Jayhawks Take Kansas Classic Crown
TOPEKA, Kan. – Lindsay Manning, Chelsie Miller and Yulya Kuchkarova won individual races in Sunday’s final session to help the Jayhawks cap a Kansas Classic winning performance that saw the host school win 12-of-18 total events en route leading the five-team field with 1,283 points. Kansas finished ahead of Big 12 foe Iowa State (1,093), Northern Iowa (441), Nebraska-Omaha (378) and Tabor (146) in the third annual event at Capitol Federal Natatorium.
For the third day in a row, Kansas had a flurry of season-best performances with 18 on Sunday, bringing the total number of new 2014-15 top marks to 70 over the weekend. The times, coupled with the Kansas Classic result, are an indication to Kansas head coach Clark Campbell that the team is headed in the right direction.
“Championship meets are a lot like a boxing match – it was like a six round boxing match and it’s interesting to see the ebbs and flows,” Kansas head coach Clark Campbell said. “We really only had one session that wasn’t as good as what we can do and we had five really good sessions. Out of the six, I thought five of the sessions were incredibly strong and that’s really good to see because this team is going to be really good.
“Seeing where we are at this point, comparing to where we were last year, we’re really quite a few steps ahead. It’s really exciting to think about what the possibilities are later on.”
Kansas opened Sunday’s finals session as it had the previous two, with a win, this time with Lindsay Manning leading a trio of Jayhawks in the top four of the 1650-yard freestyle. Manning won the event – Kansas’ first mile competition of the season – in 17:03.66 to beat Iowa State’s Karyl Clarete (17:12.05).
After speeding to a win in the 100-yard backstroke Saturday night, Yulya Kuchkarova entered the finals of the 200-yard backstroke with the seventh-best time in prelims but didn’t let the lane one assignment keep her from taking the race. Kuchkarova out-touched Iowa State’s Marissa Engel by 0.12 seconds while logging a new season-best finish in 2:00.72. KU’s Madison Straight (2:02.29) and Sammie Schurig (2:05.25) weren’t far behind in third and fourth place.
The 100-yard freestyle feature d the most random sampling of schools in any race of the weekend as the top-four were each from different teams. Northern Iowa’s Molly Lembezeder, owner of the second-fastest time in the Missouri Valley Conference this season, won the event in 51.77, out-touching Iowa State’s Amanda Paulson (51.97), Nebraska-Omaha’s Natalie Renshaw (52.15) and Kansas’ Pia Pavlic (52.31). Pavlic’s time was a new season best by more than two seconds. KU’s Haley Molden and Allison Merecka followed in fifth and sixth, giving the Jayhawks three of the top-six times in the event.
Iowa State claimed its fourth event win of the meet in the next race as Kasey Roberts completed a sweep of the breaststroke events with a win in the 200-yard final with a finishing time of 2:20.00. She beat out teammate Danica Delaquis (2:21.40) and a trio of Jayhawks including Bryce Hinde (2:22.18), Gretchen Pocisk (2:23.70) and Lydia Pocisk (2:23.96).
The Jayhawks had just two swimmers in the ‘A’ Final of the 200-yard butterfly, but Miller and Deanna Marks found their way to the top of the finishing order. Miller swam the fastest time in prelims, then cut nearly a second in the finals to win the event easily in 2:04.61. Marks capitalized on a strong start to finish second with a new season best 2:06.26.
Although not as dramatic and excellent as Saturday evening’s record-breaking relay, Kansas closed the Sunday session and Kansas Classic meet with a crowning victory in the 400-yard freestyle relay. KU’s ‘A’ relay team of Molden, Hannah Driscoll, Kuchkarova and Marks recorded Kansas’ fastest 400 free relay time of the year when it touched the wall in 3:28.66.
Kansas will split up for its next competitions, with selected individuals headed to the USA Winter Nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina, Dec. 4-6, and the rest of the team participating in the Jayhawk Open at Robinson Natatorium on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 1 p.m.
“We still have a lot of swimming to do, the kids learned a lot this weekend,” Campbell said. “We have a little different format in two weeks, but it’s all part of the process of growing the swimmer and making them fast and we’re further ahead than we have been.”