As the temperature plummeted in Kansas, the swimming and diving team headed south, with meets at the University of Georgia, located in Athens and Rollins College, located in a suburb of Orlando.
At the Georgia Diving Invitational, in the one-meter dive, sophomore Meredith Brownell and freshman Graylyn Jones placed 22nd and 25th respectively. Brownell scored 234.5 while Jones, not far behind scored 228.05. -Three other divers competed in the event as well. Freshman Amanda Maser was 39th, scoring 201.25. Alyssa Golden, senior, was right behind her at 40th, scoring 198.70. Rounding out the Jayhawk divers was Madeline Martin, sophomore, who placed 45th with a score of 183.80.
The other event, which partook the following day was the three-meter dive. Brownell lead the Kansas squad in this event as well, taking 29th place and scoring 229.85. Golden followed, placing 36th, scoring 214.85. Martin took 42nd place (202.30), Maser took 47th place (188.75) and Jones finished in 52nd (157.65).
“The whole meet was to get more experience and gauge where we are,” said diving coach Brian Pritt. “Meredith and Graylyn did well [in the one-meter dive] and as a whole, we are just trying to see what things we need to work on. During winter training we are going to pick up the intensity and focus level so the nerves don't take over.”
At the triangular meet hosted by Rollins College, the Jayhawks won by landslides against the host (202-55) and Tampa (195.5-61.5).
Leading the way for the swimmers, were the members of the relays. The Kansas 200 medley relay teams finished first, second, and third. The young team consisted of Freshman Yulduz “Yulya” Kuchkarova, sophomore Bryce Hinde, Freshman Pia Pavlic, and freshman Leah Pfitzer swam the top time of 1:45.74 in the medley relay. The other relays performed at a top tier level as well. Their 500-yard freestyle relays clocked in at 5:22.50 and 5:28.99, finishing first and second. Kansas' 200-yard freestyle relay also finished first (1:38.42), finishing a solid three seconds before the second place Tampa squad.
In the individual events, coach Clark Campbell was excited about how well Deanna Marks, junior, and Sofiia Filatova, senior, performed.
“The swimmers of the meet for us were Filatova and Marks... Those two had a good meet along with several others,” Campbell elaborated.
Both Jayhawks had strong performances in the 50-yard and 100-yard butterfly events. In the shorter of the two, Marks finished first, swimming a time of 26.17. The race wasn't easily won, due to Filatova being right on her heels, finishing just .02 seconds behind her younger teammate. In the 100-yard race Filatova finished first with a time of 57.26. Marks finished just behind her, clocking in at 58.04.
Some of the “several others” consisted of Morgan Sharp, Kuchkarova, and Hinde. Sharp, the senior freestyler, came home with a pair of wins in the 100 and 200-meter freestyles. Kuchkarova swept the backstroke events, while Hinde dominated in the breaststroke races, placing first in both as well.
“We still have some work to do, but we can tell a difference in how they are racing, their stroke techniques and how well they are doing with starts and turns,” said Campbell. “I'm starting to see them compete in championship form.”
After their dominating performances on the boards and in the pool, the Jayhawks made their way further south to Puerto Rico, where their training camp was located. They are due to return January 19. Turn around time for the ladies is short, considering they host a duel with the University of Arkansas-Little Rock in the Robinson Natatorium on January 25.
-- Edited by Chelsea Mies