What made the two-a-days and QuikTrip dinners worth it for Bishop Miege High School swimmer Cailey Grunhard? Three state records and a team state championship.
Before the records fell, though, Grunhard, who just completed her junior year, dedicated her life to swimming. She went almost immediately from her high school swim practice to her club team practice — a total of about four hours of swimming — with only enough time to grab a snack at a gas station in between.
“Sometimes there would only be enough time for a granola bar or something,” said Grunhard, The Star’s All-Metro Kansas girls swimmer of the year. “It was tiring sometimes, but it all paid off.”
Grunhard capped off her season with a team state championship at the Kansas Class 5-1A state meet, and she was part of four state title performances.
On the day of state-meet preliminaries, Grunhard broke the 100-yard butterfly record, swimming the distance in 53.64 seconds. In finals the next day, she broke her own state record, and won her second state title in that event in 53.26 seconds.
The Class 5-1A state record for the 100-yard backstroke also fell to Grunhard, in 55.15 seconds. She swam on Miege’s state record-breaking 200-yard medley relay team (1:47.99) and their winning 400-yard freestyle relay team (3:40.41).
“I can’t believe our relay actually got the record,” she said. “That one was the most exciting for me because we saw how close we were in prelims.”
Since collecting all her hardware at the state meet, Grunhard competed in the Olympic trials in Omaha, where she swam in the 100-yard butterfly and finished in 1:01.81.
“Honestly, I can’t believe this year,” she said. “I would just say all my hard work has paid off. I just set a bunch of little goals, and every time I reach that it’s kind of a progression. I definitely want to break my records next year, too.”
The Star’s All-Metro Kansas girls swimming team
200 MEDLEY RELAY
Bishop Miege (Ava Ford, freshman; Franceska Hernandez-Nietling, junior; Cailey Grunhard, junior; Cassie Grunhard, sophomore) set a state record in 1:47.99 at the Kansas Class 5-1A state meet.
Cassie Grunhard, Bishop Miege, sophomore. The Eastern Kansas League champion in both the 100- and 200-yard freestyle events, Grunhard placed second in the 200 at the Kansas Class 5-1A state meet. She finished in 1:55.73.
200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY
Isabelle Finzen, Blue Valley Southwest, senior. Finzen won the Kansas Class 5-1A state meet in 2:09.55. She shaved nearly six seconds off her state meet preliminary time and helped BVSW win a team state title.
Sydney Sirimongkhon-Dyck, Lawrence Free State, senior. The Kansas Class 6A defending state champion took home a second straight title, this time winning in 23.65 seconds. That beat her previous PR of 23.78 seconds.
Morgan Hoffman, Blue Valley, junior. Hoffman won the Kansas Class 6A state crown with an overall score of 401.55 points, pulling through in the finals after her second-place finish in the semifinals.
Cailey Grunhard, Bishop Miege, junior. Grunhard won her second straight Kansas Class 5-1A state title and set a state record (53.26). She also set a state record in the 100-yard backstroke (55.15) and was on the state-record-setting 200-yard medley relay team for Miege.
Joely Merriman, Shawnee Mission North, sophomore. Merriman’s time of 52.32 seconds won her a Kansas Class 6A state title. She also placed second in the 200-yard freestyle.
Crissie Blomquist, Shawnee Mission East, junior. For the second year in a row, Blomquist won the Kansas Class 6A state title, this time in 4:56.27. She also anchored the state title-winning 200-yard freestyle relay team.
200 FREESTYLE RELAY
Shawnee Mission East (Sarah Allegri, senior; Hannah McPhail, sophomore; Emma Linscott, sophomore; Crissie Blomquist, junior) won the Kansas Class 6A state title in 1:37.85, avenging the Lancers’ second-place finish in 2015.
Sarah Allegri, Shawnee Mission East, senior. In 55.65 seconds, Allegri won the Kansas Class 6A state title. She was also on all three of SM East’s state championship-winning relay teams (200-yard medley, 200-yard freestyle and 400-yard freestyle).
Logan Johnsen, Blue Valley Southwest, junior. To help lead BVSW to a team state title, Johnsen won the Kansas Class 5-1A state title in 1:06.64. She was also on the second-place 200-yard medley relay team.
400 FREESTYLE RELAY
Shawnee Mission East (Crissie Blomquist, junior; Bonnie Longan, senior; Emma Linscott, sophomore; Izzy Smith, sophomore) Won the Kansas Class 6A state championship in 3:36.31.