Kansas Swimming and Diving Heads West for First Meet of 2015

LAWRENCE, Kan. – In the midst of the University’s break from the classroom, Kansas swimming and diving looks to face tough competition and ramp up training with the first meet of the New Year against a pair of West Coast powers in a double-dual against UCLA and San Diego in Los Angeles Saturday.

The first competition of 2015 brings a stiff challenge, as UCLA enters the meet fresh off a 2014 AT&T USA Winter Nationals title and ranks eighth overall in collegiate swimming. The Bruins also have home pool advantage as Kansas competes outdoors for the first time this season in Dirks Pool at the Spieker Aquatics Center on UCLA’s campus.

Kansas has had one of its most successful starts to any season and continues to build toward its goal of a successful Big 12 Championship meet in February and sending as many swimmers as possible to the NCAA Championship meet.

“They will provide us plenty of competition,” Kansas head coach Clark Campbell said of the two teams. “That’s the way you get better. For us, we want to continue the confidence theme. We’ll go in there against tough competition, but we still have to race confidently. If we go and race hard but we’re out-touched by tenths or hundredths of a second, that’s fine. We just have to go in there, lace up and race against the best.”

UCLA set five school records in fall 2014, three by Linnea Mack in the 100- and 200-yard freestyle and 100-backstroke. The sophomore and San Diego junior Sarah Reierson will go head-to-head with KU’s Yulduz Kuchkarova, who in the final meet of 2014, set a Robinson Natatorium record in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 1:57.83. The time put Kuchkarova third overall in the Big 12 and top-100 for the nation.

Haley Molden will face San Diego’s Taylor Noonan and UCLA’s Katy Campbell in the 200-yard freestyle. Molden’s season-best time of 1:50.94 has the potential to edge out Noonan, with her best of 1:51.00. Campbell’s time of 1:46.94 at the AT&T Winter Nationals ranks her 46th in the nation for that event.

After each swimming best times at Winter Nationals in the 100-yard breaststroke, Bryce Hinde, Lydia Pocisk and Hannah Driscoll will see UCLA’s Jessica Khojasteh once again. The Bruins senior placed in the team’s all-time top-10 for both breaststroke events at the national meet. Her top time of 1:01.85 in the 100 is just four-tenths ahead of Hinde’s best time of 1:02.24. San Diego’s Julia Personeni holds the highest team time of 1:06.35.

Keenan Lineback holds the top time for San Diego in the 200-yard butterfly, swimming a 2:03.88 at time trials during Winter Nationals. Deanna Marks leads the Jayhawks with a 2:06.26, while UCLA’s top-five all swam under two minutes at the national competition.

Chelsie Miller, a 2014 Big 12 Champion, will be pitted against Arlyn Upshaw of UCLA in the IM events. They will be matched by San Diego’s Reierson in the 200-yard IM and Lineback in the 400.
Graylyn Jones, who qualified for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships on the one-meter board, and the Jayhawk divers look to compete against December’s Pac-12 Diver of the Month, Maria Polyakova. The Bruins freshman set the school record on the three-meter board at the University of Georgia Invitational Dec. 5.

After the meet, the team will head south to San Diego for an outdoor training trip. Campbell plans to continue his “power phase” of training, focusing more on pacing for races and shorter rest intervals.

“We look at the engine we’ve grown all fall and now we work on making it faster,” Campbell said. “I’ve been so pleased with how the kids have trained through fall semester and since we’ve been back they’ve been outstanding. Things have definitely been going the right direction, but for us to take that next step we need to start switching things up a little bit. The training will be more challenging. We’ll have a really nice weight room to continue our strength development. I wouldn’t say we’re doing more; we’re just doing a lot faster stuff.”

The meet in Los Angeles will be the only competition for the Jayhawks over winter break. The team will hit the road against William Jewell and Truman State at the end of the month (Jan. 24).

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