Seniors Shine in Sweep Over Mavericks
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Four years ago a quartet of freshman were still getting acclimated to collegiate swimming. Saturday, seniors Laura Bilsborrow, Bryce Hinde, Chelsie Miller and Haley Molden helped cap an impressive reign inside Robinson Natatorium running a streak to 40 consecutive event wins at home, including a sweep of Nebraska-Omaha, 187-88.
Over the course of their career as Jayhawks, the veterans have contributed to one of Kansas’ most successful four-years stints, including the team’s highest finish (second) at the 2014 Big 12 Championship – a feat the team hopes to repeat in less than a month. Today’s victory was only a small taste of the strides Kansas has made over the years. This season, Kansas has not tallied a home loss since the first weekend of November. KU finished its home slate with an overall record of 6-1, running its tally over the last four years to 30 wins in its own pool.
“We have had a lot of success at home, but that doesn’t come without a lot of hard work,” Hinde said. “This team is really good this year, it’s slowly every year gotten a lot better and so it’s been amazing to end this way as a senior. It’s definitely bittersweet, I can’t believe it’s here and gone already. I just love KU.”
The seniors’ dedication to the team has been evident in more than just finding success in the pool.Graylyn Jones
“All four have been such an influence to our team,” head coach Clark Campbell said. “They have not only helped competitively and in the classroom, but also the culture of our program. They were part of the start of us turning around our team culture and the team is in such a different place now than it was four years ago. A big part of that is how hard they’ve worked to improve the competitiveness and the team dynamic that we have now. We’re in a really good spot.”
Hinde wrapped up her final home meet with three victories, including two individual wins. She claimed the top spot in a highly contested 50-yard breaststroke (30.32), with teammates – and sisters – Lydia Pocisk (31.11) and Gretchen Pocisk (31.22) following close behind. Six events later she won the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:06.40, outlasting G. Pocisk (1:07.09) and Miller (1:09.17).
The seniors also saw contributions in the 200-yard freestyle with a victory from Molden (1:53.42) and a third place finish from Bilsborrow (1:58.60). Miller placed second in the 100-yard butterfly (58.14).
The sprint-formatted meet made for a quick contest that included only 50- and 100-yard distances with the exception of the 500-yard freestyle and 200-yard relays. KU picked up its first win in the 200-yard medley relay with a squad made up of Yulya Kuchkarova, Bryce Hinde, Pia Pavlic and Haley Bishop (1:44.70).
While the seniors were soaking in their final races, freshman Haley Bishop was showing the promise of what’s to come for Kansas swimming and diving, winning all four of her events. After assisting in the 200 medley relay, Bishop tallied two individual wins in the 50-yard butterfly (25.81) and the 100-yard butterfly (56.73). The Apex, North Carolina product helped complete the sweep, swimming leadoff in the 200-yard freestyle relay, she was joined by Breonna Barker, Leah Pfitzer and Yulya Kuchkarova (1:37.06).
“Honestly, I have had the greatest home season and I owe a lot of that to the seniors,” Bishop said. “They’re always so energetic and uplifting. They have made my first season at KU so fun. I think that’s part of the reason I have swam so well, because they have made swimming fun again.”
The Jayhawks will head to Ames, Iowa for their final dual of the 2015-16 season. Kansas will face Iowa State in a two-day meet at Beyer Pool. The first day of competition is schedule to start at 6 p.m. and Feb. 5 and resume on Feb. 6 and 10 a.m.
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