Kansas swimming and diving signs nine
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas head coach Clark Campbell announced Thursday afternoon that the swimming and diving team signed nine swimmers during the early signing period that began Wednesday, Nov. 8.
The nine-member class consists of four Oklahomans, two Missourians, a Nebraskan, a Wisconsinite and a local hometown girl from Lawrence, Kansas. All nine members are swimmers and have signed National Letters of Intent (NLI) to continue their education and athletic careers at Kansas:
Dewi Blose (Stillwater, Oklahoma/Stillwater HS); Katie Callahan (Edmond, Oklahoma/Edmond Memorial HS); Claire Campbell (Lawrence, Kansas/Free State HS); Sydnie Horne (Mequon, Wisconsin/Homestead HS); Greta Olsen (Bartlesville, Oklahoma/Bartlesville HS); Franceska Petrosino (St. Louis, Missouri/Lafayette HS); Paige Riekhof (Parkville, Missouri/Parkhill South HS); Kate Steward (Bartlesville, Oklahoma/Bartlesville HS); and Kaitlyn Witt (Lincoln, Nebraska/Lincoln Southwest HS).
“I am really happy with this class,” Campbell said. “We have been working hard on it for a while. It is a really strong class, and like I always tell people, they are good swimmers, but even better individuals, and that is important. Our culture is important to us and these nine are all going to add to that. They are all accomplished athletes and share that same pride in the classroom. They have all swam at a high level and will come in and make an immediate impact.”
A native of Stillwater, Oklahoma, Blose swims for Stillwater High School and the American Energy Swim Club, coached by Chris Van Slooten. Blose is a Junior Nationals qualifier in both the 100- and 200-yard backstroke, and has experience as a solid sprint freestyler. She broke the Oklahoma state record in the 100-yard backstroke when she swam a time of 57.16 for the individual state title in 2017 – she earned that same honor twice prior.
“Dewi has improved so much over the last couple of years I have been recruiting her,” Campbell said. “Getting her on campus and having her train with us, I think she is going to be a huge impact in the Big 12 Conference with her backstroke abilities. She has progressed so much, but there is so much more insider her, so it is going to be a fun ride.”
Callahan hails from Edmond, Oklahoma, and swims for Edmond Memorial High School and the King Marlin Swim Club, coached by John Brown and Heather Devoe. She focuses her attention on the distance freestyle events, where she was a National Club Swimming Association (NCSA) qualifier. She holds a personal best in the 1,650-yard freestyle with a time of 17:06.79 in the 2017 Speedo Sectionals.
“Katie is someone I’ve been watching for years and has improved a lot,” Campbell said. “She will be coming in and filling a void left by Nika Fellows in the distance free events and has a tremendous upside. She has a lot of KU roots with her uncle being an assistant AD here at Kansas, she bleeds Crimson and Blue. She is also really good academically and will be in the engineering school. She is the epitome of student-athlete.”
Campbell’s daughter, Claire, will be a third-generation Jayhawk and is a local swimmer from Free State High School who also swam for Patrick Norman with Ad Astra Area Aquatics. She swims the freestyle, backstroke and individual medley events, and was a NCSA and Junior National 5K Open Water qualifier. She took third at the Kansas 6A Girls State Swimming and Diving Championships in 2017 in both the 200- (1:51.77) and 100-yard (51.54) freestyle events.
“I’ve been working with her for 17 years,” Campbell said. “She’s our third child to swim at the collegiate level, and she’ll be the first one at KU and I’m really excited about having her on the team and getting to coach her. I’ve pretty much watched every meet she has ever done, so I know what her capabilities are and know that the best swimming for her is still years down the line. She knows more about our program than the typical freshman, so she knows that this program will work for her. She has a lot of confidence with the journey she is ready to take on in college.”
Horne is from Mequon, Wisconsin and swam for Homestead High School and the Schroeder YMCA club coached by Eric Johnson. She is a two-time Junior Nationals qualifier in the 100- and 200-yard backstroke. She holds personal-best times of 56.84 and 2:03.00 in the 100- and 200-yard backstroke events, respectively.
