Kansas still in second after day two of Big 12 Championship
AUSTIN, Texas – Flourished with personal-best performances, the Kansas swimming and diving team took sole possession of second place following day two of the Big 12 Championship, Thursday night at the Jamail Swimming Center in Austin, Texas.
In Kansas’ preliminary performances they spotted seven ‘A’ final spots and five ‘B’ final spots for the chance to nail points up on the board for the first full-day of individual competitions. Madison Straight broke her season personal-best in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:02.88 placing seventh, and Taylor Sieperda broke her personal record in the 50-yard freestyle (23.28).
“A lot of lifetime bests today,” head coach Clark Campbell said. “We kicked off with a really good 500-yard freestyle in prelims and got a lot of momentum going and kept that going through all of our preliminary events. We usually struggle with the Thursday session of this meet, but we started off really well today. It was really solid top to bottom. Going into today we had talked about going into the preliminaries and being aggressive and they were. It set us up for a really nice final.”
The Jayhawks kept that momentum from the morning with them through the day’s finals. Nine of the racers who competed in finals dropped time from the previous events in the morning. All of the 500-yard freestyle swimmers in finals dropped times from prelims as well as three lifetime-bests. Jenny Nusbaum placed fourth with a career-best time of 4:47.62. Lauryn Parrish followed suit in fifth with a personal-best of 4:50.40. Nika Fellows placed seventh with a season-best time of 4:51.32. The ‘B’ 500-yard freestyle consisted of Crissie Blomquist finishing in second with a career-best time of 4:51.52.
“In the 500-yard freestyle we were better than we have ever been,” Campbell said. “They were absolutely spectacular in both the prelims and the finals. They started the team off on the right foot and gave the team a lot of confidence, and was able to carry that on into finals.”
Along with the 500-yard freestyle, there were personal records in every event following. Elizabeth Amato-Hanner placed fifth in the ‘A’ finals of the 200-yard individual medley and cut her time down to 2:00.83. She was joined by Madison Straight right behind her in sixth with a season-low time of 2:03.01. Katy Schlies came in third for the ‘B’ group putting in a 2:04.54, another personal-best for the Jayhawks.
In the 50-yard freestyle, Sieperda fell short of her prelims time, but still had an impressive 23.38 putting her in eighth. Haley Bishop (23.21) and Carly Straight (23.33) followed in the 50-yard freestyle ‘B’ finals, both beating their preliminary times as well.
The diving well also had an impressive day on the one-meter board as Caroline McCleary made it to finals and nailed personal-high score of 288.35 points. Nadia Khechfe fell short of finals, but was able to land 11th with a score of 248.85 points. Following the diving event, Thursday’s competitions ended with the 400-yard medley relay, where Kansas was just .08 seconds off of being on KU’s record board.
Manon Manning, Haley Downey, Bishop and Nusbaum posted the second-fastest time in school history of 3:38.53 for the creating an exciting end to a great day of competition for the Jayhawks.
It was the first time Kansas has been over 200 points at this point on a Thursday at the Big 12 Championship. They end Thursday with a total score of 218 points trailing only Texas that scored 374 points.
The Big 12 Championship continues Friday morning, Feb. 23 at 10 a.m. with the preliminary rounds, and continues with finals competition at 5p.m. for three-meter diving and at 6 p.m. for the swimming events.
FloSwimming will continue to live stream all of the preliminary and final events on demand. Swimming and diving fans can also follow the results live through the Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championship Central website.
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