RCW: From the office of ... Jen Betz

As Kansas swimming and diving makes its last trip as a team this season to Austin, Texas for the Big 12 Championship, assistant coach Jen Betz keeps a reminder of all past and (hopefully) future trips she will make around the world. Visitors to her office will instantly notice a large world map adorning her wall.

“I love maps,” Betz said. “I love looking at maps and seeing different countries and cities. I also like the traveling aspect of where the next adventure will be. When we recruit international kids it’s cool to see where they’re from; what part of the country and the world they’re from. Maps and travel have always intrigued me.”

Betz has a fair share of stamps on her passport. Among her favorite trips are a vacation to Bora Bora in April 2016 and various visits to Europe, including Spain, Greece and Italy. The well-traveled coach still has many destinations left on her bucket list, most notably Austria, Switzerland, the South of France and the French Polynesian Islands.

“Europe is pretty cool to see different cities,” she said. “You can take a train and it’s so cheap and easy to see a lot of different things.”

Though she can talk extensively about her international travels, Betz treasures the annual warm-weather trips the swimming and diving team takes every January. This season, the team escaped the below-freezing Kansas temperatures for balmy Southern California weather. These trips help lay the foundation for the team’s performance at the conference meet a month later.

“The most important, and the best thing, is the team bonding and training outside,” said Betz. “We don’t always have the best weather on the trips, but regardless, the team always feels stronger when we come back from those trips. It is nice to have a break from the Januaries around here. I think everyone’s moods are better and brighter when we return. We’re grateful to take those trips, regardless of where they are.”

The Jayhawks will reap the rewards of their hard work in California, and everywhere else they’ve been this season, at the Big 12 Championship from February 22-25. Kansas will look to build upon a program-best showing in 2016 and continue making history.