Campbell sweeps 200, 500 free to lead Firebirds to 2nd at state meet; Lawrence’s Guo gets gold in 100 breast
TOPEKA — Free State senior Claire Campbell could almost taste a state title in the 200-yard freestyle last year after posting the top time in prelims, but she was humbled when Wichita East’s Astrid Dirkzwager and Shawnee Mission East’s Crissie Blomquist edged her in finals to gave her a third-place finish.
Campbell kept that experience in over the past year with the hopes of getting a second chance to garner a gold medal. While Blomsquist graduated last year, Campbell was once again neck and neck with Dirkzwager down the stretch during Saturday’s Class 6A state swim and dive meet at Capitol Federal Natatorium.
This time around, it was Campbell who touched the final wall first with a time of 1:49.74 — just 0.24 faster than Dirkzwager. The first-place finish set the tone for Campbell and her teammates for the rest of the meet. Campbell went on to grab another gold in the 500 free, and the Firebirds finished on the podium as the state runner-up.
“I really had my eye on that state title for the whole season knowing that last year I didn’t the result I wanted from that event,” Campbell, who notched a personal-best time by more than a second, said. “I was really motivated throughout the season and always thinking about it. I think just that last 25 (yards) I knew I could get it, so I was just really excited and wanted to put all I had knowing that I was a senior and that this was my last high school meet.”
Campbell knew that winning the 200 free would likely be a tougher test for her than the 500 free, but she had added incentive in the latter event as well. While Campbell finished first in Friday’s 500 free prelims by more than five seconds, she used the motivation of trying to break the five-minute mark to fuel her to another state title. The Free State senior clocked in at 4:57.64 — which was a personal best for high school swimming by four seconds.
“I was pretty excited,” Campbell said. “I really went into that race pretty confident and I swam confident. I think that really helped.”
The sweep in the long-distance freestyle events brought Campbell a great deal of satisfaction, but she was just as happy about how her teammates rose to the occasion to help the Firebirds come home with a state runner-up plaque.
“We really stepped it up the first day. We had a lot of people in the ‘A’ finals, a lot of people in the ‘B’ finals. Yesterday we were really excited going home. We were like, ‘OK. We can do this,'” Campbell said. “We really built our confidence after the prelims and I’m just so proud of how everyone performed. Last year we got third, so getting second is a pretty big deal.”
Campbell was one of five Firebirds to earn two individual medals. Payton Krug posted fourth-place finishes in the 200-yard IM and 100-yard breaststroke. Ainsley Krug finished fifth in the 500 free and sixth in the 100-yard backstroke. Ava Cormaney placed seventh in the 100 free and eighth in the 100 breaststroke. Kasey Dunn rounded out the individual medalists for the Firebirds with eighth-place finishes in the 100-yard butterfly and 200 free.
Along with several season-best individual performances, the Firebirds finished third or better in each relay. The Krug sisters, Dunn and Lydia Zicker placed third in the 200 medley relay. The all-senior 200 free relay of Cormaney, Zicker, Piper Rogers and Campbell took third. Free State saved their best collaborative performance for last, as Dunn, Janet Stefanov, Cormaney and Caldwell finished second in the 400 free relay.
The Firebirds finished with 261 points to edge Shawnee Mission East by 4.5 tallies for second. Wichita East won the meet with 284 points.
“Beating SME I feel was really on top of our bucket list this year,” Dunn said of the Firebirds edging their Sunflower League foe by 4.5 points for second. “Being that close to Wichita East is really good.”
Guo, Frick for one-two punch in 100 breast for LHS
Finishing right behind Shawnee Mission East in the team standings was Lawrence High, as the Lions racked up 198 points to take fourth.
The highlight of the meet for the Lions came close to not having the chance to happen, but Lawrence High junior Emily Guo was very thankful that it did. Guo’s race schedule for state had been up in the air when Lawrence High coach Kent McDonald was pondering over entries, but she ended up sticking with the 100-yard breaststroke to go along with her 200-yard IM.
Staying with the game plan paid off for Guo, who won a state title in the 100 breast with a time of 1:05.75. Guo was in utter disbelief when she looked up at the scoreboard before receiving a big hug from teammate Marian Frick, who came in second at 1:06.56.
“I was really surprised because I didn’t expect to go that time and also I was almost entered in a different event,” Guo said. “It was just exhilarating to see that I could go that fast.”
The places were reversed for Guo and Frick in prelims, but the results in the finals didn’t matter to them as long as they occupied the top two spots.
