All senior swimmer Robert Sturman had to do was look at coach Gary Kempf to see how he felt about the men's final home performance of the season.
"From the look on his face, he was not pleased," Sturman said. "We just didn't attack it like we should have. We should have been a lot closer than we were."
KU's men fell to No. 14 Minnesota, 110-40, at Robinson Natatorium on Saturday afternoon. The 18th-ranked Kansas women earned a split, however, topping No. 19 Minnesota, 97-53.
Sturman, who placed third in the 200 Butterfly with a time of 1:52.45, was right about Kempf's disenchantment with the men's squad.
"We were not a good team today. We were average," Kempf said. "We're the type of team on the men's side where we have to depend on everybody, and we didn't get production out of everybody."
KEMPF EXPECTED his team to be better prepared mentally, especially considering this was the last home meet for the team's seniors.
"I'm a little surprised and I'm a little disappointed," Kempf added. "Obviously I didn't do a good enough job of preparing them to be ready for a team like Minnesota. I need to do a better job of getting them mentally focused and emotionally aware to win the close races."
Kempf was a bit more at ease with the showing of the KU women. Sophomore Krista Cordsen placed first in both the 200 individual medley (2:07.02) and the 100 freestyle (52.24). Freshman Heather Switzer won the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:53.94, and senior Barb Pranger won the 200 butterfly in 2:04.43.
"I think we did a real solid job against a team that was supposed to be right behind us nationally," Pranger said. "We had some really good solid swimming, but there was really no fast swimming. But it's good to know we pretty much handled Minnesota without everyone swimming out of their minds."
SATURDAY MARKED the last time Pranger will swim competatively at Robinson.
"It's hard to look at it that way," Pranger said. "I think it's hitting us more now that all we're going to do is practice here from now until the Big Eight Championships. But I'm glad, at least on the girls side, that we did a good job in our last home meet."
Sturman, on the other hand, was disappointed with his final home appearance, both individually and as a team.
"It hurt me inside because I knew it was the last time I'd swim in front of my peers here, my coaches here and especially my parents. So it's kind of like an empty feeling part of my life is gone," Sturman said.
But Sturman is still excited about what lies ahead, especially the possibility of qualifying for a spot at the Olympic Trials during the first week of March in Indianapolis.
"WITH THE training we've done this year, and Gary's plan, I feel confident," said Sturman. "I've got a good feeling there's going to be a lot of guys that make it."
Pranger (in the 200 butterfly), Cordsen and Ronda Lusty (both in the 50 freestyle) and Scott Townsend have already qualified for the trials.
Next up for the team is a dual meet in two weeks with Iowa State, and a visit to Southern Illinois the following week. Two weeks after that are the Big Eight Championships in Lincoln, Neb.
"More than anything today was a mile marker, or a gauge, to see where we're at," Pranger said. "I think a lot of people realize we're just beginning to get fine-tuned for the Big Eights. But we're still four weeks away, and that's exactly what our swimming showed."