Campbell, Miller Headline Big 12 End of Year Awards
IRVING, Texas – To cap off one of the most decorated four-year careers in Kansas swimming and diving history, senior Chelsie Miller was named Big 12 Swimmer of the Year Tuesday as announced by the conference. The honor is the first for a Jayhawk, and any other school not named Texas or Texas A&M, in league history. Kansas head coach Clark Campbell was also tabbed as the Big 12 Coach of the Year.
Four years ago the Houston, Texas native chose to venture out of the Lone Star state and head north to Kansas where she would make a name for both herself and for Kansas swimming, most recently earning All-America recognition at the NCAA Championships.
“It means so much to get Kansas the recognition,” Miller said. “I wouldn’t be anywhere without the program, the coaches and especially the team. To have my name attached to Kansas is special in itself.”
Campbell added, “It’s an incredible honor, these awards are generated by people noticing what’s been done in the program and Chelsie has had a storied career in swimming. She’s one of the best that we’ve ever had and for her to be recognized by the conference for all of her accomplishments through the years is special.”
Miller ended her KU career as the owner of six Kansas school records – 200 IM, 400 IM, 500 Free, 1,000 Free, 1,650 Free and 200 Fly – claiming more records than any other Jayhawk. This year she lowered her 200 Fly record and claimed the 500 Free school record at the conference meet, placing second and third, respectively.
She also earned a second-place finish in the 400 IM at the conference meet, registering three top-three finishes and earning a total of 84 points for Kansas. In addition to the individual accomplishments, Miller helped raise the profile of Kansas swimming and added to her historic resume as a leader on both of Kansas’ top-two Big 12 finishes, including this year’s highest point total in the Big 12 era.
After a successful league meet, Miller headed to Atlanta, Georgia to compete in her third consecutive NCAA Championship and left a lasting national legacy. She swam the 200-yard butterfly and the 200- and 400-yard IMs, the latter during which she earned First Team All-America accolades after placing eighth. The honor surpassed a pair of All-America honorable mention honors in the two previous seasons and marked the first Jayhawk finish among the top-eight at nationals since 1993.
Throughout the 2015-16 season, Miller claimed 13 individual first-place wins and one relay victory. She was named the Big Challenge MVP and headlined the meet’s all-star team, claiming five wins throughout the three-day championship-style meet. Miller concluded the season with four of Kansas’ top times.
The sole Kansas Big 12 champion – won during the 2014 league meet – garnered three weekly awards throughout the season. The conference named her Big 12 Swimmer of the Week Nov. 5 and then she was named CollegeSwimming.com’s Big 12 Swimmer of the Week twice (Oct. 28 and Nov. 24).
Miller will represent Kansas at the 2016 Olympic Trials, competing in the 200- and 400-meter IMs, 200-meter butterfly and the 800-meter freestyle.
While Miller has been one of the best swimmers to sport the Crimson and Blue, she’s the first to admit she wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of her coach.
“A lot of my events have come along way since coming here,” Miller said. “It’s been fun and interesting to see the different things we’ve tried over the years and going through the process.”
Miller isn’t the only one to recognize Campbell’s efforts toward making his swimmers excel in the pool as he was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year by the conference coaches.
Having coached the Jayhawks to just their second top-two finish at the league meet in the last two years, as well as earning the most team points, Campbell has continued to take KU swimming and diving to the next level. Outside of the pool, the team is working toward 28-straight semesters with a GPA over 3.0 and a CSCAA Scholar-Athlete Team recognition.
Campbell sees the accomplishment as one that is all encompassing and to be shared.
“It’s simply a reflection of the program,” Campbell said. “Our team was team of the year and our staff was staff of the year, it’s everybody contributing. The award happens to go to the coach but it would never happen if you didn’t have everyone around you and yourself performing at a high level on a daily basis. So I look at it as more team of the year.”
Campbell coached the Jayhawks to a 9-4 overall record on the season, including a string of three-consecutive home meets during which Kansas swept 40-straight events. This marks the sixth season in Campbell’s 14-year tenure that KU has tallied more than eight dual wins, and this is the first time he’s done it in back-to-back seasons since 2011.
Campbell was also named coach of the year in 2014 after the squad earned its first-ever second-place finish in Big 12 history. He’s one of two KU coaches to receive the accolade as Gary Kempf earned it in 1999.
Kansas’ Campbell and Miller were joined by a slew of Texas Longhorns as end of the year honorees. On the women’s side, Joanna Evans was named the Newcomer of the Year, while Meghan Houston earned Diver of the Year honors. The Texas men swept the Big 12 accolades with Joseph Schooling named Swimmer of the Year, Townley Haas as Newcomer of the Year, Mark Anderson as Diver of the Year and Eddie Reese as Swimming Coach of the Year. UT’s Matt Scoggin earned recognition as both the Men’s and Women’s Diving Coach of the Year.
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