KU Gears Up For Non-Conference Meet With Nebraska-Omaha
Nov. 17, 2011
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Coming off of a hard fought loss last week against rival Missouri, the Kansas swimming and diving team will look to bounce back against the Mavericks of Nebraska-Omaha, Saturday in Lawrence. The Jayhawks enter the match-up at 3-3, having claimed victories in two out of the last three meets, and are now at full strength heading into their second to last home meet of the season.
“What we are really happy with right now is that the team is a lot healthier,” said head coach Clark Campbell. “We had a stomach virus run through the team and had people go down like dominos, but those dominos are now back-up and we are training well, so we are looking forward to Saturday.”
A healthy team going into the UNO meet is also an experienced team. Having gone-up against nationally ranked opponents such as Arizona, Minnesota and Missouri, some on the team think those challenges early-on will help the team as they approach the end of their regular season slate and head toward the Big 12 Championships in February.
“I think it is really good for us because the past couple of years, we have had meets early on in the season against tough teams,” said senior Kath Liggett. “So it helps our confidence when we race other good teams because we realize if we have come close against those really competitive schools, then we can handle what comes our way later on in the year.”
Liggett and her fellow seniors continue to lead a young KU team that is showing promise week in and week out. Some of those newcomers making a splash so far this season include junior transfers Vanessa Hanbury and Svetlana Golovchun. Golovchun will be making her debut in the 100 backstroke this weekend against UNO, which is an event her coach expects to see her in later on in the year.
“Svetlana is still getting used to collegiate swimming in the US and becoming accustomed to going from meters to yards,” Campbell said. “She is getting more exposure to the 100 yard events and is doing a really good job leading off our 200 yard medley relay, so I think it will be interesting to see how she does in the individual events.”
Both Hanbury and Golovchun have at least won an event this season, with Hanbury claiming a total of four first place finishes. Freshman Deanna Marks is also a newcomer of note, claiming a pair of top event times to put in her corner.
“Deanna always has so much energy,” Liggett said of the first year swimmer from Plano, Texas. “She gives it her all in workouts and has a positive attitude, which makes me confident that there will be quality swimmers who take our spots after we leave.”
Before Liggett and her senior class can pass the torch to those underclassmen, they still have four meets and an invite to compete in heading into Big 12’s. One of those will be against Nebraska-Omaha, who comes to Lawrence in search of their first victory of the 2011-12 season. The Mavs’ carry a record of 0-5 into the matchup, with losses to Air Force, Northern Colorado, Illinois State, Northern Iowa and Nebraska.
The Mavericks are a relatively young team with just two seniors on their roster. Those four-year letter winners include Ariel Lahowetz (free/back) and Kylie Hubbell (middle distance/free). Their upperclassmen are primarily comprised of juniors, who are quite versatile and swim a number of events. Those two trios include Mattie Fosbender, Anna Haxby and Olathe, Kan. native Cammi Hansberry, who all swim the freestyle events with Haxby and Hansberry also contributing in backstroke events. Fellow juniors Chelsea Hartman, Katie Maier and Maggie Modlin round out the class with Hartman and Maier both swimming the breaststroke and Modlin specializing in the free/fly and IM.
“It is going to be a quick meet as we go with a 13 event order instead of a 16 event order, because they have their invite coming up in a couple weeks and we have ours,” Campbell said. “It is really going to be that last opportunity to get a race or two in for some of our swimmers to see where they are. Really up to this point everyone has done their primary focused event, so we will use this as a final tune-up before the Mizzou Invite.”
Saturday’s meet will also be a homecoming of sorts for six Mavericks who call the Sunflower State home. Sophomore Lexi Bergeron and junior Cammi Hansberry are both from Johnson County, while freshmen Fran Finehout-Vigil and Maddie Richardson as well as sophomore Hannah Alexander call Shawnee County home. Sophomore Tiesha Scipio will be just 90 miles from her hometown of Manhattan on Saturday.
“UNO is making the move to Division I and they have recruited this area quite a bit because it is a good place for swimmers and it is close,” Campbell said. “A number of them are going to be able to swim in front of their family and friends, so it is a good trip for them.”
For Campbell and his team, Saturday’s meet will be an important one, because it will be their final tune-up before they travel to Columbia to take part in the Mizzou Invite December 1-4.
“I look at this meet a lot like how they (the swimmers) go to school,” Campbell said. “In their classes, there are quizzes and then you have a mid-term exam, followed by a final. Right now, we look at the Mizzou Invite as our mid-term because it is mid-way through the season. They have prepared by swimming in all of our dual meets before, which act as quizzes before the mid-term.”
After their mid-season trip to Columbia, Kansas will not compete in a meet until January 14 as they will fly to the island of Puerto Rico for a training trip, January 3-10.
Saturday will also mark the second to last home meet of the season for the Jayhawks, as KU will return to Robinson just one more time to host Nebraska in January. The UNO meet will start at 11am inside Robinson Natatorium, admission is free and as always results, recaps and interviews can be found at kuathletics.com following competition.