Jayhawks Head to Austin for Big 12 Championships
Feb. 24, 2013
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The University of Kansas swimming and diving team will conclude its season at the 2013 Big 12 Championships Wednesday, Feb. 27 through Saturday, March 2 in Austin, Texas at the Jamail Texas Swimming Center.
The Jayhawks will look to improve on their fourth place finish from a year ago, hoping to finish at least second, which would be a program best in the Big 12 era.
“It is a reasonable goal,” Kansas head coach Clark Campbell said. “The flip side is that West Virginia, Kansas, Iowa State and TCU are all very comparable teams, so it’s going to be a battle from the get go. I do think it is reasonable and it is something that we have talked about, but we have a formidable challenge ahead of us. What we have to do is go in there and have each individual reach their goal for the year and if we do that, we will do okay.”
Kansas (6-4, 2-0 Big 12) enters the meet after a strong performance against Iowa State Feb. 8-9 when the Jayhawks defeated the Cyclones, 190-106, in their last dual meet of the season. Since then the team has slowed down its training to prepare for the culmination of its season.
“We have been tapering and getting ready for the Big 12 Championships,” Campbell said. “We have been gradually cutting back the yardage and the intensity leading up to the meet to allow the athletes to rest up and get ready for a big week in Austin.”
Leading the Jayhawks into Austin are a group of eight seniors headed by reigning Big 12 Swimmer of the Week and captain Brooke Brull. Brull took home the award after her performance against Iowa State where she set season-best times in the 200-yard backstroke (2:01.64) and the 200-yard IM (2:05.57) in the final home meet of her career. Brull also anchored the 400-yard freestyle relay team that also set a season-best time of 3:27.78.
“It is going to be nice having eight seniors,” Campbell said. “We will be traveling with a travel squad of 24 athletes and when you have a third of them as seniors, you have a lot of leadership potential. We are going to be leaning on our seniors quite a bit, not only for them to perform at a high level, but to help their teammates along and get everyone going in the right direction.”
The seniors will be counted on to lead the talented group of Kansas freshman who will be participating in the first Big 12 Championship of their careers. Despite the key role youth plays to this team, Campbell has seen them swim in big meets before and isn’t worried about nerves being a factor.
“It is going to be fun to watch how they do at the meet,” Campbell said. “The thing about this group of freshman is that they all have big meet experience, whether it is Junior Nationals, or Internationals, or Olympic Trials, or US National Championships, whatever it is. We are confident that they will go in and have outstanding performances and learn a lot of what it takes to swim at this level. They have great backgrounds swimming against the best competition in the country.”
This week’s meet will also be the first time this season that Kansas will use the technical suits. Putting the suits on for the first time in competition should give the Kansas swimmers a bit of a boost for their biggest meet of the season.
“The ones that want to swim in them have had a chance to swim in them a little bit,” Campbell said. “There are some that want to wait until they get to the meet. It is one of those things that swimmers like to put on right before their first race and it feels tight and snug and fast. We have allowed them to do that. I think all of them have tried them on and most of them have swam with them.”
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