events gave the Crimson and Blue a solid start, but the Tigers proved to be too much, reeling off a 185-102 victory. The loss dropped the Jayhawks mark to 3-3 and 0-1 inCash diving at the UNO dual meet Big 12 competition.

-A week later KU would break the .500 barrier yet again, with one of their most successful meets all-season against the Mavericks from Nebraska-Omaha. The Jayhawks swam past UNO by a 150-78 score, but it was the divers who made the biggest splash inside Robinson. Junior diver Christy Cash would secure her second straight spot at the NCAA Zone ‘D’ Diving Championships with her first place finish in both the one and three meter events. Sophomore Alyssa Golden would make sure she gave her teammate company at Zones, qualifying for the very first time in her career.

It is really nice to get that qualifying score done this early,” said diving coach Eric Elliott following the dual accomplishment. “Now we can work on some dives that we are really going to need once we get to the Championships.”

December 2011
-KU would make its first of two trips to the Mizzou Aquatic Center in Columbia during the season, this time for the Mizzou Invite, which took place during a three day stretch in December. Out of eight schools, Kansas would finish in third place behind host Missouri and Boise State. The Jayhawks earned 604 points, which was 119 in front of fourth place finisher North Texas. The highlight of the invitational came on its very first day, as sophomore Morgan Sharp set a new school record in the 500 free with her time of 4:48.01, which surpassed the old KU mark of 4:48.77, set by Gina Gnatzig in 2006.

“It doesn’t happen too often to have a record fall this early in the season, but Morgan just did an awesome job” Kansas head coach Clark Campbell said following his swimmer’s record breaking performance. “We have been working with her and tweaked her stroke a bit and she has taken to it really well.”

Jayhawks in Puerto RicoJanuary 2012
-After a light December slate, Kansas boarded a plane and traveled to Mayaguez, Puerto Rico for their annual training trip. The Jayhawks arrived on Jan. 3 for their eight day stay in the Spanish speaking territory. Night swimming, land and water workouts all led up to the Mayaguez Invite, which took place on Jan. 7. The event pitted KU against first time opponents LaSalle and St. Michaels and took place in a long course format. The Jayhawks finished first during competition with a total of 238 points, (103 in front of second place LaSalle). Kansas would perform well in the warm waters underneath the Puerto Rican sun, claiming first place honors in every event but one.

-A mere four days after returning to the continental U.S., the Jayhawks jumped back into their home waters for a senior day match-up with former Big 12 turned Big 10 foe Nebraska. Seniors Shannon Garlie, Sarah Hettenbach, Kath Liggett and Stephanie Payne were all honored in a pre-meet ceremony as KU looked to finish their home season strong. The ‘Hawks would do just that and send the ‘Huskers back to Lincoln on the wrong side of a 155-145 score. The Kansas juniors would steal some of their senior counterparts thunder as Rebecca Swank and Brooke Brull won a total of three events, giving KU a 3-1 home record on the season. The senior day victory also pushed Kansas’ record to 5-3 on the year, which marked the 11th straight season a KU team has reached the five win plateau.

-Kansas would close out their busy month in Fayetteville, Ark., with a loss to the Razorbacks 199-96. The U of A would take the meet’s first seven events heading into the diving break, while KU finished first in a total of only two down the stretch. Senior Stephanie Payne was the first in the 400 IM (4:29.21) and the Jayhawks were the fastest in the 800 free relay with a time of 7:38.18. The loss dropped Kansas to 5-4 on the season, heading into their final regular season dual meet.

February 2012
-The team’s final regular season test came in Ames, Iowa against Big 12 opponent Iowa State. The Cyclones would get the best of the Jayhawks in the first day of the two-day dual meet, leading by a score of 82-68. The very next day, KU would push ISU to the brink, keeping the meet close with just two events left to go, but Iowa State would muster only their third victory over KU in program history by the slimmest of margins, taking the final relay event and in return the meet, 158-142. Senior Stephanie Payne kept the ‘Hawks in it up until the final solo event, thanks to her first place finish and 3:16.69 time in the 300 IM. The loss gave Kansas a final regular season record of 5-5 and made them 0-2 in a pair of Big 12 match-ups during the season.

-With the regular season now over, KU shifted their attention to the Big 12 Championships in Columbia, Mo. During the four day competition, Kansas would amass a total of 423 points, which was good enough for fourth place. A total of 20 KU swimmers would earn top times in 36 different events, while two Jayhawk divers achieved lifetime best performances on the platform. It was KU’s highest point total at Big 12’s in four years and capped off the swimming portion of the 2011-12 schedule. Kansas at the 2012 Big 12 Championships

-Jayhawk swimmers and divers would earn a number of academic accolades during the month as 13 of them wound up on the Academic All-Big 12 Team following their performances during the fall 2011 semester. Nine student-athletes would find a spot on the first team (3.20-4.00 GPA), while four placed on the conference’s second team (3.00-3.19 GPA). As a team, KU earned a spot on the Scholar All-America Team list, which is compiled by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA). The Jayhawks studied their way to a 3.02 GPA during the fall 2011 semester, which placed them with six current or future members of the Big 12 Conference on that same list. Just a few weeks later, senior Sarah Hettenbach would garner one of the Big 12’s highest academic honors, as she was one of three Jayhawks named a winner of the Dr. Gerald Lage Award. The Abilene, Kan. native joined football’s Quinn Mecham and track and field’s Zach Zarda as award recipients.

March 2012
-Junior Brooke Brull became the second current KU swimmer and third Jayhawk overall to earn Olympic Trial times in an event after a successful weekend at sectionals in Oklahoma during the first week of the month. Brull compiled trial worthy times in two events with her 2:19.00 time and first place finish in the finals of the 200 meter IM and her 2:15.75 performance during preliminaries of the 200 back. Brull will join Stephanie Payne (200 fly/400 IM) and former KU swimmer Danielle Herrmann (100 breast) in Omaha for trials this summer.

-Kansas divers closed out their season with a successful trip to the NCAA Zone ‘D’ Championships in Iowa City. Junior Christy Cash was making her second straight appearance in the event and finished 30th in the one-meter, 28th in three-meter competition and 18th in the Platform. In her first ever appearance at Zones, sophomore Alyssa Golden placed 35th in the one-meter, 38th off of the three-meter boards and 28th in the platform.

Up next…
-Kansas swimmers will travel to Auburn, Ala. for the Jimi Flowers Invitational (April 27-29), to try and secure some more Olympic Trial cuts before trials take place June 25 – July 2 at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb.

2011-12 News Releases: http://www.kuathletics.com/sports/w-swim/spec-rel/kan-w-swim-spec-rel.html