Caldwell and the Free State Swimmers Set Four Records at Kansas 6A State Championships

View the 5A-1A (small schools) recap here.

The swimmers of Free State High School in Lawrence, Kansas broke Shawnee Mission East’s five-year state championship streak at KSHSAA 6A Championships, setting state records in the 200 free relay, 100 free, 100 back, and the 400 free relay.

The star of the meet was undoubtedly senior Courtney Caldwell, who broke the 50 second barrier in the 100 free for 49.62. She also shattered the 100 backstroke record by over a second in prelims with a swim of 54.11. Caldwell went a little slower in backstroke finals (54.40), but she beat out the competition by 2.76 seconds.

The 200 free relay record, 1:36.80, came from Free State swimmers Eliza Anderson, Claire Campbell, Sydney Sirimongkhon-Dyk, and Cierra Campbell. They just out-touched Shawnee Mission East’s Sarah Allegri, Rilye Fries, Hannah McPhail, and Crissie Blomquist who swam a 1:36.97.

Free State swimmers Cierra Campbell, Alvena Walpole, Claire Campbell, and Caldwell annihilated the competition in the 400 free relay in 3:30.00, taking away Washburn Rural’s record from 2010. The second place team, Shawnee Mission East, came into the wall eight seconds later in a 3:38.47.

“We’re pretty excited about this win,” said Caldwell, a senior who will be swimming for North Carolina State next year. “We were undefeated all season, so we had a lot of confidence going in.”

Free State finished up the meet with 424 points. Shawnee Mission East came in second with 399 points, and Olathe Northwest finished the meet third with 211 points.

Although they didn’t set a record in the 200 medley, Free State swept the relay events, finishing in 1:46.37. It was another close race; Shawnee Mission East touched right after in 1:46.41.

Diver Annie Turner of Blue Valley North took first place in the 1 meter event with a score of 445.25. The runner-up was Haley Johnson of Free State with 410.20, and Emily Bridges of Blue Valley followed with 392.70.

Cierra Campbell took first place in the 200 free, swimming a 1:51.36, followed by Blomquist in 1:52.64 and Joely Merriman of Shawnee Mission North in 1:57.53.

Fries, a senior who will be swimming for the University of Nebraska Lincoln next season, won the 200 IM in 2:05.76, followed by Walpole (2:08.12), and Meaghan Bower of Shawnee Mission Northwest (2:11.32).

Sirimongkhon-Dyk took first in 24.10 in a tightly-packed 50 free field, dropping one-tenth from her prelims time. Following her were freshman Megan Keil of Derby (24.26) and Sarah Allegri of Shawnee Mission East (24.47).

Fries of Shawnee Mission East rounded out her four victories with a 56.38 in the 100 butterfly. Walpole finished second with 56.79, followed by Hailey Brull of Shawnee Mission Northwest in 57.22.

The 500 freestyle was a nail-biter. Blomquist just out-touched Cierra Campbell with a 4:57.47. Campbell swam a 4:57.80.

In the final individual event of the afternoon, Brull took first in the 100 breast in 1:07.88, followed by Wichita East’s Aiden Chan, who swam a 1:08.21.

The final results are as follows:

  1. Free State: 424
  2. Shawnee Mission East: 399
  3. Olathe Northwest: 211
  4. Wichita East: 204
  5. Blue Valley North: 183
  6. Blue Valley Northwest: 165
  7. Shawnee Mission Northwest: 110
  8. Lawrence High School: 107
  9. Olathe East: 87
  10. Blue Valley High School: 79

Full results available here.


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7 years ago

Shawnee Mission East has actually won the last 5 years and is an incredible team. Their sportsmanship and talent is truly amazing. Rob Cole, their coach, is a phenominal coach that will prepare them for the upcoming season next year. Congratulations free state!

7 years ago

This article is extremely unbiased and completely accurate.

7 years ago

Congratulations Free State High School swimmers! What is it that makes athletes with the last name Campbell so fast in freestyle sprinting? The same seems to be true for Caldwell and backstroke! 😉

About Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht grew up in Kansas and spent most of her childhood trying to convince coaches to let her swim backstroke in freestyle sets. She took her passion to Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa and swam at NAIA Nationals all four years. After graduating in 2015, she moved to …

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