Kansas' Kuchkarova to Swim Among World's Best in Kazan
On the brink of what could be a memorable junior year, Kansas backstroker Yulduz Kuchkarova will compete against the top swimmers on the planet at the 2015 FINA World Championships next week in Kazan, Russia.
The Tashkent, Uzbekistan native will make her fourth appearance at the World Championships during the second day of swimming competition inside Kazan Arena Monday, Aug. 3. Kuchkarova is slated to compete in the 50- and 100-meter backstroke over a four-day span.
Last year Kuchkarova recorded two of Kansas’ all-time fastest marks in the 100- and 200-yard backstroke and will be looking to rewrite Jayhawk history in the 2015-16 collegiate season.
“This is a big step toward international-level success,” Kansas head coach Clark Campbell said. “If you look at the four-year calendar for swimming, this is the second-most important meet behind the Olympics – it’s the best aquatic athletes in the entire world.”
Kuchkarova will be one of seven Uzbekistani’s representing their home country during the 16-day event. She will swim her first race, the 100-meter backstroke, at 9:30 a.m. (in Kazan) on Aug. 3 with the semifinals during the evening session. With a qualifying time, Kuchkarova would swim in the finals at 7:17 p.m., the following day, Aug. 4.
The 50-meter backstroke preliminaries take place at 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, Aug. 5, with semifinal heats slated again for the evening session. The 50-meter final is scheduled for Thursday evening.
After training at Kansas through June, Kuchkarova joined her national team at a training camp in Turkey – a much more normal training schedule than the weeks she had to prepare for last year’s Asian Games in South Korea. Like the Asian Games, Campbell thinks the extra competition could be a boost to her collegiate campaign.
“Because of her training for this event, she should have a really special collegiate season,” Campbell said. “We’re really looking forward to seeing how she does at the World Championships, but however it goes, this meet is going to help her have a really good junior year.”
The FINA World Championships host the most elite water sport athletes around the world every other year, with competition in swimming, diving, water polo, synchronized swimming, and open water swimming.
A veteran of the national scene, Kuchkarova set the Uzbekistani national records in the 50- and 100-meter backstroke at the Asian Games last year and swam for her country at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Kuchkarova and the Jayhawks will open the 2015-16 season on Oct. 2 with an intrasquad meet before starting the regular season with a double dual against Denver and Missouri State, Oct. 23-24. Both meets will be held inside Robinson Natatorium.
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