🏊♀️ KU Swim & Dive Goes Virtual with Fall Competitions
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The 2020-21 swimming and diving season is unlike any years past. With their 30-plus years of combined coaching, the Kansas Swimming & Diving staff adjusted to the times and brought innovation to the collegiate swimming and diving season.
Throughout the fall competition season, the Jayhawks have competed in a series of six virtual meets, titled “KU Virtual Cups.” Unlike usual meets, the Jayhawks compete in a pool against themselves, due to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For a lot of college swimmers, their last collegiate meet was their respective conference championship in February. We knew we had to think of something because there were so many unknowns. So we thought why not set up a virtual cup with certain events each week and give teams an opportunity to race.”Head Coach Clark Campbell
Facing uncertainty of what the season would look like, the Kansas Swimming and Diving staff formulated a plan to compete virtually with teams from around the country.
Teams are able to compete in the comfort of their own facility, then submit their results to be compiled from around the country via Swimcloud.com. The meets also streamed live via the KU Swimming & Diving Facebook page, allowing fans to cheer on the Jayhawks, despite not being able to attend in-person.
With last Friday’s KU Virtual Cup #6 being the final of the fall series, the KU coaches are excited about the outcome of their idea, having between 20-30 teams participate, including hundreds of student-athletes who were able to race.
“It has been well received. I think every team is looking for their experience during the fall,” Campbell said. “It also helps our team get into that competition mode and give us something to work towards. I think it was a good opportunity to develop for the Big 12 Championship in the spring.
The participation of teams from around the country was necessary for the start of the 2020-21 season to feel as normal as possible. For the Jayhawks, a team that placed second at the 2019-20 Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championships with a program-record 831 points, the virtual competitions allowed them to pick up where they left off.
Throughout the fall competitions, Kansas has 10 times that rank in the top-30 of their respective event nationwide, while setting several Robinson Natatorium pool records in the process.
|1.||Manon Manning||100 IM||56.61|
|5.||Kate Steward||100 IM||57.98|
|11.||Dewi Blose||100 IM||59.03|
|14.||Manon Manning||50 Back||24.69|
|17.||Ellie Wehrmann||100 IM||59.51|
|18.||Dannie Dilsaver||100 IM||59.65|
|21.||Kaitlyn Witt||100 IM||1:00.17|
|25.||Manon Manning||100 Back||53.63|
|28.||Kate Steward||200 Breast||2:12.28|
|30.||Manning-Steward-Campbell-Brown||400 Free Relay||3:26.86|
Paired with their six virtual competitions, KU did find in-person competition twice this fall by abiding by Big 12 Conference testing protocols, competing in duals against TCU and Omaha. The Jayhawks competed well in both meets, defeating TCU, 187-112, and defeating Omaha, 189-103.
With the season looking different than normal, the Jayhawks have adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic and created a way for teams to continue competing safely. The Jayhawks will be back in action on December 16-18, when they host the KU Virtual Invite, before competing in a series of dual meets in 2021.