Lawrence Free State’s Courtney Caldwell had one mission — and only one — entering her final swimming meet of her decorated high school career. She wanted to contribute to her team’s success.
Caldwell notched four record-breaking performances at the Kansas girls swimming and diving state meet and led the Firebirds to the Kansas Class 6A team championship. Along the way, Caldwell won individual state titles in the 100-yard freestyle, 100 backstroke and she contributed to the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays.
Her feats brought her high school total to 13 career state titles and earned her The Star’s All-Metro Kansas girls swimmer of the year award.
“This year as a whole has been crazy,” Caldwell said. “I committed to a (college), I swam really well at club, I swam really well in high school and it has just been a great year. For a senior in high school, I couldn’t have asked for much better.”
Caldwell, a North Carolina State signee, started on a high note at her final state meet. She bested her own 100 freestyle state record in the preliminaries with a time of 50.01 seconds. She also set a state record in the 100 backstroke at 54.11 seconds.
She came back the next day and broke her 100 freestyle state record again at 49.62 seconds, then helped set a state record in the 200 medley relay at 1 minute, 46.37 seconds and the 400 freestyle relay at 3 minutes, 30 seconds.
“She worked really hard to make sure she was ready for this particular meet,” Lawrence Free State coach Annette McDonald said. “Her sprinting was on and her turns were on. There was a lot of technique, but a lot of effort going into making that happen. I’m really proud that she put it together.”
The Star’s All-Metro Kansas girls swimming and diving team
200-YARD MEDLEY RELAY
Lawrence Free State (Courtney Caldwell, senior; Ava Cormaney, freshman; Alvena Walpole, freshman; Sydney Sirimongkhon-Dyck, junior). The Firebirds won the Kansas Class 6A state title in 1 minute, 46.37 seconds.
Cierra Campbell, Lawrence Free State, junior. Campbell improved on a third-place finish at the state meet last year and won the Kansas Class 6A state title in 1 minute, 51.36 seconds. She also placed second in the 500 freestyle and helped the Firebirds win the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY
Rilye Fries, Shawnee Mission East, senior. Although she swam just one season for the Lancers, Fries made quite an impression. She won the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly. Her winning time in the 200 IM was 2 minutes, 5.76 seconds.
Sydney Sirimongkhon-Dyck, Lawrence Free State, junior. She’s the fifth-ranked recruit in Kansas, according to collegeswimming.com and she won the Kansas Class 6A 50 freestyle in 24.10 seconds. She also helped the Firebirds win 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay state titles.
Payton Kisinger, Blue Valley West, senior. The Jaguars’ lone diver had a record-breaking performance at the Kansas Class 5-1A state meet, where she scored 477.95 total points for 11 dives. She also set a pool record at the Eastern Kansas League meet, where she won with 469.4 points.
Cailey Grunhard, Bishop Miege, sophomore. Grunhard continued her impressive high school swimming career with a defense of her Kansas Class 5-1A state title in the 100 butterfly. She set a state record and finishede in 55.35 seconds.
Courtney Caldwell, Lawrence Free State, senior. Caldwell, a North Caroline State signee, won the Kansas Class 6A 100 freestyle state title and set a state record in 49.62 seconds. She also won the 100 backstroke and helped the Firebirds capture the 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay state titles.
Crissie Blomquist, Shawnee Mission East, sophomore. In her first season with the Lancers, Blomquist made a splash and won the Kansas Class 6A 500 freestyle state title in 4 minutes, 57.47 seconds. She also placed second in the 200 freestyle at state and swam on two second-place relay teams.
200 FREESTYLE RELAY
Lawrence Free State (Eliza Anderson, senior; Claire Campbell, freshman; Sydney Sirimongkhon-Dyck, junior; Cierra Campbell, junior). The Firebirds won the Kansas Class 6A state title in a record-setting time of 1 minute, 36.80 seconds.
Sarah Allegri, Shawnee Mission East, junior. Allegri, the No. 3-ranked recruit in Kansas according to collegeswimming.com, placed second in the Kansas Class 6A state meet 100 backstroke and placed third in the 50 freestyle. Her backstroke time was 57.16 seconds.
Maddie Carrigan, Blue Valley Southwest, senior. Carrigan helped the Timberwolves win the Kansas Class 5-1A team state title. She won the 100 breaststroke in 1 minute, 7.56 seconds. She also contributed to state championship 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay teams.
400 FREESTYLE RELAY
Lawrence Free State (Cierra Campbell, junior; Eliza Anderson, senior; Claire Campbell, freshman; Courtney Caldwell, senior). The Firebirds set a Kansas Class 6A state meet record, when they won the 400 freestyle relay in 3 minutes, 30 seconds.