“We’re focused on trying to get points for the team instead of like individual accomplishments,” Guo said.
Guo and Frick teamed up with Aubrey Fischer and Megan Drumm in the 200-yard medley relay to rack up 34 points for the Lions with a second-place finish.
The Lions medaled in all three relays. Frick, Drumm, Guo and Madi Heckman came close to making some history with their fifth-place finish in the 200 free relay.
“Our 200 free relay was 0.2 off of a school record, too,” Frick said. “I think next year a lot of school records are going to get broken. It did not seem doable at the beginning of the season, but I think we can do it next year.”
The Lions rounded out the meet with a seventh-place finish in the 400 free relay from Morgan Jones, Jamie Abernathy, Fischer and Heckman. Jones earned individual medals in the 500 free (fourth place) and 200 free (seventh). The other two top-eight marks came from Eden Kingery (eighth place in the 1-meter dive) and Guo (third in the 200 IM).
“This is one of her (Guo’s) best meets. I think she’s done awesome,” Frick said. “She dropped (time) in everything at least a little bit,” Frick said. “She’s had such a good meet. I think we’ve all come a long way since last year. We’re racing a lot better and I think people are definitely going faster times.”
Class 6A state swim and dive meet
Saturday at Capitol Federal Natatorium in Topeka
Team scores — 1. Wichita East, 284; 2. Free State, 261; 3. Shawnee Mission East, 256.5; 4. Lawrence High, 198; 5. Blue Valley North, 198; 6. Blue Valley West, 187; 7. Blue Valley Northwest, 139; 8. Shawnee Mission South, 109; 9. Olathe North, 83; 10. Olathe East, 80; 11. Washburn Rural, 76; 12. Blue Valley, 60; 13. Manhattan, 59; 14. Hutchinson, 51; 15. Shawnee Mission North, 48; 16. Shawnee Mission West, 47; 17. Olathe Northwest, 46; 18. Olathe South, 41.5; 19. Derby, 40; 20. Shawnee Mission Northwest, 38; 21. Wichita West, 33; 22. Wichita Northwest, 28; Topeka High, 9.
Free State results
200 medley relay — 3. Ainsley Krug, Payton Krug, Kasey Dunn, Lydia Zicker, 1:49.25.
200 freestyle — 1. Claire Campbell, 1:49.74; 8. Kasey Dunn, 1:57.91; 13. Janet Stefanov, 2:01.88.
200 IM — 4. Payton Krug, 2:10.90; 15. Lydia Zicker, 2:19.40.
100 butterfly — 8. Kasey Dunn, 59.74; 11. Piper Rogers, 1:00.78.
100 freestyle — 7. Ava Cormaney, 54.19.
500 freestyle — 1. Claire Campbell, 4:57.64; 5. Ainsley Krug, 5:15.90.
200 freestyle relay — 3. Ava Cormaney, Lydia Zicker, Piper Rogers, Claire Campbell, 1:39.61.
100 backstroke — 6. Ainsley Krug, 58.65; 10. Janet Stefanov, 1:00.38.
100 breaststroke — 4. Payton Krug, 1:07.57; 8. Ava Cormaney, 1:08.95; 15. Lydia Zicker, 1:11.94.
400 freestyle relay — 2. Kasey Dunn, Janet Stefanov, Ava Cormaney, Claire Campbell, 3:35.21.
Lawrence High results
200 medley relay — 2. Aubrey Fischer, Marian Frick, Emily Guo, Megan Drumm, 1:49.21.
200 freestyle — 7. Morgan Jones, 1:56.07.
200 IM — 3. Emily Guo, 2:08.65.
50 freestyle — 10. Marian Frick, 25.46; 13. Madi Heckman, 25.61.
1-meter dive — 8. Eden Kingery, 344.40.
100 Butterfly — 14. Aubrey Fischer, 1:02.72.
100 freestyle — 13. Madi Heckman, 56.04.
500 freestyle — 4. Morgan Jones, 5:11.01.
200 freestyle relay — 5. Marian Frick, Megan Drumm, Emily Guo, Madi Heckman, 1:40.64.
100 backstroke — 15. Iris Sherron, 1:02.53; 16. Aubrey Fischer, 1:02.83.
100 breaststroke — 1. Emily Guo, 1:05.75; 2. Marian Frick, 1:06.56.
400 freestyle relay — 7. Morgan Jones, Jamie Abernathy, Aubrey Fischer, Madi Heckman, 3:42.78.