Jayhawks to Take on Bulldogs and Cardinals in Home Stretch to Conference Championship

LAWRENCE, Kan.- Three meets over four days of racing during the next three weekends are all that remain before Kansas travels to the Big 12 Championships at the end of February. This Saturday, The Jayhawks look to make final adjustments in events the athletes will be competing in at the league meet as they take on the Bulldogs of Truman State University and the William Jewell Cardinals at Mabee Center pool in Liberty, Missouri.

The double-dual will provide a showcase for greater Kansas City-area swimmers to see both Division I and II, men’s and women’s swimming. The home stretch will be just a bit longer than usual as the athletes will race in a 25-meter pool instead of the usual 25-yards.

“We understand meters more than other teams,” Campbell said of the 25-meter practice pool in Robinson Natatorium. “But it’s a rarity for us to compete in meters. Our international swimmers Yulya (Kuchkarova) and Pia (Pavlic) understand it the best. For most of us, it’s just 110 percent of our time in yards. This meet, it won’t be so much about the length, but more about how we approach our races.”

Campbell has set his eye on several pool records that have the potential to be broken this weekend.

“I think there are several races where we can get Jayhawk names up on the board and that would be fun. It’ll be a really good opportunity to see where we are after the training camp. Doing the meet in short course meters, going for pool records, and swimming some new events will be exciting for us.”

Truman State, ranked No. 14 in NCAA Division II features freshman Nikki Sisson as the team’s top performer in the sprint and mid-distance freestyle events, as well as Hannah Nicks, who should put up good competition for KU’s Yulduz Kuchkarova in the backstroke. Senior Abby Hempen leads the Bulldogs in breaststroke with a season-best time of 1:04.89 in the 100 and 2:17.22 in the 200.

The women of William Jewell currently rank 35th among all Division II swim programs, and the men rank 30th. Ida Nyman, a junior from Sweden, was announced as the PNC Great Lakes Valley Conference Athlete of the Week last Wednesday. Nyman won the 400 individual medley (4:42.08) and 200 backstroke against Saint Louis University and Bellarmine Jan. 9. She finished second in the 200 IM (2:15.07) and 100 backstroke (1:01.65) against SLU, but won those events against the Knights.

Campbell and the Jayhawks will also look to create strong relays. Being worth double points over individual events at most meets including the Big 12 Championship, having the fastest relay team possible is essential to securing points.

“There are still some battles going on for spots, but we want to set things now so that the next three weeks we can get our exchanges down,” Campbell said. “We want to let them figure out how the relay chemistry is going to be and be quick and clean off the blocks. These next three meets we’re going to be putting together our best relay teams so they have plenty of time to work together. We’re really looking to put the last-minute finishing touches on main events for our team. We’ll be doing a few different events that people will swim at Big 12s, but not necessarily against Arkansas and Iowa State.”

The Jayhawks will face Arkansas and Iowa State at Robinson Natatorium on Jan. 30th and Feb. 6-7, respectively. The meet against the Razorbacks has been moved up to 10 a.m. to accommodate for KU men’s basketball against K-State at 1 p.m. All meets at Robinson Natatorium are free and open to the public.

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