RCW: From the office of ... Clark Campbell

Kansas swimming has charged out to a 3-1 dual meet record in 2016-17, but will take a break from head-to-head competition and focus on swimming its fastest times of the fall at its championship-style Kansas Classic at Topeka’s Capitol Federal Natatorium this weekend. Kansas head coach Clark Campbell has a deep and talented squad with a tall task of topping last season’s program-best points total at the Big 12 Championship. With 100 percent of his focus on the present, let’s take a look around Campbell’s office for a glimpse into the past, his first team at Kansas, 14 years ago.  

“This group was really special because I was the third coach the seniors had in their four-year careers. The program was in the bottom of the Big 12 and they were last the year before. They were a good bunch, but there was some low morale in consideration to their sport. I think some of them had given up a little bit and were just going through the motions.  To their credit they had this young guy come in who was an alum and had a lot of passion for the program and they really accepted me and my family with open arms. 

“We had a tremendous year, it was a complete 180. I know that group is where it all started and how special they were; this is my 14th year here so watching it from where it was to where it is now, they were the ones that accepted this change. I see it every day and it’s a group that every one of them, I could go through each one — their name, what they did and how special they were to what we did. I appreciate them accepting a new guy and being a start of something new. 

“I remember one of the first meets vividly, we were at our fall invite in North Carolina and it was right before Thanksgiving. I was a nervous wreck before the meet because it was going to be their first championship experience with me and I knew that the work and the whole training program was a whole 180 from what they had done before. They worked really hard, but at that time they were thinking this is really difficult and we’re unsure about it. I will never forget that night before the meet, pacing up and down the hotel hallway because I couldn’t sleep. I knew this had to take root because it was some of the kids’ third coach in four years; they really deserved it and I wanted it to go really well, to set a tone for the remainder of the year and for Jayhawks down the road. We had a great meet, it was awesome. Meets come and go, but that meet is something I knew was very important for the direction of the program.”

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