Kansas breaks even in double dual against Bears and Coyotes
Senior Nadia Khechfe took silver in the three-meter Dive.
LAWRENCE, Kan. – A hot start for Kansas swimming and diving cooled off into Saturday afternoon inside Robinson Natatorium as the Jayhawks posted a 1-1 mark in their last home meet in October against Missouri State and South Dakota. KU defeated the Coyotes, 275-77, before falling short against the Bears, 188-164.
The Jayhawks entered the day in a 40-point deficit to MSU and showed promise with an early victory in the final day’s first event, the 200-yard freestyle relay. The foursome of junior Taylor Sieperda, junior Haley Bishop, sophomore Carly Straight and freshman Manon Manning turned in a time of 1:35.77 to take home the gold.
“It was really important how we started today,” head coach Clark Campbell said. “Yesterday is not what we are about. I think we all were embarrassed and disappointed in our performance Friday night. We challenged the girls to come back today and turn it around. We are going to have heart and courage, and I think you saw that today, especially with those first few events. We swam at a much higher level today than we did yesterday.”
That fast start carried into the 100-yard freestyle where Kansas placed one through four. Sophomore Jenny Nusbaum paced the pack to take home the gold with a time of 52.24. Sieperda took the silver in 52.81, Straight the bronze in 52.99 and junior Breonna Barker swam a time of 53.24 to finish in fourth place.
“We have a lot of good 100-yard freestylers,” Campbell said. “That race is what we are all about.”
Junior Haley Downey backed up her performance last night in the 100-yard breaststroke with another gold performance in the 200-yard breaststroke. Downey led wire-to-wire to finish with a time of 2:20.88 – 1.33 seconds faster than the runner-up finisher.
Outside of those three events, it was all about consistency for Campbell and his squad as they podiumed nine other times. The two events that kept to the theme of regularity for the Jayhawks were the 500-yard freestyle and the three-meter dive.
Nusbaum and freshman Crissie Blomquist raced to a two-three finish in the 500 free with times of 4:58.91 and 5:01.65, respectively. Senior diver Nadia Khechfe closed the meet with a score of 248.90 in the three-meter dive for her second silver in as many days.
“Our program is about consistency,” Campbell said. “I think this meet underscores that. We got out of our routine with fall break earlier in the week, and it showed Friday night. We need to be consistent in everything we do. For student-athletes like swimmers and divers, the more consistent you are, the better you are going to perform.”
Kansas sparked a little momentum in the day’s final event with a first-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Nusbaum, Barker, Bishop and Straight combined for the event’s top time coming in at 3:29.03, crushing its opposition by 2.46 seconds.
“That 400-yard freestyle relay we have is a really good relay,” Campbell said. “Now we need to take that momentum from today and have a good consistent week, and head down to face a conference opponent in TCU.”
Kansas will garner that momentum from the end of the meet and carry it on to face its first league opponent of the season in TCU, Saturday, Oct. 28 in Fort Worth, Texas.
“Next week is all about toughness,” Campbell said. “We are going to train like normal and then head down to TCU Saturday morning, race them Saturday afternoon and head back Saturday night. It is all about being tough.”
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