Kansas Doubles Up, Beats TCU and North Dakota
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Five members of the Kansas swimming and diving team contributed wins in multiple events, including three individually from Chelsie Miller, as the Jayhawks won all but three events in a double dual sweep of TCU and North Dakota at Robinson Natatorium Saturday. Kansas defeated TCU 172-124 and knocked off North Dakota, 217-79.
Miller (3), Bryce Hinde (2), Graylyn Jones (2), Yulya Kuchkarova (2) and Haley Molden (2) all finished at the top in multiple events Saturday, with Hinde, Kuchkarova and Molden combining with Pia Pavlic to kick off the meet and add another win in the 200-yard medley relay. Lindsay Manning cut 10 seconds from her time a week ago and cruised to a win in the 1000-yard freestyle, giving KU a total of 13 wins in 16 swimming and diving events Saturday.
Kansas improved to 4-1 in dual competition for the fall, but more importantly to head coach Clark Campbell, continued to progress after a double dual split last weekend.
“We wanted to make an improvement from last week to this week in a couple of areas and I feel like we were able to do that across the board,” Campbell said. “We had a lot of people swim well above where they were last week, which is good and the improvement we wanted to see.
“TCU just handed us our hats last year and it was nice to swim as well as we did today and perform at a very high level. We had a lot of standout performances and it was a really good way to end the week.”
In one of the closest races of the day, Kansas’ top medley relay team (1:42.10) opened the meet by out-touching TCU’s top team (1:42.20) by one tenth of a second. It was a quick start for the Jayhawks, but the hot streak didn’t end until after six races into the meet, when KU freshman Hannah Driscoll (24.39) was narrowly defeated by TCU’s Hannah Winkler (24.05) in the 50-yard freestyle.
During that opening stretch, Manning won the 1000 free by nearly 16 seconds, Molden distanced herself from the pack to win the 200-yard freestyle in 1:51.18, Kuchkarova finished first in the 100-yard backstroke (57.03), Bryce Hinde swam the fastest 100-yard breaststroke by a Jayhawk this season (1:05.30) and Miller pulled away in the final 100 yards to win the 200-yard butterfly in 2:03.06.
Meanwhile, in the diving well Jones took first in the three-meter event, posting a score of 245.5 to edge teammate Sydney Power, who scored 240.20. Jones completed the sweep with a win on the one-meter board later in the meet with a score of 264.50, again closely followed by Power, who was third with a score of 250.35.
“I threw in some new dives this week so it was really nice to have those go well, it’s really encouraging,” Jones said. “Everything is getting relatively better as the season progresses, which is really exciting.”
Molden became KU’s first multi-event winner on the day when she pulled away from the field over the last 25 yards to win the 100-yard freestyle in 52.22. That started a four-race winning streak for Kansas as Kuchkarova and Madison Straight followed with a 1-2 finish in the 200-yard backstroke, followed by Bryce Hinde winning the 200-yard butterfly in 2:21.62 and Miller racing to a win in the 500-yard freestyle.
Miller cut nearly four seconds from her 500 free from a week ago to finish at 4:57.45 and Kansas sophomore Sammie Schurig cut nearly four seconds from her time last week to place fourth. Manning snuck in to third place, nearly giving Kansas a sweep in the event.
“I was really impressed with my 500 free, I don’t think I’ve ever broken five minutes during the season, especially this early,” Miller said. “I was really happy with that. I think I wanted to take it out a little faster than I did last week. We’ve been doing a lot of distance workouts and that’s definitely what I wanted to do. Usually I take it out a little smoother and I just wanted to get after it and see if I could hold it and it worked.”
TCU’s Emily Gibson (57.17) edged Kansas senior Deanna Marks (57.33) for the 100-yard butterfly win, but the Jayhawks took second, third (Leah Pfitzer – 57.73) and fourth (Pavlic – 57.83) to continue stock piling points.
Miller closed her day with a win in the 200-yard individual medley (2:06.04) and TCU claimed the final event with its B relay team winning the 400-yard freestyle relay in 3:30.68.
Kansas had plenty of winners to tout after Saturday’s competition, but Campbell was most pleased with the level of depth the Jayhawks have displayed early in the season.
“Some of the people that we really highlighted after the meet with the team, were people that didn’t win (but performed well),” Campbell said. “Madison Straight – she swam great, just huge time drops from last week and really just improving every single week. Leah Pfitzer had a really good meet. Lyndsay Manning was awesome as well.
“Not only do we have the people that are winning events, which you need and you want that, but we have people that are really raising their game and are making us a deep team. That’s the whole point, get as many people as competitive as you can and you’re going to do good things as a team.”
Kansas continues its homestand and will welcome Big Ten Conference foe Illinois to Robinson Natatorium next Saturday, Nov. 8, at 1 p.m. That meet will be televised statewide on the Jayhawk Television Network and Time Warner Cable Sports Channel, and will be streamed live throughout the country on ESPN3. All Kansas home meets held in Robinson Natatorium are free and open to the public.
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