Women’s squad opens season against Kansas

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    The TCU women’s swimming and diving team will be the first to compete for the 2013-14 season against Kansas Thursday.

    With the return of 19 swimmers and three divers, the women’s squad added five freshman swimmers, a freshman diver and two transfers to the roster.

    The swimming and diving program has been practicing indoors for the past two weeks, where the athletes have been split into groups by stroke specialties.

    The balanced distribution of stroke specialties have created cohesiveness amongst the women’s squad, head coach Richard Sybesma said.

    The meet against Kansas will also be the first Big 12 competition of the season. The meet is expected to be an even match, Sybesma said.

    “A lot of the events will be a flip of a coin,” he said. “That’s how close it would be.”

    Sybesma said Kansas might have a slight edge in the breaststroke and individual medley events, but TCU is expected to be better in the sprint and distance events.

    One of the leading returners for TCU is junior Ali Bleasdell, who earned All-Big 12 honors in the 200 fly, 200 IM and 400 IM last season. Bleasdell also set TCU records in the 200 IM and 400 IM.

    Sophomore Sara Brzozowski also returns after setting school records in the 1,000 free and 1,650 free last season. She earned All-Big 12 honors in the 500 free and 1,650 free.

    Sybesma said freshmen Lyndsie Gibson and Julie Grace Sanders are expected to be event leaders for the Frogs this season.

    For the Jayhawks, senior Alison Lusk is an expected leader in the breaststroke event, according to a Kansas press release. Lusk earned a season-best time in the 100-yard breaststroke at the Big 12 Championships last season.

    Although Kansas was known for competitiveness in the individual medley event last season, sophomore Chelsie Miller is the only athlete who specializes in the event who is returning this season.

    The first three meets of the season against Kansas, North Carolina and San Diego State will be home at the TCU Recreation Center Natatorium.

    Sybesma said it is an advantage to open the first week of the season at home.

    “We’re in the phase of ‘defend our house,’” he said. “I have expectations to win.”

    The meet against Kansas will begin at 1 p.m. on Thursday.