Jayhawk Insider: Let's get it started
Kansas swimming alumni, Linda Ellis Sims will be doing much more than just cheering on her Jayhawk swimmers at the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) National Open Water Championships when tomorrow morning, September 22, rolls around the corner.
Many athletes will be surrounded by their teammates, family, and friends to encounter the 3.1-mile race that they face at the annual event, but what they have not had the chance to do is swim with a fellow Jayhawk swimmer cheering by their side.
“Linda will be our official starter for the race Saturday morning,” head coach Clark Campbell said. “We knew we wanted someone to come start it and we reached out to Linda first. She is such a true- blue Jayhawk, and a former student-athlete swimmer.”
Ellis Sims is a 1979 alum and was a swimmer for Kansas for the first two years of her college career. She began to swim for the team her freshman year, a time when women were not given the opportunity to receive academic scholarships in the program.
During that time she landed a school record in the 200-yard butterfly while also pursuing a major in chemical engineering. Reaching towards her third-year on the swimming and diving team, academic scholarships were introduced to the program.
Because of her love of academics and swimming, Ellis Sims re-evaluated her path of focus and decided to retire from swimming and push towards her academic goals.
Although she was no longer on the team, Ellis Sims’ passion for the University and athletics gave her the desire to continue her love and support through photography in Kansas Athletics and eventually move on to start a career at ExxonMobil, and never take her love for KU for granted.
“I think KU gave me the life experience, with athletics being a big part of it, to be successful in the world,” explained Ellis Sims. “I use that every day and that’s what allowed me to accomplish what I have in life. If I can do anything to help future students, that’s behind my motivation to take what KU gave me and pay it forward.”
Everyday Ellis Sims radiates Jayhawk pride on what she does. She has a great deal of pride and has served on many committees to show her appreciation towards the school. So much so that Ellis Sims was honored with the Fred Ellsworth Medallion in 2011, the highest honor the KU Alumni Association gives out.
“She has done a lot for the program and for Kansas,” Campbell said. “She has been such a good connection for our student-athletes who are engineers and has really helped our kids along the way and in their Journey.”
Ellis Sims gets the Open Water Championships started at 8:30 a.m. for the women’s race, with the men slated to follow at 10:30 a.m. at Lone Star Lake.
Admission is free and fans are encouraged to come out to Lone Star Lake Saturday morning to support the team. Parking will be available in the lot above the beach and access to the shoreline and road will be nearby using the staircase.
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