Large field awaits Kansas at Jean Freeman Invite
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Almost an entire month after a dual meet against Nebraska, Kansas diving will face off once more against the Cornhuskers and a bevy of other teams at the Jean Freeman Invitational in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The meet, which will occur December 2-3, will feature 19 teams from six different states and serve as a test run for the Big 12 Championship in February.
“I tell the girls what we’re doing right now is almost identical to what we’ll do for Big 12s,” said diving coach Gabe Downey. “If we don’t end up where I think we will, I’ll tweak things. It’s a great test for me in the training point; the girls know this is what they’re gearing up for. I want them to mentally approach it the same way they will when we go to Austin in a couple of months. It’s a great tester; we’re going to see some really good girls and some other more mid-major teams. We should be able to figure out how we slot in and how we compete against those top ones.”
Among the field of competitors will be Nebraska, who took the top three spots in its head-to-head against the Jayhawks in November, Iowa State and Minnesota. This will be the first time that all four Kansas divers will compete together, providing a chance for Downey to fully assess the team in a competitive environment. Another first this season for Kansas will be competing on platform dives, in addition to the standard one- and three-meter dives.
“It’s been tough. The girls have been great, they have been working their tails off fighting through,” Downey said. “They’re spending more time with (athletic trainer Brittany Blunt) than with me some days, but they’ve embraced it. They haven’t gotten down, they haven’t gotten defeated and now it’s showing. Now we’re going to see what this team is. I’ve felt for quite a while we’re going to be able to make some significant progress. Unfortunately based on results we haven’t yet, but now we’re healthy and get to find out what we really can do. I think we’re going to be real happy with it. It goes back to that midterm, it’s going to give us a great tester of what we actually are.”
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