Jayhawks add six commitments for 2019-20
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Six swimmers and divers have signed to continue their academic and athletic careers at The University of Kansas, head coach Clark Campbell announced Wednesday afternoon.
The group of signees hails from five different states including California, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. The class is comprised of the following student-athletes:
- Mackenzie Bravence (Overland Park, Kansas/Olathe East HS)
- Franny Cable (Centennial, Colorado/Arapahoe HS)
- Erin Downey (Bartlesville, Oklahoma/Bartlesville HS)
- Amanda Fingerut (Lafayette, California/Acalanes HS)
- Amelie Lessing (Boulder, Colorado/Fairview HS)
- Autumn Looney (St. Louis, Missouri/St. Charles HS)
“We are really pleased with this recruiting class,” Campbell said. “We will lose a small senior class so our incoming class will be small as well. They are going to come in and make us better right off of the bat. We are so happy for (head diving coach) Gabe Downey’s success recruiting divers and excited about both of our divers coming in. We are going to be even better next year, so it will be exciting.”
Bravence swims for Olathe East High School, coached by Dave Youker and trains with Gardner Howland with the Kansas City Blazers. Bravence is a four-time letterwinner; three-year second team all state (2016-18) honoree; and school record holder in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 57.71. Bravence has 10 relatives who attended Kansas, and a brother, Ben, who swam at Minnesota.
“Mackenzie comes from a KU family and has grown up being a Jayhawk all of her life,” Campbell said. “She is coached by Gardner Howland for her swim club and then for high school she is coached by Dave Youker, who is a KU alum as well. So she has got a lot of KU blood in her. She is a really up-and-coming backstroker. She missed her winter junior cut by a couple of tenths this summer. She is somebody who is going to do really well because she really believes in Kansas. We are really excited about working with her and getting someone who can score at the conference meet.”
Cable dives at Arapahoe High School, and is coached by Jeff Smith. Cable has compiled a number of accomplishments thus far in her diving career as a four-time letterwinner. She is a 2018 All-American diver, the 2018 5A Girls State Champion, a two-time Centennial League Champion and undefeated in the state of Colorado in 2018. Cable holds the six-dive pool record and team record with scores of 319.90 and 328.80, respectively. In 11-dive competitions she holds the team record and league record with a score of 544.40.
“Franny comes from a smaller program, but (has) a great coach who has a lot of background,” Downey said. “She has come around pretty fast as a diver and that just shows all the work that she has put in. She is a really hard worker (and) is really strong on springboard, but I know she is open to doing more tower as well. We know a lot of what we are going to get, but I think the best is yet to come with her.”
Erin Downey is the sister of current Jayhawk Haley Downey and swims at Bartlesville High School and for the Phillips 22 Splash club team, both coached by Chad Englehart. She was a two-time finalist in the 2018 Oklahoma 6A State Championships, placing runner-up in both the 100-yard breaststroke (1:03.47) and the 200-yard individual medley (2:03.18) behind current Jayhawk freshman Kate Steward. Erin Downey was a 2017-18 National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (NISCA)/Speedo All-American swimmer in the 100-yard breaststroke after her performance at the 2018 state competition. In addition, she was honored by USA Swimming as a Scholastic All-American.
“Haley’s sister is coached by Chad Englehart with Phillips 66 Splash club team and also at her high school. Chad is a KU guy and we are really excited to have her coming in,” Campbell said. “She is a really (an) upand-comer in the individual medley. She is a breaststroker like her sister, but she is probably more of an individual medley swimmer than a breaststroker. She is a versatile swimmer – (she has) four really solid strokes – and doesn’t really have a weak stroke, which will make her really good in the IM. She has been improving by massive amounts the last couple of years so we are really excited about getting her, working with her and having her contribute to the team. It is really going to help having her sister here to help her feel comfortable and ready. She is really excited to be a Jayhawk.”
The second diver to sign with the team, Fingerut, is a two-time letterwinner at Acalanes High School for diving, coached by Doug Schwandt. Fingerut is also a club diver for the Stanford Diving Club, led by head coach Patrick Jeffery. Fingerut is a North Coast Section (NCS) qualifier, was named the Norcal Diver of the Year in 2015, and Regional and Zone qualifier. She placed second in the 2017 California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Girls springboard competition, De La Salle High School Varsity Diving Invitational, with an 11-dive score of 409.70.
“Amanda comes from the top Age Group program in the country,” Downey said. “She is another one who has a lot of room to grow as a diver. Her coach has done a great job helping her improve and that is why we were so interested in her, but the best is yet to come. Amanda is very versatile, she is good on one-meter, three-meter and tower; I can’t wait to see which one is going to shine best for her. (She is) Just a terrific kid who will do well for us.”
Another Colorado native, Lessing, is a letterwinner at Fairview High School, coached by Bob Smartt and also swims for the Flatiron Swimming in Boulder, Colorado, for head coaches Wolfgang Dittrich and Tricia Butcher. Lessing was a member of Fairview’s high school team taking the crown at the 2016 5A Girls’ State Championship. Lessing holds the school record in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:05.15.
“Amelie is a lot like Erin, she is very good at the IM. She is versatile at other strokes too,” Campbell said. “She is a really good flyer and a really good distance freestyler. She has been at Junior Nationals and is a very accomplished swimmer. She has been a Colorado State finalist many times at her high school state meet. She is going to develop into somebody who is going to really help us not only at the Big 12 level but at the national level as well, just like everyone else. She just missed the 2016 Olympic Trial cut when she was 14 or 15 (years old). She’ll definitely come in and be one of our more versatile swimmers. She can do a lot of different things and she will be a contributor right away.”
Looney is a swimmer from St. Charles High School in Missouri for head coach Tim Lewarchick. She also swims for the club team Rec-Plex Sharks and is coached by Erik Strom. Looney is a four-time gold medalist at the 2018 Ozark Swimming Senior Championships in the 50-yard (24.03) and 100-yard (52.14) freestyle events and in the 100-yard (55.89) and 200-yard (2:05.23) butterfly events. She placed first at the 2018 Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) Girls State Class 1 Championships in both the 50-yard freestyle touching the wall at 23.68 and 100-yard butterfly with a personal-best time of 54.99
“Autumn is a very accomplished butterflier and sprint freestyler as well as a Missouri State Champion in a couple of events and a finalist for multiple USA Swimming Sectionals,” Campbell said. “She is going to come in and fill in the gaps from (2018-19 Kansas seniors) Haley Bishop and Cassaundra Pino in the butterfly, (along) with Amelie. Autumn is definitely more on the sprint end of things and is going to help us a lot not only in our individual events, but also in relays.”
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