Wichita-East Defends Title at Kansas 6A Girl’s HS State Championship

2018 Kansas 6A High School Girl’s State Championships

A recap of Friday’s prelims can be found here.

2017 Top Three Team Finishers:

  1. Wichita East – 296 points
  2. Shawnee Mission East – 282
  3. Lawrence Free State – 236

2018 Top Three Team Finishers:

  1. Wichita-East – 284 points
  2. Lawrence Free State – 261
  3. Shawnee Mission-East – 256.5

Wichita-East upset reigning the champs from Lawrence High School in the 200 medley relay, touching the wall 1:47.96 to 1:49.21. Lawrence High’s crosstown rival Lawrence Free State took 3rd in 1:49.25. Katerina Savvides of Wichita-East and Cayla Prophater of Blue Valley-North got their relays off to fast starts, splitting 26.78 and 26.75, respectively, in the 50 backstroke. Though Prophater gave Blue Valley-North a slim lead, Wichita-East, Lawrence, and Lawrence Free State quickly overtook Blue Valley-North on the breaststroke, with each of their swimmers splitting between 30.0 and 30.6, whereas Blue Valley-North’s breaststroke split came in at 32.0.

The fastest relay splits all came from different teams:

  • Back: Prophater – 26.75 – Blue Valley-North: 6th
  • Breast: Marian Frick – 32.02 – Lawrence High: 2nd
  • Fly: Kasey Dunn – 25.57 – Lawrence Free State: 3rd
  • Free: Baylor McPherson – 24.60 – Wichita-East: 1st

Free State’s Claire Campbell held onto her top seed and dipped under 1:50 to clinch the victory in the 200 free, though she had a tough battle from Astrid Dirkzwager of Wichita-East, who took silver in 1:49.98. Though Dirkzwager had a narrow 1/10th lead at the 100, 53.05 to Campbell’s 53.15, Campbell closed stronger, 56.59 to Dirkzwager’s 56.93. Maci McCullough of Wichita-West took bronze in 1:52.52; though McCullough flipped in 53.53 and nearly equal with Dirkzwager, she faded to a 58.99 on the final 100.

Olathe-North’s Anika Lam ran away with the 200 IM, touching the wall in 2:04.33, fully 1.6 seconds ahead of runner-up Cayla Prophater of Blue Valley-North, who took silver in 2:05.95. Lam had a 6/10th lead over Prophater after the butterfly, which she extended over the other three legs of the race. Bronze went to Emily Guo of Lawrence High, who touched in 2:08.65.

Derby’s Megan Keil lowered her own state record in the 50 freestyle, posting a 22.70 to shave .04 from the standard she set in the prelims of the 2017 6A Championships. Shawnee Mission-North’s Joely Merriman touched 2nd in 24.18, while Minnesota-bound Emma Linscott of Shawnee Mission-East took 3rd in 24.24 in the ‘A’ final comprised entirely of seniors.

Shortly after the 50 free, Linscott stepped up again for the 100 fly, this time instead of taking gold in a time of 57.06. Going into the final, Linscott and Wichita-East’s Katerina Savvides shared the number-one seed after posting 57.45 on Friday. In the finals this afternoon, Savvides just barely led Linscott at the 50-yard turn, 26.64 to 26.76. Linscott surged in the 2nd 50, splitting a 30.30 to Savvides’s 30.58. Savvides, who also improved upon her prelims time, finished in 57.22.

Makenna Bluitt from Shawnee Mission-West narrowly took the gold in one-meter diving, finishing with a total of 390.45 points. Silver went to Emily Tran of Blue Valley-Northwest, who tallied 388.95. Bronze was won by Madi Vanderpool, also of Shawnee Mission-West, with 373.5 points. Shawnee Mission-West earned even more points in diving thanks to an 11th-place finish from senior Rachel Turner. No team in the 6A meet earned as many points from diving as St. Thomas Aquinas did in the 5-1A Championship, placed divers 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 7th.

