Jayhawks Hit the Home Waters to Host Illinois
Oct. 27, 2011
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Riding the wave of their double-dual sweep last weekend, the Kansas swimming and diving team will host its first dual meet of the season, Saturday at Robinson Natatorium. The Jayhawks will put their 2-2 record on the line against the University of Illinois who enters the match-up at 0-1.
KU returns home after dropping its first meet of the season to Minnesota 206-87 last Friday, but then defeating Northern Iowa (186-105) and North Dakota (176-117) in Cedar Falls, the very next day.
“Last week was a big challenge for us, with the amount of travel and number of meets we had, so it is always interesting to see how a group bounces back from a weekend like that,” head coach Clark Campbell said. “We have been training well this week, so we want to see how that translates into competition mode on Saturday.”
Making her final season opening swim at Robinson will be senior captain Stephanie Payne, who was nominated for Big 12 Swimmer of the Week for her performances against Minnesota, Northern Iowa and North Dakota. Payne finished first in every event she swam in (100 breast, 100 fly, 200 IM) during the double-dual last Saturday and racked up second place honors in the 200 fly against Minnesota.
Fellow senior Abigail Anderson is also coming off a solid weekend of swimming after piecing together two top five finishes on Friday in Minneapolis, and then finishing first in the 200 backstroke on Saturday in Iowa.
“I have really been happy with all five (seniors),” Campbell said. “They have really stepped up, are working hard in practice and are leading by example. They are getting it done in and out of the pool and it has been great to see all of them perform at a high level.”
Newcomers Vanessa Hanbury and Svetlana Golovchun will also look to continue the momentum they have created for themselves thus far. In their team’s first four meets, Hanbury, a junior transfer from British Columbia has finished in the top five of an event six times, with two of those earning her first place honors. Golovchun was victorious in the 100 back (59.52) during the Northern Iowa double-dual, which was only the second meet she competed in on the season.
“Both Svetlana and Nessa had really good meets last week and are kind of leading the way, sprint wise for us,” Campbell said. “Svetlana is improving a lot everyday because it so different when you go from Russia to the US, and are having to adjust from long course to short course. She is quickly learning the western way.”
Campbell’s freshman corps also continues to impress, with Plano, Texas native Deanna Marks setting the pace. Marks has three top five finishes to claim during her first three meets, one of those being a top time in the 200 butterfly last weekend.
“Deanna is working hard in everything she is doing and is racing well,” Campbell said. “Also (freshmen) Caroline Patterson had a couple good swims last week as well as Rachel Snyder, who is more of an end of season swimmer. She (Snyder) is doing the work she needs to do and will see some faster times at the end of the year.”
Illinois heads to Lawrence following their season opening 199-101 defeat to Big 10 rival Northwestern, last weekend in Champaign. The Fighting Illini are led by their eight senior swimmers, including Kritsen Manias, who finished second in the 50 free against the Wildcats. The U of I seniors all swim multiple events including free, IM, breast and backstroke. Heading up its freshmen class is Wisconsin native Alison Meng, who had a breakout performance in her first collegiate meet last week, winning the 100 backstroke.
On the boards, the Orange and Blue are led by senior Britini Fisher, who earned second place honors in the one and three-meter dives during her team’s first meet. Also contributing in diving events are juniors Keri Eberhardt and Tessa Adams, who finished as high as four and five during the one and three meter events last week.
“Illinois is a Big 10 school and a solid program that will provide us with a challenge,” said head coach Clark Campbell. “I think both teams match-up well with one another and I think it is going to be a really good meet.”
Besides Crimson, Blue and in the pool Saturday, fans may see a bit of pink as Kansas helps support `Jayhawks for a Cure’. Swimmers and divers will be wearing pink caps to support breast cancer research, as fans in the stands will be given pink ribbon Jayhawk magnets to show their support.
“This is a really important cause, especially for a women’s athletic program,” Campbell said. “This is just something we do to honor those that have dealt with it and those that have survived.”
Saturday’s meet will also be the first of three straight duals that the Jayhawks host at Robinson Natatorium. After the Illini, KU will welcome in Missouri on Nov. 11 and Nebraska-Omaha, Nov 19.
Log onto kuathletics.com following the meet for results, recaps and interviews.