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Free State's girls swim team doesn't miss a beat

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Expectations are sky high for Free State's girls swim team. After taking second place in the state tournament last year, and returning nearly every swimmer from that team, the Firebirds are expected to speed past opponents.

The Firebirds finished in first place in their season-opening meet, the Emporia Invitational, on Thursday. Not only did they win, but they swam well despite it being so early in the season and just returning from spring break.

Sophomore Cierra Campbell won 200 free (1:59.37) and the 500 free (5:17.66), speeding past the Class 6A state tournament qualifying times in both events.

Free State also won all three relays with times that earned qualification for the state tournament in May. Also qualifying for state includes: Eliza Anderson (200 free and 100 back), Sydney Sirimongkhon-Dyck (50 free and 100 fly) and Courtney Caldwell (100 fly). This is only in the first meet of the season, which shows how fast these girls can swim as they will surely improve their times by a lot throughout the year.

The Firebirds also have to be encouraged by the performances of some of their freshmen: Zoe Prather took 4th in the 100 back and 9th in the 200 free, Kara Krannawitter finished 9th in the 200 IM and 6th in the 100 breast, Simone Herlihy was fourth in the 50 free and 100 free, Carter Stacy took 8th in the 100 free and Rowan Plinsky was 9th in the 100 fly and 500 free. That's a lot of potential to help a team that was already expected to be one of the top teams in the state.

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