For the chance to qualify for the Olympic Trials, 12 swimmers traveled to Atlanta to compete in the Toyota U.S. Open from Dec. 4 through Dec. 7.
In a meet with such a large number of competitors (1,300+ athletes), coach Clark Campbell encouraged the team to “embrace the chaos.”
The first day of competition consisted of only the 800 Freestyle. Competing for Kansas was junior Crissie Blomquist, who entered with a time of 9:57.47. Placing 59th overall, Blomquist dropped her time nearly 50 seconds to 9:07.59.
Day two was much more strenuous. Kansas had six swimmers competing in three events.
Starting off the day was senior Jenny Nusbaum competing in the 400 Freestyle. She finished with a time of 4:19.72, landing her 43rd place overall.
Following the 400 free was the 200 individual medley. This race was heavily stacked for Kansas, containing four athletes.
Junior Dannie Dilsaver finished first out of the Jayhawks, 64th overall and with a time of 2:19.57. Close behind was sophomore Kate Steward, who finished in 71st with a time of 2:19.75. Senior Elizabeth Amato-Hanner landed in 100th place, finishing in 2:21.39. Freshman Amelie Lessing was the final Kansas swimmer, finishing in 2:23.03, landing 130th place overall.
Closing out the preliminary races was the 50 freestyle. Sophomore Dewi Blose was the only swimmer from Kansas to compete. She finished 102nd overall with a time of 26.86
On Friday the Jayhawks returned for another day of preliminary competitions.
Lessing competed in her second of three events: the 400 individual medley. In 54th place, Lessing finished with a time of 4:59.47.
Sophomore Greta Olsen competed next in the 100 butterfly. Olsen swam a 1:02.56, finishing in 75th place.
Nusbaum also returned to the pool for the 200 freestyle, which offered her another chance at placing. Finishing only 5.27 seconds behind the leader, Nusbaum landed in 35th place. She swam a time of 2:02.68.
The 100 breaststroke gave three more Jayhawks the chance to compete. Leading for Kansas was Steward, who placed 36th with a time of 1:11.25. Less than a second behind was senior Haley Downey in 50th place. She finished in 1:11.97. Closing the competition for the team was Dilsaver who finished in 71st with a time of 1:12.83.
Closing the third day of competition for the Jayhawks was the 100 backstroke. Leading the team was junior Manon Manning in 33rd place. Manning swam a 1:03.16. Lauryn Parrish, who placed 44th after swimmimg a time of 1:03.48. Following was Amato-Hanner in 55th, with a time of 1:03.90. Within a minute was Blose, who finished in 1:04.49, landing 82nd place. Sophomore Sydnie Horne followed in 129th place with a time of 1:06.38.
Kansas returned to the pool for the final day of competition on Saturday.
Racing in the 200 backstroke was Parrish, who swam a time of 2:17.02. Amato-Hanner was right behind in 39th with a time of 2:18.06. Manning finished third for the Jayhawks in 78th place with a time of 2:20.69.
With only three events left in the competition, Nusbaum returned for her final event. In the 100 freestyle, Nusbaum finished 58th overall with a time of 57.46.
Steward took to the pool for the last time in the 200 breaststroke. She swam a 2:33.41, placing 23rd overall. Dilsaver followed in 62nd place, with a time of 2:38.84. Downey closed in 67th, finishing with a time of 2:39.50.
The last race for Kansas came down to Lessing in the 200 butterfly. Lessing finished in 69th, swimming a 2:20.56.
Swimming against fierce competition, none of the Jayhawks qualified for the Trials but Campbell was impressed with their performance nonetheless.
“I was very happy with the team. We did quite well in a tough meet,” Campbell said.
As for the rest of the season, Kansas will continue to train for the Big 12 Championship, the NCAAs, and the Trials. The Olympic Trials will start June 19, 2020 in Omaha, Nebraska.