Jayhawk Quartet Earn Scholar All-America Honors
LAWRENCE, Kan.- Whether it be a rookie, a veteran or somewhere in-between, the expectations to succeed in both the pool and the classroom remain the same for the Kansas swimming and diving squad members. A week after earning College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) team recognition, four Jayhawks – senior Bryce Hinde, junior Graylyn Jones, junior Sammie Schurig and freshman Libby Walker – earned Honorable Mention honors for their academic and athletic performances during the 2015-16 season.
Hinde, Jones, Schurig and Walker each tallied a GPA of 3.50 or better, while also achieving a NCAA ‘B’ standard in their respected events. Walker is one of 139 swimmers that were named to the Honorable Mention roster who also qualified for Olympic Trials in Omaha, June 26 – July 3.
“We all hold each other to a really high standard when it comes to academics,” Walker said. “All of us work really hard inside and outside of the pool. I think it’s important to understand that we’re here to work hard in the water but we’re also students. We’re setting ourselves up to be successful when we’re done being an athlete.”
Outstanding academic contributions from the quartet have helped Kansas to 28-consecutive semesters of earning accolades for its performance in the classroom. The squad has averaged a combined GPA of 3.0 or better over the past 14 years under the helm of head coach Clark Campbell. In the spring the 27 swimmers and divers totaled a 3.27 GPA.
“We have a really great group of girls who are passionate about swimming and passionate about getting their education and pursuing a degree in something that they’re interested in,” Walker said. “It was definitely something I looked into when I chose a school, I wanted a team that held themselves to a very high standard with a team GPA. It shows a lot that you’re not all about your sport, but that you’re willing to work hard on two different things.”
Walker, a Columbia, Missouri native, turned in a successful rookie season, etching her name in the Kansas all-time record books, recording the third-fastest time in history in the 200-yard butterfly (1:59.36) and a pair of fourth-fastest times in the 1,650-yard freestyle (16:32.51) and the 400-yard individual medley (4:18.46). The sophomore-to-be earned All-Big 12 First and Second-Team accolades in three of her swims at the conference meet, finishing second in the 1,650 free, fourth in the 200 fly and fifth in the 400 IM.
Walker has qualified for the Olympic Trials in the 200 fly and 400 IM, and will be joined by former teammate Chelsie Miller in both events. The duo will be two of five swimmers with Kansas connections competing in the meet.
While Walker found success in her first year, veteran Bryce Hinde hung up her cap and suit as a six-time event finalist, including at least one top-eight swim in all four years at the Big 12 Championships. This season, Hinde swam KU’s fastest 100-yard breaststroke (1:02.41) and second-fastest 200 breast (2:17.94) to help the Jayhawks tally the most points at the league meet in school history while finishing as runner-up. The Fulton, Kansas product closed her career as the school-record holder in the 100 breast (1:01.98) and is one of KU’s top-five fastest women in the 200 breast. Her top 2016 swim in the 100 breast achieved the NCAA ‘B’ standard.
Schurig rounds out the swimmers with top contributions during her junior campaign in the 200-yard backstroke. The Topeka, Kansas product broke the two-minute mark in the 200 back for the first time in her career while turning in a NCAA ‘B’ cut at Big 12s with a swim of 1:59.05. She earned All-Big 12 Second Team honors, placing sixth in the event. Schurig also placed eighth in the 500-yard freestyle (4:56.45) and ninth in the 200-yard freestyle with a season-best time of 1:50.62 at the league meet.
Jones qualified for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships on both the one- and three- meter boards. The rising senior etched her top scores against Nebraska-Omaha totaling a 269.75 in the one-meter and 256.30 on the three-meter. Jones held the team’s top one-meter score during the 2015-16 season.
Collectively, Kansas finished second at the 2016 conference meet, while registering the most team points in the Big 12 era. It was the second time in the last three seasons that the Jayhawks placed in the top-two at Big 12s. The record-breaking squad will return 22 members and add seven newcomers for the 2016-17 campaign.
To be selected to the CSCAA Scholar All-America Team, swimmers and divers must have achieved a grade point average of 3.50 or higher and have participated in their respective NCAA/NAIA/NJCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. Honorable Mention selections have similarly achieved a GPA of 3.50 and achieved a “B” time standard or competed at their respective diving qualifying meets. There a total of 853 first-team selections and 928 students were named as Honorable Mentioned selections.
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