🏊‍♀️ Kansas Opens Season with a Victory at Fifth-Annual Sunflower Showdown

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas Swimming and Diving team opened its season at the Sunflower Showdown on Friday, Oct. 6, resulting in a first-place finish for the team. The Jayhawks won both relay events, nine individual events and freshman Shiyun Lai won the lone diving event of the afternoon.

The event kicked off with the women’s 200-yard medley relay, with all five of Kansas’ teams in the top spots. Team A, which was made up of Lezli Sisung, Molly Robinson, Lydia Lafferty and Keyla Brown, took the title with a time of 1:50.66.

Moving along to the 200-yard freestyle, Eleni Kotzamanis hit the pad first with a time of 1:53.78, winning the race for her first victory of the 2023-24 season. Aidan Howze added a win of her own in the 200-yard IM, posting a time of 2:07.35.

The 50-yard freestyle brought in a new personal best time for Elliott Howe, who swam a time of 25.11 to win the second heat. Caroline Blake won the whole event in the fourth heat with a time of 24.26, only 0.19 second away from breaking her own personal best.

After a ten-minute break, action resumed with the 100-yard butterfly, where Lydia Lafferty claimed the event with a time of 56:68. Freshman Abby Naden earned her first career win in the 100-yard freestyle, swimming it in a time of 53:35. In the 500-yard freestyle, Gracyn O’Mara won her first college event with a time of 5:09.89.

Lezli Sisung, who was the top Jayhawk swimmer in the 100-yard backstroke last year, won the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 57.43. Ryan Johnston made her Jayhawk debut, winning the 100-yard breaststroke after posting a time of 1:04.82.

Rounding out the event was the relay team of Caroline Blake, Claire Hyatt, Lauren Collins and Maggie Moore in the 200-yard freestyle. The group won the race with a time of 1:45.53.

On the diving side, freshman Shiyun Lai won her first collegiate event with a total of 274.50 points. Gabriela San Juan Carmona placed second with 263.55 points, Liza Van Leeuwen followed with 256.65 points and Lauren Gryboski with 242.55 points.

“I was really pleased with how we started off,” said head coach Clark Campbell. “It was a good start. We’ll go back and review the tape because there’s a lot of things we need to do. For the first meet, it was a good start. We want to use what we learn today to get better for the season. It’s the first of five home meets, and we want to use each meet to get better for February.”


The Jayhawks will stay at home for a meet against Illinois on Saturday, Oct. 14 at Robinson Natatorium. Action is set for 12:00 p.m. CT and admission will be free for fans who wish to attend.