Jayhawks Will Divide And Conquer
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas swimming and diving team will be splitting up its efforts among three events this weekend; 2013 USA Winter Nationals, 2013 French Short Course Nationals and a dual meet against William Jewel.
Chelsie Miller, Bryce Hinde, Alison Lusk and Yulya “Yulduz” Kuchkarova will be traveling to the USA Nationals in Knoxville, Tenn. The foursome will compete in two events each throughout the course of the meet. They swam qualifying times and accepted the invitation to go and compete.
“When there is more than one athlete going, it is an advantage,” head coach Clark Campbell said. “They get a chance to focus on their own events. When there aren’t as many athletes traveling with us, it’s easier to stay on the routine of competing. They can hone in on what they need to get done.”
Each student-athlete will compete in only one event on Friday and one event on Sunday allowing for optimal performances. Miller will be swimming the 400-yard individual medley on Friday and the 200-yard butterfly on Saturday. Hinde and Lusk will compete in the 100-yard breaststroke on Friday and the 200-yard breaststroke on Saturday, while Kuchkarova will be swimming both the 100- and 200-yard backstroke throughout the two days.
“We are seeded pretty well,” Campbell said. “It’s not a huge national, but the qualifying times are really fast. It’s something that we can go and be competitive in. It will be cool because we get to swim against Olympians and professional athletes. It’s the best swimmers in the country and many will also bring their best international athletes. It’s going to be a fast meet and it will be highly competitive. The four that are going are very excited to swim against the best.”
Preliminary races begin at 9 a.m., with finals to be held in the evening starting at 5 p.m. both days. Fans can tune in to usaswimming.org to watch the events live and follow the results.
Another Jayhawk traveling is Lea Wissocq, who will compete in the French Nationals in Dijon, France.
Back in Lawrence, KU will host William Jewel on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. in Robinson Natatorium. The 16 remaining swimmers and 5 divers will look to improve the Jayhawk’s overall dual record to end the 2013 portion of the season.
“This is our final competition before 2014,” Campbell said. “We have a gauge of the fast swimming we are capable of after the Kansas Classic, but now the goal is to replicate those times, or swim faster. We have a good outlook on where we are and we want to surpass that this weekend.”
The team is going to rely heavily on the seniors for leadership and set an example this weekend with top-performers competing in national competitions. The home meet will also provide an opportunity for other Jayhawks to step up and fill the void of their missing team members.
“In general, we will need some other people to step up and we will want to perform at a high level,” Campbell said. “Morgan (Sharp) had good performances at the Kansas Classic and we expect to see that again. Haley Molden should be inching past what she did a couple weeks ago as well because she keeps improving each week. Finally, Gretchen Pocisk will be called to lead the breastroke events.”