Kansas Begins Road Stretch Against Arkansas and Vanderbilt
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas swimming and diving team travels to Fayetteville, Ark., to take part in a double-dual meet with Arkansas and Vanderbilt, Saturday, Feb. 1. Meet is slated to begin at 11 a.m.
Kansas, 6-3 in dual meets this season, will be facing two strong Southeastern Conference contenders. Arkansas is 7-1 in dual meets this season and is ranked 28th in the country. Vanderbilt, 3-4 in dual meets, is considered to be one of the most improved programs in the nation, according to Kansas head coach Clark Campbell.
“The competition will be a lot stiffer this weekend with two SEC teams,” Campbell said. “Arkansas is strong and is a good dual meet team. It’s their senior meet, so I expect them to perform well. Vanderbilt has been one of the most improved teams in the country this year, as well as in the SEC. It will be a challenging meet, but at the same time that is good for us. We are looking forward to going down there and swimming against two high level teams.”
Kansas is coming off a dual-meet win last Saturday against Arkansas-Little Rock. Sophomore Chelsie Miller set both pool and school records in the 1000-yard freestyle with a time of 9:51.70. Campbell wants to continue the momentum into this weekend.
“We want to keep the race in our lane and focus on our level of expectation,” Campbell said. “It’s about performing to our standard of what we are going to expect at the Big 12 championships. This meet is the next step in fine-tuning ourselves. We’re going to have to be focused on doing the things we need to do in order to perform at our best level.”
The Jayhawks will be traveling for the second time this month. Their last road trip was at the start of their winter training trip when they faced Rollins and Tampa in Winter Park, Fla. Campbell said being away from their Lawrence home will require his athletes to adapt to the new environment and overcome the challenge of competing somewhere new.
“Every place is different,” Campbell said. “We have to have that mindset. It’s going to be different than what we are used to here in our own pool. What we want to do is go there and adapt to our environment and still be able to execute at a high level.”
The Jayhawks are in the second week of a three-week block of dual meets. During this part of the season, especially with meets close together, racing becomes part of training for the Jayhawks in order to prepare for the Big 12 Championships at the end of February. For their opponents, the SEC Championships are a week earlier and therefore it is likely that the two teams will be at a different place in their training schedule.
“Our dual meet record doesn’t matter in post-season, so it’s more about training specifically for the conference championships,” Campbell said. “It’s a chance for us to sharpen up. With the SEC Championships being a week before ours, racing becomes difficult to predict due to the different stages of training for those teams. Both our next two trips will be bus trips, which we haven’t had all season. It is a good opportunity to do some team bonding and teammates to spend time with each other. That is important going into the post-season, as well.”
The Jayhawks have a quick turnaround from last weekend, but have had a full week of practice to get ready to be back in competition mode.
“When we came off of our training trip, we were all over the map,” Campbell said. “We were going through a lot of transitioning last week. I was impressed with the way our juniors and seniors handled that and with the way they performed. Our younger folks had a harder time with it, but those kinds of challenges are good to gain experience from. For the kids who were really good last week, it’s a chance for them to keep the momentum going and those that weren’t have a chance to compete again this weekend.”