Swimming & Diving Mid-Season Report
Dec. 20, 2011
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas Jayhawk swimming and diving team enters the latter portion of their 2011-12 schedule with a 4-3 record and plenty of confidence, on the heels of a successful performance at the Mizzou Invite in Columbia (Dec. 2-4).
“Up until now I have been very impressed with our team,” said head coach Clark Campbell. “Every athlete walked out of the fall invite with at least one or two, maybe even three swims that they did pretty well in.”
“I definitely feel like we are further along this year, than we were last year at this point,” explained senior captain Stephanie Payne.
Payne and her teammates are currently in a month long competition lay-off, where they will rest and continue practicing until their week-long training trip to begin the New Year. The Jayhawks will head to Mayaguez, Puerto Rico from January 3-10 and will swim against LaSalle and Saint Michaels (Vt.) in a meet scheduled for Sat. Jan. 7.
“The most important thing about this trip is the ability to train outside,” head coach Clark Campbell said. “Swimmers love to train in the sun and we do not get that chance up here (in Kansas), so it is a very positive experience.”
Campbell’s squad will be training for long course events (meters) for the majority of the time, which is what the Olympics and other international competitions go by.
“We are pretty much short course year-round, so being able to train long course for a long period of time really helps our athletes,” Campbell explained. “Our meet on January 7th will be a good chance for us to get outside the conference as well as the mid-west and expand our horizons.”
As far as short course competition goes thus far, Campbell has been pleasantly surprised with his team’s progression through their first eight regular season events.
“This year has been very different in how we are preparing for the totality of 2012, so heading into our fall invite at Mizzou we did not have a ton of expectations,” Campbell thought. “I would say the team far surpassed our expectations and I would give them an A-, because I determined the invite as our mid-term exam.”
That A- was in large part due to top three finishes by 11 Jayhawk swimmers and divers including sophomore Morgan Sharp’s record breaking first place performance in the 500 freestyle (4:48.01), and junior Brooke Brull’s top time in the 200 back (1:59.49) on the invite’s final day.
“Brooke Brull swam great and missed her Olympic Trial cut on Sunday by hundredths of a second, so she is in a really good spot,” Campbell explained. “Morgan Sharp’s school record in the 500 free was a big time swim and she really has everyone excited about what she is going to do in the prime time part of the year.”
Campbell was also very pleased with another member of his solid senior corps.
“Abigail Anderson without a doubt stood out to me because she had a modified training program this fall,” Campbell explained. “I was hoping for her to go 0:55 in her 100’s (back/fly), which would be really good and she ended up way faster than that.”
In fact Anderson finished the first half of the season with fastest times less than 55 seconds in both events. A 53.39 second place performance in the 100 fly at the Mizzou Invite and a 53.81 third place finish in the 100 back the very next day.
Junior diver Christy Cash also had a noteworthy invite, placing third in the platform dive with a score of 216.30 on the final day of competition. Her Mizzou Invite performance was just two weeks after she and teammate Alyssa Golden both qualified for the NCAA Zone ‘D’ Diving Championships in a meet against Nebraska-Omaha. For Cash, this will mark the second straight year, she heads to zones.
As far as the rest of the season’s outlook following the trip to Puerto Rico, Campbell is optimistic but puts a large emphasis on his team’s training heading into the last part of their schedule.
“Since the invite we have shifted into the next phase of our training and have been doing more quality work,” he explained. “It is not race pace stuff yet, but it is more along the lines of maximizing aerobic power, so the training really takes on a much higher level as far as quality goes.”
Campbell feels that his team’s rigorous training will pay off during the most important and demanding parts of its schedule.
“They will take that training into January and February, which I call our dual meet season,” he said. “It is a chance to further see where we are and fine tune our strategies, because when we get into Big 12’s and NCAA’s we will just need to turn our minds off and go.”
MID-SEASON RECRUITING UPDATE
“Haley Molden is competing in Oklahoma City in the Chesapeake meet and I understand that she achieved a new life-time best in the 200 free, and will be swimming in the final of the event. She dropped a bunch of time in that event.”
“We are really impressed with the those three,” Campbell said. “They are still progressing and getting best times as they are going into college, so when they get to Lawrence, they will be hitting the ground with lots of momentum.”
2011 Junior Nationals (info/results): http://www.usaswimming.org/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabId=2146&Alias=Rainbow&Lang=en
2011 Chesapeake Elite Pro Am Meet (info/results): http://www.chesapeakeswimclub.org/Home.jsp?team=okcsc