Kansas Well-Represented During Winter Nationals Opening Day
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Kansas swimming’s past, present and future were on display Thursday as current Jayhawk swimmers turned in season- and lifetime-best times and KU alumna Danielle Herrmann raced her way into the finals and a top-eight finish on the opening day of the 2014 AT&T USA Winter Nationals at the Greensboro Aquatics Complex.
Herrmann, who swam for KU under head coach Clark Campbell from 2005-09, reached the finals in the 200-yard individual medley, while current junior Chelsie Miller shaved off nearly a second from her best time in the same event, and freshman Hannah Driscoll took off eight-tenths of a second in the 50-yard freestyle. KU freshman Lydia Pocisk turned in a lifetime best in the 200 IM, as did Driscoll in a 200-yard freestyle time trial.
Herrmann punched her ticket to the ‘A’ final in the 200-yard IM with a time of 1:59.85, finishing eighth among the top amateur and professional swimmers in the country in prelims. Herrmann improved her time in the finals, swimming alongside 2012 Olympian Katie Ledecky, to finish seventh in a lifetime-best 1:59.26. At KU, Herrmann set her best time in the event at the 2008 NCAA Championships, swimming a time of 2:00.21.
“It’s really cool when you still have athletes competing at a very high level,” Campbell said. “She’s still doing this at the age of 27, and it’s so fun watching her improve. I have an opinion that your best years are in your upper 20’s, and she’s realizing her potential. It’s really inspirational to her Jayhawk teammates that are here.”
Miller placed among the top-50 in the 200-yard individual medley, placing 48th with a time of 2:03.12 in prelims. Although she didn’t advance to finals, Miller topped her previous season-best time of 2:04.23 set two weeks ago at the Kansas Classic in Topeka. Set to compete in the 400 IM Thursday, the event she finished second in at last year’s Winter Nationals, Miller’s 200 IM time ranks fourth overall in the Big 12.
Pocisk had the largest gains of any Jayhawk Thursday, finishing 68th with a time of 2:04.67, nearly three seconds faster than the season-best time she set at the Kansas Classic (2:07.51) and faster than her lifetime best of 2:05.06 set at the 2013 Speedo World Junior National Championship.
Driscoll, who qualified for the 50-yard freestyle with a long-course meters time, dropped 0.76 from her previous time, setting a new season-best of 23.78 to place 62nd. The time is close, but just off of her lifetime best-time of 23.60, which set a Colorado High School Class 4A state record in 2014.
Driscoll’s best performance may have come between sessions, when the first-year Jayhawk swam a lifetime best in the 200-yard freestyle time trial, winning in 1:50.99 – the second-fastest 200 by a KU swimmer this season.
The Jayhawk quartet of Driscoll, Bryce Hinde, Miller and Pocisk will return Friday for another busy day of competition. Hinde, Pocisk and Driscoll will swim the 100-yard breaststroke, Pocisk the 100-yard butterfly, and Miller the 400-yard IM. Miller enters Friday’s 400-yard IM event seeded third.
Live results and a video feed are available at USASwimming.org/Nationals.
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