Top-30 foes await Kansas on California trip
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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas swimming and diving will trade in the sub-30 temperatures of Lawrence, Kansas for top-30 opponents in its upcoming training trip through Los Angeles and San Diego, consisting of a double dual and a four-team invite.
KU’s first stop will be Los Angeles, where the Jayhawks will hit the water in the Spieker Aquatics Center against UCLA and Boise State in a double dual at 2 p.m., CT on Friday, January 6th. The Bruins and Broncos, ranked No. 20 and 29, respectively by CollegeSwimming.com, will be KU’s first top-50 opponents of the 2016-17 season. The meet will serve as a tough test to measure the team’s progress through its winter training regimen. UCLA and Boise State will sport a combined 10-1 dual meet record, 4-0 against top-50 competition, heading into the clash. Eleven swimmers from the three competing schools were invited to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials this past summer, a testament to the high level of talent that will be in the pool on Friday.
“This will be our toughest dual meet competition all year,” Kansas head coach Clark Campbell said. “Both teams are very good and we’ll have to rise to the challenge. It will be a fast meet.”
As fast as the meet will be, the Jayhawks will have to move on even faster, trekking over 100 miles down the California coast to San Diego to compete the next day in the San Diego Shootout. The meet will commence at 12 p.m., CT, leaving the Jayhawks a short recovery time from their double dual a day before. KU will join a field consisting of Colorado State, North Texas and host San Diego. Though none of the competition in this field is ranked in the top 50, North Texas and San Diego boast invitational wins this season and all three teams should push the Jayhawks to swim their fastest.
“We like to put our team into challenging situations, whether it be in training or racing,” said Campbell. “At Los Angeles the challenge is the competition will be really hard and we get in at 5 p.m., the night before the meet and we’re going to get up early the next day and do what we can do. The next morning we’re going to get up early, drive two-and-a-half hours south and do it again in San Diego. It’s different because the challenges the last few weeks have been training challenges, this is more competition-related and getting to learn about yourself quite a bit.”
Kansas hopes to put the finishing touches on its winter training program before heading into the next phase of preparation for the Big 12 Championships in February. The team’s intensive winter training regimen started right after the Kansas Classic in November, culminating in the Jingle Bell Time Trials, an unofficial intrasquad meet that gave the coaches a sense of progression for each swimmer before they rested for the holidays. The California trip provides a change of scenery as the swimmers resume their training, an opportunity for competition and additional time to build team chemistry.
“After Big 12s and NCAAs, I would say this is the second-most important time of the year,” Campbell stated. “What you do here you will see come through in championship season. I’ve been really impressed with the team and we are really grateful we were able to do this.”
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