Past, Future Kansas Swimmers Gaining from Experience at Olympic Trials
OMAHA – Wise perspective came from one of the youngest swimmers linked to Kansas as a pair with Jayhawk ties finished 93rd and 100th in the 200-meter freestyle and 200-meter individual medley preliminaries at the US Olympic Trials Tuesday.
“It was super cool just to be in the pool to begin with,” Kansas signee and first time Trials participant Jenny Nusbaum said. “The first 50 meters, I kind of went out smoother than I should’ve, but it was crazy to look over and see everyone taking off and to look in the crowd. It was off my best, but it was still such a cool experience.”
Nusbaum finished ninth in her 200 free heat with a time of 2:04.97 while Kansas All-American Chelsie Miller also finished ninth in her 200 IM heat to place 100th. Both added time from their entries during prelims swims, but they’re not alone in that regard. According to USA Swimming statistics tweeted Tuesday morning, only 19 percent of women’s swimmers improved on their entry time on Sunday, a number that rose slightly to a still-small 20 percent during Monday’s races.
Nusbaum, who swam Tuesday for her club YMCA of the Triangle Area (YOTA), thinks that statistic is due to the pressure of competing in USA Swimming’s biggest meet.
“There’s plenty of people that are younger like me that have made it, and in multiple events, and there’s also obviously the Olympians,” Nusbaum, a former club teammate of KU freshman phenom Haley Bishop, said. “It’s so tough coming in and knowing you’re going to swim against really fast people and that you really have to push yourself to make it.”
The fast competition was deep Tuesday as all but one of the top-16 qualifiers for finals swam better than two minutes in prelims, including Katie Ledecky who set the pace with a 1:55.60. Also in the finals session, scheduled to begin at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday on NBC, were household names like Simone Manuel, Missy Franklin and Kansas City-area native Shannon Vreeland.
Miller logged her second swim at the 2016 Olympic Trials Tuesday after finishing in the top half of the field in the 400 IM Sunday. She found herself at the back of the field from the beginning, but climbed into ninth by the midpoint of the race. Despite turning in a pair of solid strokes in the back half, she was unable to improve her position any further.
Miller and Kansas sophomore-to-be Libby Walker close their Olympic Trials slates on Wednesday, when they’re both scheduled to compete in the 200-meter butterfly during the morning preliminaries. That session will begin at 10 a.m. and be streamed live at NBCSports.com/live.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.