Kansas Swimming & Diving 2012-13 Season Preview
Oct. 4, 2012
A strong group of upperclassmen and an influx of young talent has this year's swimming and diving team looking to improve its 5-5 dual meet record and fourth place finish at Big 12 Championships from a season ago.
Led by senior captains Brooke Brull, Alyssa Rudman, Rebecca Swank, the junior and senior classes, make up a majority of this year's roster. Three sophomores and a talented group of seven freshmen, including two that come in with Olympic trial qualifying times already under their belts, round out the Kansas roster. Head coach Clark Campbell knows that in order for his team to be successful this season, he will need both groups in sync and ready to go right away.
"It is a good blend of top heavy with the upperclassman, which is good because of the leadership, but on the underclassmen side, we have a lot of ability," Campbell said. "We are going to need everyone firing on all cylinders and doing really well and staying competitive, but it is reasonable."
After recently finishing an Olympic quadrennium, this year's team is more experienced, well rested and looking to improve at the conference meet this year.
"We had a little more energy and excitement starting the year, which is good, Campbell said. "The potential for this group from what we learned last year, going into this year, is good. I think everyone is in a really good place."
Big 12 newcomers TCU and West Virginia will make it that much tougher for the Jayhawks to improve on their fourth-place finish from a year ago. However, Campbell's squad is looking forward to the challenge and believe they can be right in the thick of things come February.
"We really feel we can be in that hunt," Campbell said. "TCU and West Virginia are coming in and they are a lot like us in many ways. It is just going to be really competitive, but it is not something that isn't attainable, we can do this."
Six home events highlight the Jayhawk schedule, which includes defending Big 10 champion Minnesota and a five-team championship style meet, hosted by the team in the fall.
"We are really excited about this year, because we have more home meets than we are generally used to," head coach Clark Campbell said. "We have a good mix of teams coming in and we are really excited about going to Topeka for our fall championship meet. It will be the first multi-day meet we have had, in a championship format, since I have been coaching here."
The highlight of the road schedule comes just after the holidays, when the team travels west to Los Angeles for a tri-meet (Jan. 12) with the Mountain West runner-up San Diego State and host UCLA. After spending a few days in California, the team will leave the lower 48 to travel farther west to Honolulu for a week of training. The week will conclude with a dual meet against Hawaii, who placed third in the WAC a season ago.
"Hawaii is something that will be a first for our team," Campbell said. "Getting to spend a few days to do the Hollywood thing in LA and getting to swim really good UCLA and San Diego State teams, helps to break up the trip a little bit."
In the middle distance events, Campbell has confidence in Kansas native, freshman Haley Molden who currently holds all the freestyle records at Washburn Rural, to turn heads in the coming years.
"(Haley) has big goals right now," Campbell said. "She is definitely on that 2016 track, so she is going to come in and make a statement right away."
Swank and Morgan Sharp, KU's record holder in the 500 free, will be relied upon to score in the long distance events. Also in that group is junior Alison Moffit, who finished in the top-eight at the Big 12 Conference Championships a year ago.
"We are well represented in freestyle," Campbell said. "We have people who can do the short stuff, all the way to the long stuff, so we should be pretty strong."
"(Alina) is a very, very good backstroker," Campbell said. "She has world championship experience and she was really close to making the Ukrainian Olympic team this past year. She is going to make some noise."
Sophomore Caroline Patterson and junior Sara Snow, set new career-best times at the Big 12 Championships last year and will also be counted on to add depth in both the 100 and the 200-yard events, to round out the group for Campbell.
"We are probably not as deep as we could be, but we are young," Campbell said. "They are going to be around awhile and that is their thing, but they are very good, so it is a good group."
"Breaststroke is definitely one of our more solid events," Campbell said. "We have good talent and good depth, which should definitely be a strong point for us."
"I think it is going to be really great," Elliott said. "The level of competition is pretty steep, but having those experiences under their belt going into their junior and senior year is going to have them really ready to go this year."
"Their eyes are pretty wide open," Elliott said of his first year divers. "I am excited to have some young blood in here and have the upperclassmen guide them and really show them how the program works and what is expected of them."
One Meter Dive
"(Meredith) will be one of our strongest one meter divers," Elliott said. "She has the tools, she has the dives, she has the mechanics. I think she is going to do very well, especially as a freshman coming in."
Three Meter Dive
"(Christy's) strongest event is platform," Elliott said. "I think she can really crank it up there. She is definitely our strongest competitor as far as knowing how to compete and keep it together when it counts."