2005-06 Swimming Recap: One for the Record Books

April 9, 2006

LAWRENCE, Kan. — For the Kansas swimming and diving team, the 2005-06 season was one for the record books. The Jayhawks set four new school records, on its way to an 8-2 record and a perfect 3-0 finish in the Big 12 Conference. Kansas’ only defeats came against Minnesota and Harvard.

After falling to Minnesota in the first dual meet of the season, the Jayhawks would go on to record five more wins and one loss before the team traveled to Miami, Fla., for winter training. Kansas would not be defeated in 2006; recording wins over Nebraska, Drury and Iowa State. The `Hawks finished out the season placing fourth at the Big 12 Championships and qualifying one athlete to the NCAA Championships.

“As far as the dual season goes I am pleased with how we finished. In four years at Kansas, this was by far the best season for swimming fast and diving well in the non-championship part of our season,” head coach Clark Campbell said.

The swimming and diving team entered the CSCAA Division I Top 25 poll for the first time since 1997 on November 4, coming in at #24. Kansas moved into the top 25 after defeating then-ranked No. 20 Missouri on Oct. 28. Kansas joined Texas and Texas A&M as the three schools from the Big 12 ranked in the poll.

Kansas began the season with the annual Crimson and Blue Scrimmage before hosting the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The Jayhawks started off the meet strong against Minnesota winning the 400 medley relay. Senior Lindsey Urbatchka, junior Jenny Short, sophomore Terri Schramka, and freshman Danielle Herrmann finished the race with a time of 3:50.09. Herrmann also recorded wins in the 100 breast (1:04.84) and 200 breast (2:23.20). Junior Emily Knopp finished first in the 200 fly (2:07.94) and freshman Ashley Leidigh recorded one more victory for the Jayhawks in the 100 fly (55.53). Junior Shelby Noonan finished first in the three-meter diving competition with a score of 265.58. The Golden Gophers defeated Kansas 168-132.

“It was tough coming out of the blocks and swimming against a team that ended up placing second in the Big 10 Championships. The way the schedule worked out it was a great challenge for our team, especially with all our new athletes,” Campbell said. “The team performed outstanding and set the tone for the rest of the season.”

Following their loss to Minnesota, the Jayhawks would have a chance to redeem themselves at the Big 12 Relays in Columbia, Mo. Kansas placed in the top five in fifteen of the sixteen relays, earning six second-place finishes, five fourth-place finishes and five fifth-place finishes. The `Hawks finished fourth at the relays with 50 points.

Kansas returned to their winning ways with a convincing win over Truman State, 127-78. Terri Schramka led the way for the Jayhawks, taking the top spot in three events. The Madison, Wis., native finished first in the 400 free relay (3:32.08), the 400 medley relay (3:53.74), and the 500 free (5:01.54).

In the second consecutive home meet of the season, Kansas hosted Big 12 rival Missouri. The Jayhawks would go on to win 175-125, giving Kansas their first win over the Tigers in six years. Freshman Ashley Leidigh recorded four wins on the day, winning the 200 fly (2:01.97), 100 free (51.96), the 100 fly (55.00) and was a member of the winning 400 free relay team (3:29.97). In diving, Kansas was led by Noonan with her first place finish in the one-meter competition (258.90).

“It was a solid early dual meet for us. We came in and competed at a very high level. We had a really good night of swimming and diving. What’s going to be a challenge for us now is going over to Missouri and competing at that level next year in Columbia,” Campbell said.

In the team’s first double dual of the season, Kansas defeated both Missouri State and Iowa. The Jayhawks had four freshmen record victories. Leidigh finished in the top spot in four events including the 200 fly (2:01.43), the 100 free (52.03), the 100 fly (55.37), and was a member of the winning 400 free relay (3:30.45). Freshmen Molly Brammer (1650 free, 17:16.87), Shanna Bradbury (400 IM, 4:30.46) and Herrmann (100 breast, 1:04.63; 200 breast, 2:23.21; 200 medley relay, 1:46.03) each recorded at least one victory. Freshman Hannah McMacken finished third in the three-meter diving competition (224.60).