“Sydnie is another one of those kids I have been watching for a while and has improved a lot,” Campbell said. “She has so much upside and is nowhere near her potential. She has come a long way and had a tremendous summer. She is going to come in and make our backstroke group better, and is someone we think has a lot of room to grow in our program.”
One of the more accomplished swimmers of the group, Olsen comes to Kansas from Bartlesville High School in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and the Splash Club coached by Chad Englehart. Olsen is a two-time Oklahoma 6A State Champion in the 100-yard butterfly, a Junior Nationals qualifier in the 100- and 200-yard butterfly, a three-time Oklahoma State Champion as part of the Bartlesville High School swim team, and a three-time team champion in Oklahoma 6A cross country. She holds personal-best times of 55.28 and 2:03.19 in the 100- and 200-yard butterfly events.
“Greta is Haley Downey‘s cousin and is sort of following in her footsteps,” Campbell said. “Greta is a great butterfly and sprint freestyler, and somebody who we have been watching for a while. She has a huge upside. She is going to come in and improve a ton and be somebody we are going to be able to look toward in a lot of events.”
Petrosino hails from St. Louis, Missouri and swims for Lafayette High School and the Rockwood Swim Club coached by Mary Liston. She is a sprint freestyler and butterfly swimmer, and a NCSA qualifier. She holds a personal-best time of 51.86 in the 100-yard freestyle that she swam at the 2018 Speedo Sectionals on March 12, 2017.
“Frankie is one of the best competitors that I have ever seen,” Campbell said. “When the lights go on and it is a competitive situation, she really finds another level. She does pretty much all of the freestyle races and is very versatile. I can’t wait to get her and embrace that competitive spirit she has.”
A native of Parkville, Missouri, Riekhof swam for Parkhill South High School and the Tsunami Swim Club coached by Tom Kleiboeker. She is a NCSA qualifier and specializes in freestyle and butterfly. At the 2017 Missouri High School Championships she placed sixth in both the 200-yard freestyle (1:52.93) and the 100-yard butterfly (56.83). She holds personal-best times of 52.52 in the 100-yard freestyle and 56.45 in the 100-yard butterfly, respectively – both at the 2017 Speedo Sectionals.
“Paige is one the best athletes in the water,” Campbell said. “She was a phenomenal soccer player growing up and when she decided to put her energies into swimming, she took off, and we are thankful she did. She brings a lot of athleticisim to the pool and is one heck of a competitor. When the lights are on the race, you want Paige on your side.”
Like Olsen, Steward hails from Bartlesville, Oklahoma and swam for Bartlesville High School and the Splash Club coached by Chad Englehart. She is a fourth-generation Jayhawk and a national qualifier in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke. Steward’s high school team is the three-time defending Oklahoma State Champions– 2015, 2016, 2017. She holds the state record in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:02.18.
“Kate’s mom swam at KU and she is a fourth-generation Jayhawk,” Campbell said. “Kate is a breaststroker, and a lot like Paige and Frankie, Kate is one of the most competitive individuals I have ever seen. She is more than just a breaststroker, she can do the individual medley, she can do freestyle, she’s really versatile. She is a terrific athlete and an amazing competitor.”
Witt rounds out the group coming to Kansas from Lincoln, Nebraska, and swims for her parents, Leigh Ann Fetter-Witt and Mike Witt on the Great Nebraska Swim Team. She is a Junior National qualifier in the 100-yard butterfly and attended Lincoln Southwest High School where she won the 2017 Nebraska High School State Championship in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 54.77.
“Kaitlyn is a coach’s kid,” Campbell said. “Her mom and dad are her coaches right now, so she understands the sport quite a bit, and again, is somebody who has really improved over the last year. She got her first Junior National cut about six months ago, and is somebody who is strong in her events. Her mom finished fifth in the 50-meter freestyle at the 1988 Summer Olympics, and was a 15-time NCAA Champion. So Kaitlyn has a really strong swimming background and is someone who is going to really improve.”
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