Megan Keil made it a sprint double and won the 100 free in 51.38, nearly a full second ahead of runner-up Joely Merriman (52.36), who also took silver to Keil in the 50. Merriman barely out-touched 200 IM champion Anika Lam, who finished in 52.39. Lam, the lone sophomore in the ‘A’ final which was otherwise comprised of 7 seniors, had the fastest 2nd 50 of any swimmer in the field other than Keil, splitting a 27.02 down the back half of the race. Merriman and Lam were nearly even the entire way; Merriman had a 0.17 lead at the 50, though she relinquished 0.14 of it to Lam on the 2nd 50, splitting a 27.16, but still managed to touch ahead of Lam and secure herself another silver.

Claire Campbell doubled on the “distance” freestyles to win the 500 in 4:57.64. Maci McCullough, who finished 3rd in the 200, took silver in 5:02.51. The only other swimmer in 6A to come in under 5:10 was Shawnee Mission-East’s Izzy Smith who won bronze in 5:08.20. Campbell paced her race well, registering 56.53/1:00.57/1:00.63/1:00.59/59.32. McCullough was also very consistent throughout, splitting 57.09/1:01.53/1:01.67/1:01.80/1:00.42 for her final 5:02.51.

Wichita-East won the 200 freestyle relay by nearly 2 seconds and also skated under the state record of 1:36.80, set in 2015 by Lawrence Free State. The team of Astrid Dirkzwager, Gillian Pierce-Butt, Baylor McPherson, and Julia Whitfield put up splits of 24.02, 24.48, 24.50, and 23.77, respectively, to establish a new state record time of 1:36.77. The fastest split in the race came from Lawrence Free State’s Claire Campbell who posted a 23.47 anchor leg.

Astrid Dirkzwager and Katerina Savvides scored big points for Wichita-East in the 100 backstroke where they placed 1st and 3rd, respectively. Dirkzwager won the race in a 55.85, though she was followed closely by Blue Valley-North’s Cayla Prophater who touched for silver in 55.92. Savvides shaved half-a-second from her prelims time for a 56.80 and bronze.

Lawrence High’s Emily Guo and Marian Frick went 1-2 in the 100 breast, touching the wall in 1:05.75 and 1:06.56, respectively. Though Guo and Frick were out at an almost identical pace at the 50–Guo at 31.06 to Frick’s 31.14–Guo pulled away at the end. Bronze went to Hannah Balch form Wichita-East, who touched in 1:07.16.

Wichita-East capped off the meet with a commanding victory in the 400 freestyle relay. The team of Whitfield (53.45), Savvides (53.47), Balch (55.04), and Dirkzwager (51.03) turned in a 3:32.99, far out-pacing runners-up Lawrence Free State (3:35.21) and Shawnee Mission-East (3:36.80). Once again, the fastest split in the field came from Free State’s Campbell, who blasted a 50.98, making her the only swimmer sub-51, and along with Dirkzwager, one of only two sub-52.

In the end, Wichita-East defended their title with a total of 284 points, holding off Lawrence Free State which finished with 261 points, and Shawnee Mission-East, which tallied 256.5 points.


  • 200 Medley Relay: Wichita-East – 1:47.96
  • 200 Free: Claire Campbell, Lawrence Free State – 1:49.74
  • 200 IM: Anika Lam, Olathe-North – 2:04.33
  • 50 Free: Megan Keil, Derby – 22.70 (New State Record)
  • 1 Meter Diving: Makenna Bluitt, Shawnee Mission West – 390.45
  • 100 Fly: Emma Linscott, Shawnee Mission East – 57.06
  • 100 Free: Megan Keil, Derby – 51.38
  • 500 Free: Claire Campbell, Lawrence Free State – 4:57.64
  • 200 Free Relay: Wichita-East – 1:36.77 (New State Record)
  • 100 Back: Astrid Dirkzwager, Wichita-East – 55.85
  • 100 Breast: Emily Guo, Lawrence – 1:05.75
  • 400 Free Relay: Wichita-East – 3:32.99

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About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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