“These freshman we have this year are going to be a very good class as they progress through our system. That meet really stood out as they grew as a class,” Campbell said. “They matured and learned what it was going to be like competing at this level. That really set us up for the Minnesota Invite.”

Kansas would go on to set three school records at the Minnesota Invite and finish third with 670.5 points. Danielle Herrmann set a record in the 100 breast with a time of 1:03.10. That time was an NCAA “B” standard. Leidigh set a school record in the 100 fly with a time of 53.08, an NCAA “A” standard. The 400 medley relay team of Leidigh, Herrmann, Short and Schramka set a new school record with a time of 3:44.94. The time was also the eighth fastest time in the country. Noonan led the way for Kansas in diving action. The Edmond, Okla., native finished fourth in the three-meter competition (301.70) and fifth in the one-meter competition (245.95).

“That meet was a great challenge because not only do you have Minnesota there but also Notre Dame and Wisconsin. It was a fast championship meet. We went up there and finished a successful fall campaign,” Campbell said.

After a successful run at the Minnesota Invite, the Jayhawks carried that momentum to Cambridge, Mass. for a double dual against Harvard and Northeastern. Kansas fell to Harvard, 198-121, and a defeated Northeastern, 233-85. That would be the last competition for Kansas before the winter break.

Kansas began 2006 with a dual against Nebraska. The `Hawks came out strong and defeated the Huskers, 176-124. The Jayhawks won 10 of the 16 events giving the team a 2-0 mark in Big 12 competition. In diving action, Noonan led the way for the Jayhawks finishing first in the one-meter and three-meter competitions. Noonan scored 253.63 points in one-meter diving and 283.73 points in the three-meter competition to earn the top spot. That score qualified her for the NCAA Zone D Diving Competition in Columbia, Mo.

In the final home meet of the season, Kansas hosted Drury. Before the meet began six seniors were honored: Megan Boecker (St. Louis, Mo.), Gina Gnatzig (Whitewater, Wis.), Robyn Karlage (Edgewood, Ky.), Emily Rusch (Urbana, Ill.), Casey Topol (Mamaroneck, N.Y.), and Lindsey Urbatchka (Sheridan, Wyo.).

The Jayhawks easily won the meet, 157-70, and gave Campbell his 100th career win.

“The seniors this year have meant so much to this team over the last four years and we wouldn’t be any where near where we are now without their ability and leadership” Campbell said. “Getting the 100th win is a milestone but it’s all because of the athletes we coach. They did a great job of staying focused and the team did a wonderful job celebrating the seniors.”

In the last dual meet of the season, Kansas traveled to Ames, Iowa for a non-traditional two-day dual against Iowa State. After the first day of competition the Jayhawks led 91-59. Short, Herrmann, Urbatchka and Schramka combined to finish first in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:46.74. Brammer finished first in the 800 free with a time of 8:11.07 and Gnatzig won the 150 free with a time of 1:22.77.

During the second day of competition, Schramka finished first in the 150 free (1:31.26) and Herrmann finished first in the 150 breast (1:43.59). The Jayhawks took the top three finishes in the 400 free. Gnatzig finished first with a time of 3:56.11, freshman Brammer finished second (3:59.22) and junior Lia Pogioli finished third (4:01.10). In the 50 fly, the `Hawks again took the top three spots. Urbatchka finished first (25.98), Leidigh finished second (26.28) and sophomore Lauren Bonfe finished third (26.93). Noonan finished first in the three-meter diving competition (275.33) and second in the one-meter competition (248.32).

Following the `Hawks’ win over the Cyclones, Kansas returned to Columbia, Mo. for the Big 12 Championships. Senior co-captain Gina Gnatzig led the way for the Jayhawks setting a school record in the 500 free with her second place time of 4:48.77. The Jayhawks would finish fourth scoring 439 points.

