It all came down to the last race of the afternoon. Illinois and Kansas were neck and neck until the bitter end.
The 200-yard freestyle relay was a must-win to emerge victorious in the overall meet, and the final leg of the race ended up determining the winner.
Spectators thought Illinois finished first, but the timing system told a different story. Kansas sophomore Yulya Kuchkarova out-touched Illinois senior Megan Marchuck by .03 of a second to finish out the day, clinching a win for the Jayhawks.
“When I first saw it, I thought ‘Oh they touched us out,’ but when I looked up, we had won by .03 of a second,” coach Clark Campbell said.
Kansas won the meet 154-146. Prior to the dual against Illinois, Kansas won its duals by an average of 134.2 points.
Helping Kansas secure the win were juniors Chelsie Miller and Haley Molden, and freshmen Hannah Driscoll and Madison Straight.
Miller won all three of her individual events for the afternoon. She finished her 1,000-yard freestyle in a time of 10:09.75, winning the event by four seconds. She recorded a 4:57.24 in the 500-yard freestyle, winning by 1 ½ seconds. She coasted to victory in the 400-yard IM, defeating the rest of the competition by at least five seconds.
“I’m really happy,” Miller said. “This week has been pretty tough; we increased our yardage. I’ve been a little tired, and I wasn’t too sure how I was going to do. I’m really happy with it. I was freaking out a little bit, but it was fun.”
Molden was on the winning 200-yard freestyle relay and anchored the fourth place finishing 200-yard medley relay. She also swam in the 100-yard freestyle, winning by .5 of a second. Molden also secured a win in the 200-yard freestyle by finishing in 1:50.94.
Driscoll anchored the second place 200-yard medley relay, won the 50-yard freestyle, finished third in the 100-yard freestyle and started the 200-yard freestyle relay.
“This was a big meet for Hannah Driscoll,” Campbell said.
Straight won the 200-yard backstroke, finishing in a time of 2:03.57. She also swam in the 400-yard IM and the 200-yard freestyle, placing third and fourth respectively.
The swimmers and divers have a competition break before they split up. Starting on Nov. 20, the divers head to Austin, Texas, for the University of Texas Diving Invitational. The swimmers host the Kansas Classic Nov. 21-23. The Kansas Classic is held in Topeka at the Capitol Federal Natatorium.
— Edited by Emily Brown