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Bradie Ward has announced that she has signed with the University of Kansas for the upcoming 2023-2024 season. Ward’s decision keeps her local, as she is currently a senior at Lawrence Free State High School, located in Lawrence, Kansas. She also trains and competes year-round with Ad Astra Area Aquatics, which is also in the Lawrence area.
“I’m so thrilled to announce my commitment to continue my athletic and academic career at the University of Kansas! I’m so thankful for my teammates, coaches, family, and especially my mom for all of the help along the way. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be a Jayhawk. Rock Chalk!!”
Ward has shown versatility in what she swims, but consistently earns her highest finishes in backstroke and mid-distance freestyle events. At the 2022 Futures Championships in Minneapolis, Ward finished 21st in the 100m backstroke with a 1:06.25 in finals. She also advanced to finals in the 400m free where she placed 25th with a personal best time by over three seconds (4:33.23), and in the 200m backstroke where she finished 27th (2:24.43).
Ward most recently competed at the 2023 NCSA Spring Championships where she recorded her highest finish in the 200 backstroke at 35th (2:01.69). She also swam the 100 free (52.75), 100 back (56.56), and 200 free (1:53.74), with her 200 free time being a season best.
Top SCY Times:
- 100 free – 52.25
- 200 free – 1:53.05
- 500 free – 4:58.61
- 100 back – 55.50
- 200 back – 2:00.15
- 200 IM – 2:06.29
- 400 IM – 4:28.90
The Jayhawks are coming off of a 5th place finish at the 2023 Big 12 Conference Championships. Ward’s best 200 backstroke time would have put her just inside the A-final at this year’s meet, while her best 100 back would have earned a spot in the B-final.
Kansas was led by Lezli Sisung in the 100 backstroke and Dewi Blose in the 200 back this season. Sisung clocked a 53.52 in prelims of the 100 back at conference, and ended up 2nd overall with a 54.23 in finals. Blose was runner-up in the 200 back with a 1:57.79, while Sisung also cracked the 2-minute barrier to finish 4th (1:59.35). Sisung will still be on campus for two more years.
Joining Ward in the Jayhawks’ class of 2027 is Gracyn O’Mara, Ryan Johnston, Halle McCullough, and Abby Naden. Johnston and McCullough are breaststrokers, while O’Mara swims distance. Naden overlaps somewhat with Ward’s events, but she is more sprint freestyle-oriented.
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