Kansas makes history at Big 12 Championship
AUSTIN, Texas – The Kansas swimming and diving team rounded out the 2019 Big 12 Championship with a program record score of 754.50 points en route to a second-place finish inside the Jamail Texas Swimming Center.
The Jayhawks finished runner-up to Texas (1,073.5) for the fourth time in the past six years, after stringing together a week that consisted of countless goals being reached and records being broken. In all, the team had eight record-breaking moments throughout the championship, as well as two first-place finishes – something the team has never seen before.
In addition, the 754.50 points Kansas scored was 71 points more than its previous program best of 683.5 points set in 2017 and head coach Clark Campbell was named the 2019 Big 12 Women’s Swimming Coach of the Meet – the only non-Texas award winner of the group.
Freshman Kate Steward highlighted the night when she broke the school record in the 200-yard breaststroke – the second time she broke it on the day – with a first-place finishing time of 2:11.98. Previously, Steward set the record in the preliminary swim with a time of 2:12.98.
Kansas’ four milers ended their 1,650-yard freestyle trek all in the top-seven, showing no signs of resistance as three swam lifetime-bests. Freshman Claire Campbell (sixth) and Katie Callahan (seventh) posted times of 16:48.39 and 16:53.69, respectively. Sophomore Crissie Blomquist and redshirt-junior Libby Walker placed third and fourth with times of 16:38.95 and 16:44.15, respectively.
The Jayhawks went 2-3-4 in the 200-yard backstroke ‘A’ final with a NCAA ‘B’ cut time by junior Elizabeth Amato-Hanner in second-place (1:55.49). Close behind was sophomore Manon Manning with a personal-best time of 1:57.52 and sophomore Lauryn Parrish with a 1:57.99. Freshman Dewi Blose finished first in the ‘B’ final with a lifetime-best time of 1:59.75 to close her performances at her first conference competition. The squad put together a total of 57 points on the day.
The 200-yard butterfly final finished the individual racing for the meet and showed eight Jayhawks on the blocks total with a presence in the ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’ finals. Freshman Paige Riekhof swam a lifetime-best in the ‘B’ final with a time of 2:02.76. Sophomore Caroline Schultz and senior Cassaundra Pino also swam lifetime-bests with times of 2:03.37 and 2:04.15, respectively.
The final event of the night was roaring when the Kansas 400-yard freestyle relay consisting of junior Jenny Nusbaum, Manning, Parrish and junior Carly Straight finished as the runner-up with a time of 3:20.60.
- Senior Vicky Xu dove her way into fourth place in the platform diving final with a score of 228.90.
- Junior Peri Charapich earned a total score of 182.70 on the platform diving final for an eighth-place finish.
- Junior Elizabeth Amato-Hanner touched the wall at a NCAA ‘B’ cut time and personal-best time of 1:55.49 to earn silver in the ‘A’ 200-yard backstroke final.
- Sophomore Manon Manning swam a third-place time of 1:57.52 in the 200-yard backstroke ‘A’ final.
- Sophomore Lauryn Parrish earned a fourth-place spot with a 1:57.99 swim in the 200-yard backstroke ‘A’ final.
- Junior Carly straight swam in the 100-yard freestyle ‘A’ final with a 50.56.
- Junior Jenny Nusbaum touched the wall in the 100-yard freestyle ‘A’ final at a personal-best time of 50.18.
- Freshman Claire Campbell swam a personal-best time of 16:48.39 in the 1,650-yard freestyle final.
- Sophomore Crissie Blomquist earned a bronze medal with a 16:38.95 in the 1,650-yard freestyle final.
- Redshirt-junior Libby Walker touched the wall at 16:44.15 in the 1,650-yard freestyle final.
- Freshman Katie Callahan finished the 1,650-yard freestyle in 16:53.69 minutes for a personal-best time.
- Freshman Kaityln Witt finished the 200-yard breaststroke ‘A’ final in 2:20.85.
- Freshman Kate Steward landed a first-place in the 200-yard breaststroke ‘A’ final with a school record, personal-best, and NCAA ‘B’ cut time of 2:11.98.
- Senior Haley Bishop took home fourth in the 200-yard butterfly ‘A’ final with a time of 2:01.09.
- In the 200-yard butterfly ‘A’ final, sophomore Ellie Flanagan swam a time of 2:01.28.
- Walker finished her 200-yard butterfly ‘A’ final with a time of 2:03.05.
- The Kansas 400-yard freestyle relay consisting of Nusbaum, Manning, Parrish and junior Carly Straight gained a silver medal in the final event of the meet with a time of 3:20.60.
Head coach Clark Campbell
On how coach is feeling after this week:
“I feel incredibly humbled by the effort the team put out, it was just amazing from top to bottom..
And it wasn’t like we had the perfect meet and sometimes every blue moon you have a perfect meet where nothing goes wrong, but we had our ups and downs. The way the team was resilient and how we celebrated the ups and we persevered through the downs, we were better for it. It was just an incredible week. It is humbling to be with student-athletes of this caliber that are so highly skilled to do this stuff physically and mentally and emotionally in a championship meet. It is really a testament to our seniors and our captions who have done such a great job leading our program this year, so it was an extremely fun meet.”
On being named the Women’s Big 12 Swimming Coach of the Meet:
“Again, it is humbling. You work hard everyday without the expectations of awards or anything. And the thing about coaching awards is that it should have been a team of the meet. Really good people on your team and the staff, they make each other look good. And so I would more or less say that we were the team of the meet. Everyone worked hard, from everyone on the staff to everyone on the team to make this special. And we talked about this being the best version of ourselves this week and they really did it. And I think that was just a testament to all that hard work we have done this year. We made almost a pact with our team that this was going to be our week, and they did it, everybody held up their end.”
On everyone keeping their energy high:
“Meets like this they are physical, mental and emotional, and so you run the emotions and it is tough to deal with it. And everyday you get more tired because of all of the racing that you do. So for them to do it, it was a big time step for our program.”
On setting a new standard:
“I told the team, you learn to appreciate this because it is not always like this. But that is the standard. We set a new standard for our program this weekend of scoring over 700 points..
And that has been a work of ours for 17 years now, we finally did it. It was the most ‘A’ finalists that we have had by far and number of scoring swims. I can’t say enough about how well our swimmers and divers did from the time the meet started to the time it ended.
I talked to coach Jen (Betz) about how this is the most locked-in team I have been a part of in 17 years and they have been really focused on doing well.”