Jayhawks Ready to Fight Illini
|Saturday, November 8|
|200 Medley Relay|
|400 Individual Medley|
|200 Freestyle Relay|
It’s another week and another shot at redemption for the Kansas swimming and diving team with speeds and competition building up as Illinois visits Robinson Natatorium for a televised dual on Saturday, November 8. Kansas avenged a 2013 loss to TCU a week ago and have a similar opportunity against a tough Illinois team, who won 186-114 last season.
The showdown, which will begin at 1 p.m. and air live on Time Warner Cable Sports and ESPN3, features a 4-1 Kansas team and the 2-1 Fighting Illini, and will also highlight Tabor College’s first-year program as it duals Illinois. Kansas owns a 9-2 series record against Illinois but Saturday’s challenge might be the stiffest yet.
“I’m expecting a really good meet,” Kansas head coach Clark Campbell said. “It was a good win against TCU and North Dakota last week, but with Illinois things are going to be different. We’ve got to be ready for a strong challenge. The only loss they’ve had so far was against a strong Northwestern team, it’s going to be a great challenge for us and we’ve got to go into Saturday ready to perform at a high level.”
The Fighting Illini feature backstroke specialist Alison Meng, whose in-season best time of 54.81 in the 100 currently ranks her 27th in the nation. KU’s Haley Molden will match up against Gabbie Stecker and Samantha Stratford in the 200 freestyle, who this season put in times of 1:51.41 and 1:52.05, respectively, challenging Molden’s in-season best time of 1:51.04.
Meng and Stratford were also part of the 200 medley relay that triumphed over Northwestern, finishing in a time of 1:44.12 and rank 41st in the nation. KU, with a time of 1:44.98 in the 200 medley relay of Yulduz Kuchkarova, Hannah Driscoll, Pia Pavlic and Molden, sits at 60th in the nation, with sights set on improving.
Having only one of four meets on the road so far this season, Campbell noted the home pool advantage and hopes it has benefitted his swimmers and divers.
“It’s been nice that we haven’t been on the road too much,” Campbell said. “It kind of disrupts the whole preparation thing. We’ve been able to be rock-steady and get into a nice groove of what we do during the week and how we perform on the weekends. We’ll do that one more week and hopefully it shows we’ve learned good habits and made progress and are ready to perform at a high level. That’s the only way we’re going to be competitive.”
Tabor College, located in Hillsboro, Kansas, looks to gain experience for its first season in program history. The Bluejays are 1-0 for the season and will be returning later in to participate in the Kansas Classic in Topeka, November 21-23.
The event at Robinson Natatorium welcomes all to join and admission is free.
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