A Kansas swim coach hopes to bring open-water swimming to the collegiate level.
Kansas University swim coach Clark Campbell is proof the example of sports innovation Dr. James Naismith set continues among Jayhawk coaches.
Campbell is planning to bring the first collegiate open-water championships to Lone Star Lake. As a step toward that goal, Campbell has sent a letter to Douglas County public works director Keith Browning, requesting use of the lake Sept. 15 through 17. Commissioners are to consider the request Wednesday.
Campbell said with open-water swimming now an Olympic event, there has been interest among university swim coaches to introduce the sport at the college level. As a board member of the College Swimming Coaches Association of America, he approached the organization about KU hosting the first collegiate men’s and women’s open-water, 5-kilometer championships at Lone Star Lake.
“It’s the first ever,” he said. “We’re trying to bring open-water swimming to Lawrence. It’s serendipitous we can set up a 5K so perfectly on Lone Star. It’s a perfect place for an open-water race.”
With the 5K race starting and ending at Lone Star’s swimming beach, it’s a good spot for spectators, too, Campbell said.
“There’s a lot of spectator access,” he said. “They should be able to watch a good two-thirds of the race.”
Spectators witnessing the start of the races, which are scheduled for a Saturday the KU football team is on the road, are in for a treat as they watch all the competitors in a race start at the same time, Campbell said.
“A mass start is something unlike anything you’ve ever seen in sports,” he said. “It’s kind of like professional wrestling meets swimming. There is some strategy that goes into getting a good start.”
Read more: Ljworld.com