Jayhawk Insider: Peak of the season
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas swimming and diving team has been building off of each dual meet of the fall as it ends the first half of the 2018-19 regular season with an impressive 5-0 record, four of which were dual meets.
This unblemished record is a start to a season that the team has not seen in over two decades, as its one and only dual loss of the 1995 season was to Georgia late in the season, on January 20.
The Jayhawks set the tone for the current season when they won the double dual against Missouri State and South Dakota State, Oct. 12 and 13, with a fast and furious pace that would stick with them for the dual meets to follow.
“We are really happy with how we performed at our double dual and it enabled us to have some time to reflect on the technical things we need to work on,” head coach Clark Campbell said. “We were able to get right back to work again and continue the process of getting better for February, so for them (the team), it is tiring.”
To follow that exciting first dual of the season, the team went and swam its way into gold in all 14 events competed in against TCU on Oct. 27, to end their vigorous training known as ‘Rocktober.’
When the team traveled to take on familiar rival, Nebraska, the following weekend, the Jayhawks knew they had to take that same energy with them to Lincoln. In an exciting meet, the team had to dig in for competitive flair when claiming the title came down to the final relay of the meet. Kansas broke the norm when it won that rivalry meet at Nebraska’s home pool, 152-146.
“We faced some adversity and we came in against a team that swam great but we were able to match the energy,” Campbell said. “We talked about controlling the ‘controllables’; our effort, attitude and our enthusiasm and they did a wonderful job. (I’m) Very impressed with how the team is coming together.”
Continuing to climb the mountain that is the fall portion of the swimming and diving season, the team landed its fifth win at the Kansas Classic, Nov. 16-18, inside Topeka’s Capitol Federal Natatorium. There, the Jayhawks won the championship meet by an astonishing 637 points. Overall, KU swimmers and divers combined for a score of 1,279.5 points, nearly doubling the runner-up, Iowa State’s total of 642.5.
Campbell was interested to see how team would handle this championship-style meet compared to the four dual meets they had encountered leading up to the Kansas Classic.
“We view this meet (Kansas Classic) as our ‘midterm exam’ and we want to see where we are at halfway through,” Campbell said. “We had a tremendous fall, one of the best falls that we have ever had. So, we want to rest a little bit, put on the technical suits and wind up again to swim a championship, which is different than a dual meet. We use dual meets to assess ourselves race wise with our focus on the championship meets. Because we don’t do as many championship meets as dual meets they become much harder with prelims and finals, and all of the racing that takes place.”
There is no denying the Jayhawks have exuded high energy so far this season and it showed when the team had 55 career bests at the Kansas Classic, as well as four meet records and a new KU school record set by freshman Kate Steward.
Each student-athlete has been showing great power and passion as they plunge into the pool. Junior Jenny Nusbaum remarked on how happy and proud she is of herself and the team with their performances at this point in the season.
“We definitely have been ramping it up this year, so I have been feeling a lot stronger,” Nusbaum said. “Going into this meet (the Kansas Classic), I wasn’t really sure where I would be, but I definitely have been really happy with where I am at this time. (I’m) Hoping that at Nationals we can really bring it as a team.”
Now, at the peak of the season, the team is preparing for Winter Nationals, which run Nov. 29 through Dec. 1, in Greensboro, North Carolina, where a handful of Jayhawks will represent KU with their full force.
“This (Kansas Classic) pretty much signifies the end of the fall part of our season,” Campbell concluded. “We have Winter Nationals in two weeks, so we will get ready for that. We are past the ‘midterm’ of the season and they got an ‘A.’ It was a good way to end the fall and we still have some championship swimming to do, but now the focus is on the big prize, which is (the) Big 12 Championships.” FOLLOW
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