AMES, Iowa, February 8. AFTER eight events, the University of Kansas women’s swimming and diving team leads fellow Big 12 school Iowa State by a single point, 75.5-74.5, in the teams’ two day dual meet in Ames. Kansas earned victories from Morgan Sharp, Chelsie Miller and Bryce Hinde, while Iowa State picked up wins from Elizabeth Kleiner, Marissa Engel, Imelda Wistey, Amanda Paulson and Jessica Henderson.
Kansas Press Release
Kansas senior Morgan Sharp finished first by six-hundredths of a second in the 200-yard freestyle, helping Kansas to a one-point advantage (75.5-74.5) heading into day two of competition against conference foe Iowa State.
Sharp finished with a time of 1:51.24, just ahead of Karyl Clarete of Iowa State (1:51.30). The senior also swam the fastest leg in the 200-yard medley relay team that won with a time of 1:45.83.
“She led the team today,” head coach Clark Campbell said. “She out-touched for the win by six-hundredths a seconds. Dual meets are weighted by winning events and by out-touching (Sharp’s) competitors we are in a better position going into tomorrow. It was easy to see that she was not going to be denied getting to the wall first tonight. I saw fire in her in the last 25 yards of both races.”
Other top finishers for Kansas included sophomore Chelsie Miller, who finished first in the 200-yard butterfly at the 2:04.68 mark and fellow classmate Bryce Hinde, who tied for first in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:04.95).
“The Iowa State swimmer that Bryce tied with has already qualified for the NCAA Championships,” Campbell said. “It was a good race for her since she has been struggling since coming back from Christmas. It was a good race for her to take into the Big 12 Championships.”
Despite the four-hour bus ride before getting in the pool to compete, Campbell said he was pleased with the way most of his team handled the first day of the meet.
“It’s always a challenge to go on a bus trip, get off and compete right away,” Campbell said. “This was one of our better bus meets by far. About half the team swam well today, while the other half struggled coming off the bus. Usually we don’t get 50 percent of the team. I was happy with those that swam well and they put us in a good spot tonight. Those that didn’t have a chance to rest up and have a good day tomorrow.”
The dual meet is set up in an untraditional fashion by dividing the 16 events up among two days. The Jayhawks will come back tomorrow morning to finish the back half of the meet. With only eight events tonight, the team was able to focus on fewer events in one session.
“It ran like a typical dual meet in the sense that it was very fast,” Campbell said. “It went by quick, but what is nice is the athletes are doing two events at most per session. They can focus on what they need to get done. It runs faster and there’s less going on.”
Up by only a point, Campbell wants his team to show up ready to compete tomorrow morning. He expects every Jayhawk to be performing at a high level.
“The meet is close,” Campbell said. “The score might as well be 0-0. We will take our one-point edge. I am happy with where we are because I was expecting to be down a little bit at the end of today. Tomorrow is a big day for us. We need the girls who swam at a high level today to continue what they are doing and the rest of the team to get on board with them.”
Since training camp at the beginning of January, the team has been working to improve on several aspects important to success. Having energy and enthusiasm is crucial going into post-season competition and Campbell was pleased with the level of both tonight.
“One thing that we talk about is having energy and enthusiasm,” Campbell said. “Out of all dual meets this season, I thought tonight was the best in that regard. It’s what we have been looking for. They were having fun and still focused on what they needed to accomplish. That resulted in fast times. We need to replicate that tomorrow.”
Kansas will be back in the pool tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. for day two of the competition.
Iowa State Press Release
The Kansas Jayhawks (7-4, 0-1 Big 12) hold a 75.5-74.5 lead over Iowa State (6-3-1, 1-1 Big 12) in part one of the two-day event. As anticipated, the two Big 12 Conference rivals matched up well in the first seven events of the dual meet.
“It’s a very close meet. Morgan Sharp for KU touched us out twice, so we have to come back tomorrow and try to touch her out,” Iowa State head swimming coach Duane Sorenson said. “It’s been a great meet – our kids are really competing well. Tomorrow’s another day, and we’re going to step up and race.”
In the final event of the evening, Iowa State school record holder in the 50 freestyle, Amanda Paulson, eclipsed a career milestone by notching her 25th first-place finish in her signature event with a time of 0:23.13.
“She’s just a phenomenal person and a great competitor. She takes a lot of pride in that race and just really gets up for it,” Sorenson said of his two-time most valuable swimmer.
The Jayhawks jumped out to an early 13-4 lead over Iowa State after finishing first and third in the 200 medley relay. Paulson mounted a comeback on the last leg of the relay, but fell 0.07-second shy of KU’s time of 1:45.83.
The Cyclones rallied to go ahead 38-36 – their first lead of the evening – after a one-two finish by sophomore Marissa Engel and junior Bre Loeschke in the 100 backstroke.
The Jayhawks responded as sophomore Chelsie Miller and Deanna Marks finished first and second with times of 2:04.38 and 2:07.89, respectively in the 200 butterfly to regain the lead, 59.5-52.5.
“They just have to get in there and race,” Sorenson said. “You can’t have a predetermined outcome in your head when you’re standing on the block. You just have to get your hand to the wall and be those competitors they’ve been all season.”
On the boards, Iowa State senior Jessica Henderson tallied another first-place finish in the 1-meter event with a score of 289.72. ISU freshmen Becky Stochl and Julie Dickinson finished fifth and seventh, respectively.
“Jessica dove outstanding. She dove really solid in prelims, but she really stepped it up in finals. That was definitely one of her best lists,” Iowa State head diving coach said.
The Cyclones will return to Beyer Hall tomorrow at 9 a.m. for 3-meter prelims followed by senior day introductions.