Season in Review 2004
April 27 2004
The 2003-04 swimming and diving season was one for the record books. Kansas won nine dual meets, the most since 1995-96 and finished third at the Big 12 Championships — one place higher than the previous year.
In his second season as head coach Clark Campbell and the Jayhawks showed signs that Kansas swimming was on its way back to dominance in the Big 12 Conference.
The Jayhawks started off their season finishing in sixth place at the Big 12 Relays in Ames, Iowa. The Jayhawks earned 37 total points on the day, only one-half point behind fifth-place finisher Nebraska. The meet was highlighted by a third-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay which featured Whitney Sondall, Hannah Bakke, Amy Gruber and Kim Bolin, with a time of 1:46.72. In diving action, Kansas finished in fifth and eighth place in the one-meter competition and in third and eighth place in the three-meter event.
Kansas followed that up with two big wins in Iowa City defeating the University of Iowa 131 to 130 and Northern Iowa 230-31. KU’s day was highlighted by eight first-place and four second-place finishes. Rebecca Zarazan had two first-place finishes in the 100-yard (57.24) and 200-yard butterflies (2:06.54). Amy Gruber also swam to two first-place finishes in the 100-yard and 200-yard freestyle with times of 52.01 and 1:52.24, respectively. Zarazan and Gruber were also on the 400-yard medley relay (3:51.39) that took first place and included Whitney Sondall and Hannah Bakke. Maegan Himes, 400-yard individual medley (4:31.30), Miranda Isaac, 200-yard breaststroke (2:23.32) and Bakke, 100-yard breaststroke (1:05.56) also finished first in their events.
In the first loss of the season, Kansas faced rival Missouri in Lawrence and came up six points short of a win in the Border War. Kansas won eight of the first 10 events finishing the day with nine first-place finishes. The ‘Hawks were led by junior Amy Gruber who had four first place finishes. She won the 50 (24.28) and the 100 (52.47) yard freestyle. She was also on the two winning relay teams, the 200 yard medley relay (1:46.89), which included senior Whitney Sondall, freshman Hannah Bakke, and senior Ashley Dower and the 400 yard freestyle relay (3:30.57), that included Dower, senior Kim Bolin and junior Aly Colver.
The Jayhawks returned to winning form when they defeated Southwest Missouri State 181 to 61 in Lawrence. Kansas brought home 13 first-place finishes in the 14-event format. Jackie Krueger and Gina Gnatzig led the Jayhawks with victories in the two distance events, the 1000-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle. The two wins were the first for the ‘Hawks in distance events this season. Krueger clocked in at 10:29.89 in the 1000 and Gnatzig finished with a time of 5:03.76 in the 500. Aly Colver also swam well with a win in the 200-yard freestyle (1:55.02) and a second-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle (53.47).
KU continued its winning ways with a first place finish at the Minnesota Invitational, Nov. 21-23. Kansas finished ahead of then ranked No. 10 Wisconsin and No. 25 Minnesota. The Jayhawks were led to victory in Minneapolis by three first-place finishes on the final day. Whitney Sondall won the 200-yard backstroke in a time of 2:02.06. The win was the fifth of the weekend for the Marshalltown, Iowa native. Amy Gruber finished first in the 100-yard freestyle (50.63). The Bigelow, Ark. junior lead the Jayhawks with six wins during the weekend. KU finished the weekend with a win in the 400-yard freestyle relay. The relay clocked in at a time of 3:25.15 and featured Gruber, Ashley Dower, Aly Colver and Kim Bolin.
The second day of action saw Kansas win three events, the 200-yard Medley Relay, the 100-yard butterfly and the 100-yard backstroke. The relay team of Sondall, Hannah Bakke, Gruber and Bolin finished in a time of 1:43.03. Gruber won the butterfly in a time of 55.11 and Sondall won the backstroke in a time of 55.63.
The first day was highlighted by setting a school record in the 400-yard medley relay. During the relay all four swimmers’ splits cracked the all-time top five in Kansas history. The relay featured senior Whitney Sondall, 100-yard backstroke (55.52), freshman Hannah Bakke, 100-yard breaststroke (1:03.46), junior Becca Zarazan, 100-yard butterfly (56.06) and junior Amy Gruber, 100-yard freestyle (50.64).
KU then defeated the University of Houston 179 to 121 at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center Natatorium. Kansas brought home nine first-place finishes in the 16-event format. The Jayhawks were led to victory by Amy Gruber’s four first-place finishes and Ashley Dower’s three. Gruber won the 100-yard backstroke (58.45), the 100-yard butterfly (57.26), the 200-yard individual medley (2:08.71) and the 200-yard medley relay (1:47.70). Dower won the 50-yard freestyle (24.39), the 100-yard freestyle (52.48) and the 200-yard free relay (1:37.78). In diving action Shelby Noonan finished third in both the one-meter (232.50) and three-meter (225.75) diving competitions.
In only its second loss of the season KU fell to Texas A&M 176.5 to 114.5 in College Station. The Jayhawks day was highlighted by strong performances by seniors Ashley Dower Whitney Sondall. Dower finished second in the 50-yard (24.32) and the 100-yard (52.57) freestyle. Sondall recorded a second-place finish in the 200-yard backstroke (2:04.59) and a third-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke (57.21). Junior Amy Gruber added a second-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle (1:53.12) and a third-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle (52.63).
In diving action Shelby Noonan finished third in the three-meter (234.30) and fourth in the one-meter (229.35) diving competitions.
