Swimming and Diving Travels to Omaha to Open Regular Season

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas swimming and diving will open the regular season on the road Monday in irregular fashion, competing against the University of Nebraska-Omaha in a “freestyle festival” event at the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Building Pool on UNO’s campus, starting at 6 p.m. The format of the meet will be different than most and consist of only four individual events, diving and two relays.

Coming off the best Big 12 finish in program history, the Jayhawks will take to the water for the first time outside intrasquad competition and face an early season, road challenge against the Mavericks, who were picked to finish fourth in the Summit League standings. The four individual events at the meet will all be freestyle events. In swimming, freestyle is a stroke but the freestyle event means that the swimmer can technically swim any stroke – freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke or butterfly.

“(UNO head coach Todd Samland) proposed the idea of a freestyle festival, so all of our individual events will be freestyle events,” Kansas head coach Clark Campbell said. “We’ll have the 50, 100, 200 and 500 as individual events. Then we will do the diving events, followed by the 200 and 400 medley relay.”

For another twist in the meet program, the four individual events will only have three scorers per school, during which individual athletes can only score in one event. A team would not be able to have one athlete swim all the events and win everything because their score would only be accounted for in one event.

“This will give a number of athletes the opportunity to swim freestyle events that they might not normally get to do,” Campbell said. “It’s a fun way to open the year and it’s something we’ve never done before. We’re looking forward to getting on the road, swimming against someone other than ourselves and start the competition season.”

The Jayhawks have a home-heavy 2014-15 schedule, including a jam-packed home-opening weekend Oct. 24-25 against Missouri State and Denver, who will also bring their men’s squads to compete in a separate dual at Robinson Natatorium. Campbell and his Kansas swimmers are looking forward to using Monday’s road meet as an opportunity for team bonding. The competition falls over the first day of Kansas’ fall break, and the team has a few other activities planned for their second day off of school.

“We’ll have our team bonding event on Tuesday following the meet,” Campbell said. “It will really be a good opportunity for all of us to get together, have fun, and get closer. Team bonding gives us unity that we carry with us throughout the rest of the year.”

A unity that played a huge role in a campaign that saw Campbell named Big 12 Coach of the Year. Kansas looks to team captains Bryce Hinde, Haley Molden and Caroline Patterson to motivate and provide leadership going into the first competition, but the team also returns junior Chelsea Miller, the program’s first individual Big 12 champion in the 400-yard individual medley, and sophomore Yulduz Kuchkarova, who returned two weeks ago after breaking her own national record while competing in the Asian Games in South Korea.

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