Miller and Hinde Bring Down Records at Big 12 Championships
AUSTIN, Texas—Two records fell and Kansas garnered four all-time top-five swims on day three of the Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championship. Second-place finishes by Chelsie Miller, and Yulduz Kuchkarova, as well as a record-breaking swim by Bryce Hinde, highlighted Kansas’ night and brought the team to a third-place finish with 366 points, ahead of West Virginia (315) and TCU (294). By the end of Friday night, Texas leads with 754.5 points, followed by Iowa State (413.5).
Kansas placed nine individuals in the top-eight for ten races on Friday night. An additional ten swimmers and divers scored points for the Jayhawks, placing in the top-sixteen. In the preliminary session, KU swam 77 percent of its races in career-best times.
Chelsie Miller, 2014 Big 12 Champion in the 400-yard IM, wasn’t giving up the crown without a fight. Miller and Texas sophomore Madisyn Cox were neck and neck for the nail-biting finish, which Cox (4:05.08) was able to pull off a win against Miller, who finished in 4:05.67 to lower her previous school record of 4:07.97. Teammate Madison Straight was not far behind, finishing in 4:20.89 to place seventh overall. In the morning session Straight dropped nearly six seconds from her career-best time, entering finals with a time of 4:20.37.
“(Chelsie’s) race was beyond our expectations,” Kansas head coach Clark Campbell said. “Before she swam I predicted 4:06. Her 4:11 in the preliminaries this morning was so relaxed, that is easily a time that could be invited to the NCAA Championships. To come back and go 4:05 at night that was a great swim and a confidence boost going into NCAAs. We are absolutely thrilled with her.”
Pia Pavlic, who went into finals seeded third with a preliminary time of 54.46, stayed consistent and finished in 54.79 for fifth place. Hannah Angell, seeded eighth with 55.55, finished in 55.66 but was able to move up one place and finish seventh overall.
Kansas senior Deanna Marks was seeded 15th going into the consolation finals Friday night, with a preliminary time of 56.36. In the finals, she went a time of 55.57 and bettered herself to a 10th place finish overall.
In the 200-yard freestyle, Topeka natives Sammie Schurig and Haley Molden swam times of 1:49.75 and 1:52.06, respectively. Schurig’s time was a new career best and earned her a fourth-place overall finish. Molden came in eighth overall.
The consolation heat of the 200-yard freestyle was filled with three KU swimmers—Nika Fellows, Hannah Driscoll and Linday Manning. Driscoll placed 11th overall, coming to the wall in 1:51.64. Fellows followed in 12th with a time of 1:51.78, and Manning tied her time from the preliminary session in 1:53.23 to finish 14th. In total, the Jayhawks scored 40 points with five swimmers in the event.
In the 100-yard breaststroke, Bryce Hinde swam to a 1:02.02 in the preliminary session, the second-fastest time in KU history, narrowly missing the school record by one-hundredth of a second. She came back to finals determined to bring down the time, and was successful. Hinde came to the wall in 1:01.98 to break the record set by Danielle Herrmann (1:02.01) in 2008. Freshman Lydia Pocisk also made her mark, swimming 1:02.21 to claim the third-fastest 100-yard breaststroke time in school history and place seventh overall.
Gretchen Pocisk swam a time of 1:04.90 in the morning, her first time under the 1:07 mark all season. Gretchen was able to lower her time in finals, swimming eight-tenths faster to finish in a career-best 1:04.10.
“That was a big effort,” Campbell said. “I’ve got to give props to our volunteer assistant coach, Jason Brozek, he has been working specifically with the breaststrokers. He was a breaststroker himself and has brought in a really good perspective on how to swim it. They all really enjoy him and he’s definitely made a big difference in that group. That was a big barrier for Bryce, to see her do that was a thrill. All of our breaststrokers did a tremendous job today.”
Two more all-time top-five times went down in the 100-yard backstroke, as Yulduz Kuchkarova earned a silver medal for the second year in a row with a time of 53.41. Kuchkarova’s new career-best time ranks second overall in KU history. Hannah Angell, in her second A-final Friday night, also set a new career best, finishing fourth overall in a time of 55.34—the fifth-fastest time by a KU swimmer.
“(Yulduz’s) backstroke race was really well put together,” Campbell said. “Then she came back in the relay and split a 22.4. She doesn’t think of herself as a freestyler, but that’s pretty fast. I’m very happy for her and tonight was a really good team effort.”
For the second day in a row, KU divers did not advance to the finals, although interim diving coach Gabe Downey saw significant improvement from the quartet. Graylyn Jones placed 10th, the highest for the Jayhawks, with a score of 258.15. Sydney Power finished 11th with 254.65 points, followed by Amanda Maser (233.35, 12th) and Nadia Khechfe (222.75, 13th).
“Yesterday they did things really well mentally, but the diving wasn’t necessarily at the level we wanted it to be,” Downey said. “Today, they responded really well and they put together solid lists. Amanda personified that, she missed her first dive pretty badly, which was one she usually hits, but the rest of her dives she was really steady. Nadia also showed a good ability to bounce back. Sydney and Graylyn, particularly, had the best meets that I think they’re capable of at this point. We still wanted to finish higher place-wise, but I think the girls performed extremely well.”
The 200-yard freestyle relay team of Pavlic, Marks, Leah Pfitzer and Kuchkarova swam a tough battle for second-place, but was out-touched by Iowa State (1:32.05) to finish third in 1:32.21.
“We need to come in and have our best session tomorrow,” Campbell said. “One thing I’ve been pleased with is each session we’ve gotten better. We do a lot of work for the 200-yards in the strokes, 100 freestylers do their thing, and our milers are primed for their event. Tomorrow has the potential to be a really, really good day for us.”
Saturday morning’s preliminary session begins at 10 a.m. Events include the 200-yard backstroke, 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard breaststroke and 200-yard butterfly. The start times for all but the final heat of the 1,650 will be set to finish by 5 p.m., with the final heat competing in finals.
At 2:40 p.m. the women will dive from platform, with the top-eight advancing to finals, to be performed after the 200-yard butterfly final.
The top-24 swimmers from the morning will advance to finals beginning at 6 p.m. After platform diving, the 400-yard freestyle relay will compete. Live results can be followed at Big12Sports.com.
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