Jayhawks claim second-straight open water title
On a near perfect Saturday morning at Lone Star Lake Park, the Kansas swimming trio of freshman Lauryn Parrish, sophomore Jenny Nusbaum and junior Haley Bishop earned the school’s second Collegiate Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Open Water swim title in as many years.
Parrish led the threesome in her first collegiate race with a fourth-place finish of 1:05:02.27. Nusbaum was right on her heels in fifth-place with a time of 1:05:26.60, while Bishop earned a ninth-place finish with a time of 1:05:33.51 – and for the second-straight year KU had three swimmers crack the top-10.
“It’s very different from what you train for every day,” Parrish said. “It’s really a mental game more than anything else and you’ve just got to trust your training to take you home. It was very different, very fun, and I really liked it.”
The threesome navigated the 5,000-meter course (roughly 3.1 miles) faster than any other school earning the team title with a low score of 18 points. Rice had two swimmers in the top-10 and placed second with a team score of 22 points, while Missouri finished third with a collective score of 25 points.
“In a scored meet, it’s really important to race from the front,” head coach Clark Campbell said. “You try to stay close together because having gaps can really run your score up. Our three women stuck together and raced well. It was a good way to start the season.”
Starting the season off right is important, but not as important as the start of an open water race. Swimming is not known for being a contact sport, but the mass start of a 5,000-meter race in open water quickly changes that.
Fifty-three women started Saturday’s race all at the same time, jockeying for position the first 500 meters. This included a tight group of athletes basically swimming on top of one another, unlike anything that would be experienced in a pool. For some, it might be very different, but for others, like Nusbaum, it was exciting.
“The field was a lot deeper and faster this year, and it made for an exciting race,” Nusbaum said. “As we moved towards that first buoy there was a lot of kicking, getting hit in the head, and fighting people off. It was a little more intense than last year, but it was fun.”
The men’s race was not quite as tight, as Missouri ran away with the team title having placed three swimmers in the top-five for a low total of eight points. The Tigers’ Gustavo Gutrierrez took the top spot for the men by over two minutes with a sub-one hour finish of 59:25.05, crushing last year’s men’s winning time of 1:01:06.43.
Southern Illinois’ Bryn Hadley earned the women’s individual title after posting a time of 1:04:39.22, over a minute faster than last year’s winner of Kansas’ Libby Walker (1:05:48.32).
Kansas opens its regular season with a dual meet against Liberty, October 6-7, at Robinson Natatorium. As with all swim meets, admission is free.
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