“I was really pleased with how we did, not only with Gina (Gnatzig)’s 500 free but with the number of lifetime best times. The majority of our team accomplished a personal best at the Big 12 Championship or at some point along the season. The vast majority of our team swam faster this year and that’s what we gage our program on. It’s the benchmark that we use to measure success and without a doubt we accomplished a lot,” Campbell said.


The `Hawks had six swimmers provisionally qualify for the NCAA Championships but Ashley Leidigh was the only Jayhawk to compete at the championships in Athens, Ga.

Leidigh qualified with an “A” standard time in the 100 fly (53.08) and finished 43rd in the prelims with a time of 55.51. She also qualified with her “B” standard time in the 200 fly (1:59.97) and finished 39th prelims with a time of 2:04.57.

“Ashley is going to matriculate into a high level Division I athlete. This was a great opportunity to go and learn and watch some of the best swimmers in the world,” Campbell said. “The NCAA Championship is the fastest meet in the world. That was a big step for Ashley and I know she is excited about having an excellent summer and a great season next year.”

Other Jayhawks who qualified for the NCAA Championships include; Terri Schramka (500 free, 4:53.71; 200 back, 2:00.72), Gina Gnatzig (500 free, 4:48.77; 200 free, 1:49.38), Jenny Short (100 back, 55.58; 200 back, 2:00.85), Lauren Bonfe (100 back, 55.96) and Danielle Herrmann (100 breast, 1:03.10; 200 breast, 2:16.53).

Kansas also qualified the 400 free relay team of Leidigh, Schramka, Gnatzig, and Urbatchka with their time of 3:24.68. The 800 free relay team of Schramka, Gnatzig, Brammer, and Rusch qualified with their time of 7:23.62 and the 200 medley relay team of Leidigh, Short, Herrmann, and Urbatchka qualified with a time of 1:42.80.

The diving team had three Jayhawks qualify for the Zone “D” Diving Championships in Columbia, Mo. In the one-meter competition Noonan led the way for the Jayhawks with her 10th place finish of 469.95. Senior Casey Topol finished 14th with 451.65 points and senior Robyn Karlage finished 24th with a score of 194.6.

In the three-meter competition, Noonan finished 19th, Karlage finished 23rd and Topol finished 27th. Topol was the only diver to compete in the platform competition. The Mamaroneck, N.Y., native finished 13th in the competition with 357.70 points.

“The Zones were a nice end to the season. We had two seniors that had never been there before and as a first experience it was a good way to go out,” head diving coach Eric Elliott said. “It’s a good learning experience to see where our zone is at and to see what we need to do for next year to be competitive.”

In the Classroom

Kansas also excelled in the classroom. Fourteen Jayhawks were named to Academic All-Big 12 Swimming and Diving team. Leading the way for the Jayhawks was sophomore Sierra Slavin. The Shawnee, Kan., native was the only Jayhawk to record a 4.0 GPA. Those named to the first team include: junior Kristi Hansen (Shawnee, Kan.), sophomore Lindsay Herre (Overland Park, Kan.), junior Robyn Karlage (Edgewood, Ky.), junior Shelby Noonan (Edmond, Okla.), junior Lia Pogioli (Peoria, Ill.), senior Emily Rusch (Urbana, Ill.), sophomore Terri Schramka (Madison, Wis.), junior Jenny Short (Olathe, Kan.), junior Lisa Tilson (Mercer Island, Wash.), junior Tricia Tindall (Morristown, Tenn.), senior Lindsey Urbatchka (Sheridan, Wyo.) and Slavin.

Sophomore Lauren Bonfe (Fairhope, Ala.) and sophomore Allie Rubino (Charleston, S.C.) were each named to the second team.

The Jayhawks were also named Academic All-America as a team by the CSCAA for the 2005 fall semester. Their team GPA of 3.26 was 26th best among all NCAA I programs and ranked 1st in the Big 12.