Kansas Surges Past Old Friend Nebraska in Dual Win
LAWRENCE, Kan. – All it took was a quick speech from Kansas swimming and diving head coach Clark Campbell – a KU alumnus – for the Jayhawks to understand the history that comes with the renewing of the Kansas-Nebraska rivalry. KU took no time to prove that they came to compete, winning the first six events of Friday evening’s dual against the Huskers, en route to a 180.5-119.5 victory inside Robinson Natatorium.
Meeting for the first time in dual competition since the Huskers’ left the Big 12 and joined the Big Ten conference four years ago, it was evident that the rivalry hadn’t lost any of its fire as both teams battled it out in the pool and diving well. After Kansas rolled to six straight wins, Nebraska fired back with four event wins of its own, before the Jayhawks eventually sealed the win.
“At the end of three weeks and having a dual meet like that is really a great sign that the team is strong, they are training well and competing really well,” Campbell said. “Then to reignite the rivalry is great, they bring out a really good competitiveness in us.”
Chelsie MillerFor the third week in a row Kansas’ A relay teams posted a season-best time in the 200-yard medley and the 400-yard free, providing a winning bookend to both sides of the meet. The medley team made up of Kuchkarova, Hinde, Bishop and Molden posted a 1:44.10, tallying the first victory and improving their time from last week by three-tenths of a second.
Kansas freshman Libby Walker took command of the pool in the 1,000-yard freestyle, winning the race in a season-best time of 10:13.51 while leading the field by nearly 15 seconds. Teammate Nika Fellows finished second (10:28.34), also improving her previous season mark by 12 seconds and coming within a couple seconds of a career-best swim.
Haley Molden made it three straight for KU by winning the 200-yard freestyle and Yulya Kuchkarova ran the streak to four with a win in the 100-yard backstroke.
Sophomore Lydia Pocisk registered her first career victory in a dual meet by swimming a 1:05.95 in the 100-yard breaststroke. Her mark was also the first time she had been under 1:06 in a dual competition.
“It was really awesome,” Lydia said of her performance. “Being able to get first place was really nice because breaststrokers have kind of been behind in the last few dual meets.”
The Jayhawks also posted a strong outing in the 200-yard butterfly where Kansas snatched the top-three times of the event. Senior Chelsie Miller led the way by swimming a 2:02.36 – the first of three individual wins for the reigning Big 12 Swimmer of the Week – with Walker (2:04.82) and Cassaundra Pino (2:07.45) following close behind.
The Huskers responded with a rally of their own as senior Taryn Collura sparked a four event win streak with back-to-back victories in the 50- and 100-yard freestyles, wrapped around a three-meter diving win by Anna Filipcic. Nebraska’s Erin Oeltjen and Jordan Ehly went on to win the 200-yard backstroke and 200-yard breaststroke.
Although the Huskers won the 200 back, Kansas junior Sammie Schurig swam in top form, taking second with a time of 2:02.98 and nearing her career-best mark of 2:02.01. Schurig also registered a season-best time with a fourth-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle (1:53.98).
“Sammie had an outstanding meet,” Campbell said. “Those times for her mid-season were really good.”
Fresh off of earning CollegeSwimming.com’s Big 12 Women’s Swimmer of the Week, Haley Bishop took first in the 100-yard butterfly turning in a time of 56.19. That win followed Miller’s streak-busting swim in the 500-yard freestyle. Bishop also contributed to both of Kansas’ relay victories.
Filipcic made it a clean sweep with a win in the one-meter diving competition, scoring 307.88 to go with her three-meter tally (317.25). KU sophomore and Lincoln, Nebraska native Nadia Khechfe took third in the three-meter (253.05) and fifth in the one-meter (237.75). Teammate Graylyn Jones switched places with Khechfe, placing third in the one-meter (263.55) and fifth in the three-meter (205.50).
The Jayhawks finished the meet much like they had started it, winning the final two events after the three-meter diving intermission. The first win came with another sweep, this time in the 200-yard individual medley. Miller won it in 2:05.23 while Madison Straight (2:05.62) took second and Lydia Pocisk (2:10.22) rounded out the top-three.
KU’s 400-yard freestyle A relay team – Molden, Bishop, Breonna Barker and Leah Pfitzer – concluded the evening with a commanding win and a season-best time of 3:28.93.
The Jayhawks and Huskers will meet again in two weeks when the teams head to Topeka, Kan., for the Big Challenge inside Capital Federal Natatorium, Nov. 20-22. Kansas will host the triangular championship-style meet featuring Nebraska, Iowa State, Illinois, Nebraska-Omaha and Northern Iowa. The squads will swim as tandem units, representing the Big 12, Big Ten and a mid-major team.
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