Jayhawks claim first dual victory on Senior Day
After a rough first night, it was a day to remember as Kansas swimming and diving team walked away with a victory Saturday afternoon inside Robinson Natatorium, following the conclusion of a two-day, season-opening dual meet with Liberty on Senior Day, 188.5-164.5.
“I was very proud of them,” head coach Clark Campbell said. “We gave them some advice and they went out and they did it, they executed it. And that, as a coach, is so satisfying seeing a team of people that believe in what we are doing and coming back and executing the plan beyond perfection.”
The Jayhawks won 11 of the 19 events over the two-day period and were able to fuel their comeback thanks in part to a clean sweep in Saturday’s 100-yard freestyle.
“She (sophomore Jenny Nusbaum) won the 100 free from heat one and she just lit it up,” Campbell said. “We knew she was going to have a good 100 last night based off of her relay split. So, she just went in and took it to it and then the 100 free with (junior) Breonna Barker and (sophomore) Carly Straight going one, two in the second heat ended in a one, two, three finish for us. And that really set the tone. Everyone was just like ‘alright, this is our day.’ It really opened up a nice wide path and we cut right through it.”
The 100-yard freestyle ended with a time of 52.79 for Straight in third, Barker just barely ahead with a time of 52.74 and Nusbaum swimming a winning time of 51.63.
The swimmers weren’t the only Kansas athletes sweeping the podium at today’s competition. Senior Nadia Khechfe, redshirt-sophomore Caroline McCleary, and sophomore Peri Charapich dominated the diving well both Friday and Saturday as they finished top three in both the one and three-meter events, respectively.
Charapich placed third with a score of 193.28, McCleary in second with 231.00 and Khechfe winning the 3-meter diving event with a total score of 236.70.
“For the first meet I think it’s a lot like the swimmers had, we are ahead of where we were a year ago at this time of year, there’s a lot of good stuff I like,” diving coach Gabe Downey said. “We know what we need to work on from here, but for this time of the year I was pleased with it. They had the right attitude, their methodology on how they went about it was good.”
All of the swimming and diving seniors were recognized Saturday morning prior to the start of any event as they were escorted by family and reminded that their hard work and ambition has not gone unnoticed for the past four years.
“It is really bitter-sweet,” Khechfe said. “Not only did we get to see how the whole team is doing, but how our senior class is doing as well. When you look back at the last four years, its pretty cool to see how far my fellow classmates have come since our freshman year.”
The seniors were able to leave a mark as they never fail to impress the coaches and always have something exciting around the corner for everyone to look forward to.
“All eight of them have grown,” Campbell said. “Nadia won on both boards, Madison Straight just lit up her events, setting a great tone in the 400-yard individual medley. And, Nika Fellows is better than she has ever been in a dual meet. All of this and we’re in October now. So I just can’t say enough about them. They’ve brought a lot to the team. They’re just a fantastic group and we’re very blessed to be led by eight outstanding young women.”
The Jayhawks have some preparation time between now and their next meet, as they won’t compete again until October 20-21 in double dual fashion against South Dakota and Missouri State inside Robinson Natatorium.
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