Kansas claims the Kansas Classic crown
TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas swimming and diving team had a lot to be proud of Sunday as it took home the crown at the sixth-annual Kansas Classic meet inside Capitol Federal Natatorium at the Hummer Sports Park in Topeka, Kansas.
As a team, the Jayhawks racked up a total of 1,279.5 points, nearly doubling Iowa State’s second-place score of 642.5. Behind them sat North Texas, landing a top-three finish with its score of 575.
Twelve swimmers were named to the Kansas Classic All-Invite Team, including juniors Jenny Nusbaum and Haley Downey. In addition, the duo swam its way into the overall top-two individual point scorers of the meet. Nusbaum scored a total of 68 points, making her the Most Valuable Swimmer of the Meet, while Downey scored 64.
The Kansas team had 47 Jayhawks sitting in top-five spots, 15 of which were accumulated during the finals session of the three-day competition.
The Jayhawks set themselves up for success at the start of Sunday’s finals when sophomore Crissie Blomquist, Nusbaum and freshman Claire Campbell finished first through third, respectively, in the 1,650-yard freestyle. Blomquist made the race even more exciting by setting a new meet record with her time of 16:29.88.
Freshman Kate Steward came on strong when she dropped her 200-yard breaststroke time from the prelims by over three seconds to set a new meet and Kansas school record of 2:12.99.
The Jayhawks dominated the 200-yard butterfly as all eight ‘A’ finalists were from Kansas, setting the tone for an exciting 400-yard freestyle relay to close the meet.
- Sophomore Crissie Blomquist started off finals with a winning swim of 16:29.88 in the 1,650-yard freestyle event, setting a career best, the Kansas Classic meet record, an USA Winter Nationals qualifying time and a NCAA ‘B’ cut.
- Freshman Kate Steward set a KU school record and Kansas Classic meet record when she touched the wall first in the 200-yard breaststroke with a career-best time of 2:12.99, landing her a NCAA ‘B’ cut.
- Senior Haley Bishop won the 200-yard butterfly to conclude the meet’s individual events, touching the wall at 2:02.13.
- The 400-yard freestyle relay squad consisting of sophomore Manon Manning, Nusbaum, sophomore Lauryn Parrish and sophomore Carly Straight wrapped up the meet with a winning time of 3:23.45.
- Overall on Sunday during the finals, Jayhawks combined to set 12 individual career bests.
Head coach Clark Campbell
On his thoughts on the conclusion of the meet:
“I can’t believe our last session was our best session, but it was. It was a great way to end the meet. Everyone is kind of running on fumes on that last relay because of all the racing that we have been doing, but I am really glad that they really dug deep. They got an in-season best time but with the amount of racing that everyone did it is very impressive how everyone finished.”
On Jenny Nusbaum being named Most Valuable Swimmer of the Meet:
“She did four races and this was a really heavy load for Jenny. We wanted to use this meet to set up (for) Nationals and it is our last really hard workout before Nationals, so she is starting to come down and feel better. She was just a work force with everything that she did and I am very happy with how she preformed from beginning to end.”
On the team’s performance overall:
“Crissie Blomquist was just absolutely amazing in the mile, her best meet yet as a Jayhawk. She got her Winter National time, the meet record and the NCAA ‘B’ cut. Then Kate Steward’s 200 breast was big time. That was another meet record and NCAA ‘B’ cut, she really stepped up big time and did really well.”
On the team’s next competition:
“We have Winter Nationals in two weeks, so we will get ready for that. For the rest of them we go down, we are past the midterm of the season and they got an ‘A’, it was a good way to end the fall and we still have some championship swimming to do but now the focus is on the big prize which is Big 12s.”
Junior Jenny Nusbaum
On how she is feeling now that the meet is over:
“(I am) Pretty tired, (and) glad that it is over, but it was a really good last day. I knew the mile was going to be really good and Crissie (Blomquist) killed it. I was so impressed with how she swam. I was also really happy with my time too, I dropped about 11 seconds from what I swam last year, which is really impressive because it did not feel that great. We all made it through and we all really pushed and I think we had a really good last day.”
On what energized the team on the final day of the Kansas Classic:
“We have all been working hard the past few months and this is what we have been working toward. The last day is always tough, but everyone has been focusing on staying positive and energetic and (we wanted to) show everyone what KU is about. I think we did that really well today.”
The Jayhawks get ready to travel to Greensboro, N.C. for the three-day USA Winter Nationals competition Nov. 29 through Dec. 1 inside the Greensboro Aquatic Center.
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