Kansas then traveled to Florida and got another win by beating the University of Miami. KU took home 10 first-place finishes in the 13 event format. The Jayhawks’ even attack was led by Aly Colver who registered two wins at the meet. The Holyoke, Colo. native won the 200-yard freestyle in a time of 1:53.59 and the 100-yard freestyle finishing with a time of 52.70. Six other ‘Hawks brought home individual victories including Ashley Dower in the 50-yard freestyle (24.56), Kristen Johnson in the 200-yard individual medley (2:08.15), Amy Gruber in the 100-yard butterfly (57.95), Whitney Sondall in the 100-yard backstroke (57.86), Gina Gnatzig in the 500-yard freestyle (5:04.81) and Miranda Isaac in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:06.37). In diving action Shelby Noonan finished third in the one-meter (242.92) and Tayler Eldridge finished third in the three-meter (226.43) diving competitions.
KU recorded its first Big 12 win by beating the University of Nebraska 178-122 at the Robinson Natatorium. KU took home 11 first-place finishes in the 16 event format. The win was the seventh of the year for Kansas, which matches its season total from last year. The Jayhawks’ victory was sparked by senior co-captain Whitney Sondall and junior Miranda Isaac, who each had two individual wins on the day. Sondall, the Marshalltown, Iowa, native swept the backstroke events winning both the 100-yard (:57.60) and the 200-yard (2:06.06). Isaac, the Hutchinson, Kan., native took home victories in both the 100-yard (1:05.72) and the 200-yard (2:20.40) breaststroke. In diving action Tayler Eldridge finished third in the one-meter (218.02) and Shelby Noonan finished second in the three-meter (247.35) diving competitions. Noonan’s score is the top one so far this season in the three-meter competition.
Kansas followed with its second straight Big 12 win defeating Iowa State University 140-103 in Beyer Hall. KU took home eight first-place finishes in the 13 event format. The win is the eighth of the year for Kansas, which is one more than last season’s total. The Jayhawks’ meet was highlighted by the performances of Amy Gruber and Aly Colver. Gruber won both the 50-yard (24.27) and the 100-yard (52.63) freestyle. Colver finished first in the 200-yard freestyle (1:52.81) and second in the 100-yard freestyle (52.83), just two-tenths of a second behind Gruber. In diving competition freshman Shelby Noonan brought home first-place in the three-meter (268.05) competition. It was the first diving win so far in Big 12 competition for the Jayhawks. Noonan also finished third in the one-meter (244.50) competition. The Edmond, Okla., native’s scores are the new top diving scores for KU this season..
KU then dropped its third meet of the season and lost to the 24th ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers 215-85 at the University Aquatic Center. The Jayhawks’ day was highlighted by freshman Shelby Noonan, whose score of 283.28 in the three-meter diving competition qualifies her to compete in the Zone D Diving Championships to be held in Houston, Texas from March 12-14. Her qualifying time will allow her to compete in the one-meter, three-meter and platform competitions at the meet. The Edmond, Okla., native also placed fourth in the one-meter competition (257.03).
The ‘Hawks finished off regular season action and celebrated senior day with a win over the Arkansas Razorbacks 181-119 at the Robinson Natatorium. KU finished the 2003-04 regular season 9-3 overall and 2-2 in the Big 12. The nine wins are the most since the 1995-96 season. The Jayhawks’ day was highlighted by juniors Amy Gruber and Miranda Isaac. Gruber won the 50-yard (24.13) and the 100-yard (52.41) freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly (58.52). Isaac placed first in the 100-yard (1:05.81) and the 200-yard (2:21.55) breaststroke.
KU’s senior class also performed well at its final home meet. Sondall and Bolin were both members of the first-place 200-yard medley relay (1:47.43) team that also featured freshman Hannah Bakke and Gruber. Himes won the 200-yard individual medley finishing in a time of 2:08.14. Dower and Bolin each paced the 400-yard freestyle relay that clocked at 3:30.60 and also included junior Aly Colver and sophomore Gina Gnatzig. Johnson finished second in the 1000-yard freestyle (10:29.86).
Kansas finished in third place at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championships in Austin, Texas. The Jayhawks total score of 503 was 83 points more than the fourth place Nebraska Cornhuskers. Third place is the highest finish for the team since the 1999 championships. The team set numerous school records including two more school records on the final day. Gina Gnatzig finished the 200 backstroke in fourth place with a time of 1:59.80. Her new school record is almost one second faster than her time in last year’s Big 12 Championships. The 400 freestyle relay team consisting of Amy Gruber, Ashley Dower, Kim Bolin and Gnatzig placed third clocking in at 3:22.39 and breaking the previous school record that was set in 1995 at the Big Eight Championships.
The team’s season was over after the Big 12 Championships, but two members would go onto compete individually. Freshman diver Shelby Noonan competed in the Zone D Diving Championships March 12-14 in Houston, Texas. Noonan finished 12th in the one-meter and three-meter competitions at the Championships. Noonan recorded scores of 453.73 in the one-meter and 418.40 in the three-meter.
Then junior Amy Gruber continued to swim and participated in the 2004 NCAA Championships in College Station, Texas. Gruber competed in the 100 butterfly and the 50 and 100 freestyle at the Championships. She finished in 34th place in the 50 free in a time of 25.76. Before the race the Bigelow, Ark. native was seeded 64th and was able to move up 30 spots with her time. On the second day Gruber competed in the 100 butterfly and finished in 24th place, setting a new personal best time. She swam the event in a time of 1:01.09. She then placed 26th in the 100 freestyle, clocking in with a time of 55.83. She started the event seeded 45th and was able to move up 19 spots.