Kansas Ends Dual Meet Season with Victory over Iowa State

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LAWRENCE, Kan.—Kansas swimming and diving closed the door on its dual meet season and began its championship phase with a victory over Big 12 rival Iowa State, 169-131, on Saturday afternoon. The win in Robinson Natatorium solidified a 9-3 dual meet record for the Jayhawk’s 2014-15 season and an 8-3 overall record against Iowa State since they began the two-day dual meet tradition in 2005.
Part of the Jayhawks winning effort was a strong performance on the diving boards. Freshman Nadia Khechfe qualified for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships on Friday night as she scored 280.20 on the three-meter boards—two-tenths higher than the qualifying standard. She will join teammate Graylyn Jones, who earlier this season qualified on the one-meter, at the national meet in Iowa City March 5-7.
“It was right on that bubble, but it was great,” interim diving coach Gabe Downey said. “It was still not her optimal potential, which is what’s really cool about it, she can still improve a lot. For a freshman to come in who hadn’t been particularly close to that score to get there, it was exciting to see her elated and she works as hard as any of them in there. To see that hard work pay off was really cool and made for a fun night, especially when we didn’t realize she had made it until two hours after the fact. It was a great cap to a great night.”
The meet also marked the final dual meet of seniors Deanna Marks and Caroline Patterson’s college swimming careers.
“The last four years has gone by so fast,” Patterson said. “I think I speak for both of us when I say that we could not be more proud of how far the team has come and how much we’ve accomplished.  It’s been four years in the making.”
Added Marks: “It was pretty cool to end on a win. It’s always been back and forth between Iowa State and us. It was nice to be able to win the dual meet in our own house.”
Entering Saturday morning’s events, Kansas led Iowa State 94-56. Iowa State brought the heat as they claimed the first event title in the 100-yard freestyle, a time of 51.73 by senior Amanda Paulson. Haley Molden and Hannah Driscoll finished in third and fourth place with times of 53.11 and 53.31, respectively.
Yulduz Kuchkarova, who won the 100-yard backstroke on Friday night, returned for a win in the 200-yard backstroke with 2:01.38, her best time in the event at a dual meet this season. She finished just ahead of ISU’s Marissa Engel (2:01.71) and teammate Madison Straight (2:05.22). Sophomore Hannah Angell finished in fifth place with a  season-best time of 2:05.64.
Bryce Hinde and the Cyclones’ Kasey Roberts went head-to-head in the 100-yard breaststroke Friday night, and did the same in the 200 Saturday afternoon. Roberts took the victory over Hinde again, finishing in 2:17.86 to Hinde’s 2:20.83. Lydia Pocisk wasn’t far behind, clocking in at 2:23.06 for third place.
The battle for the 500-yard freestyle title was tough between Cyclone Karyl Clarete and Jayhawk Lindsay Manning. Manning led at the halfway mark, but Clarete (5:02.04) sped up to out-touch Manning (5:02.44) by four-tenths of a second. Sammie Schurig and Nika Fellows followed, finishing in third and fourth place with times of 5:04.72 and 5:10.52, respectively.
Another season-best time was posted for Pia Pavlic in the 100-yard butterfly, as she finished in 56.12 for the victory over ISU’s Mary Kate Luddy. Senior Deanna Marks cinched a third-place finish over the Cyclones’ Kaylee Kucera, finishing in 58.23 to Kucera’s 58.30. 
“(Pia) has been having a tremendous winter,” Kansas head coach Clark Campbell said. “Ever since we got back after Christmas, she’s been doing really well.”
Elyse Brouillette of Iowa State earned the win on the one-meter boards, but not without a fight from KU’s Graylyn Jones. Jones finished with a score of 251.18, less than 9 points below Brouillette. Khechfe and Maser finished in fifth and sixth place with scores of 214.43 and 185.70, respectively.
Chelsie Miller took her fifth win in the 200-yard individual medley event with a time of 2:04.53. ISU’s Kasey Roberts and Sarah Deis trailed right behind her, followed by Lydia Pocisk, who finished fourth with a time of 2:07.53.
In the final event of the competition, the Kansas A relay team of Molden, Pavlic, Hannah Driscoll and Kuchkarova clocked the fastest relay time of the season, finishing in 3:28.19 ahead of Iowa State’s A relay. The ISU B relay put up a good fight against KU’s B relay, who was able to pull off third place in 3:33.95 ahead of ISU’s 3:34.28.
“I think this a good preview,” Campbell said of what’s to come at the conference championships. “We made a goal this year of closing the gap as close as we can to first (place), but it’s going to be competitive. What we have to do now is focus on the little things in the pool and staying healthy outside of the pool. That’s the key right now. Today marked the end of the dual meet season and the start of the championship season, and this team is built for championship meets. We’re excited that we’re through this part and cannot wait for Big 12’s to get here.”
Kansas will face Iowa State at the Big 12 Championships in Austin, Texas beginning February 25. Last year, the Jayhawks finished in second place (617 points) behind Texas (1,109.5). The Cyclones finished third with 541.5 points.
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