After undefeated regular season, LHS girls swim still motivated this postseason
Seven posters hang up on the wall in the back-right corner of the Lawrence High pool.
Every season, the LHS girls swim and dive team creates these posters with handwritten goals plastered on them. Multiple swimmers contribute to each poster, which typically features a nice blend of personal and team goals.
The only constant mission is to beat Free State, something Lawrence High has done multiple times already this season.
“That’s a team bonding thing we do,” LHS head coach Kent McDonald said. “Some years, they are serious about it. Some years, I can’t even put them up. This year, it seemed like they were serious.”
More than that, though, this year’s goals are loftier than normal. And that is a credit to the team’s growth in the last four years behind a stellar senior class.
This season, the goal of winning the Sunflower League and placing in the top 2 in the 6A state swim meet is a familiar theme on the team’s posters.
“The goals on them this year are definitely more bold than in the past,” senior Maddie Dean said. “We have been trying to get top 5 at state every year, this year is definitely top 2. Everybody’s individual goals have been changing every year.”
The Lions finished runner-up at the Sunflower League meet last year, and have every intention of staying near the top. They have won all eight of the meets that they have competed in during the 2019 campaign.
Lawrence has racked up a total of 72 event victories thus far, including a first-place finish in 23 of the 24 relay races it has competed in. Senior Emily Guo leads the team in individual event victories with 11, including multiple wins in half of the team’s meets.
“The number of wins we have gotten is surprising,” Guo said. “Coming off last season, we returned all scorers from league and state. So we started off the season pretty hungry to get better than what we were last season.”
Sophomore Madi Heckman has won 10 individual races, six of which have come in the 50 freestyle. She has won the 50 free in four consecutive meets, and has a season-best time of 25.39. Senior Morgan Jones has nine first-place finishes in individuals races, claiming the top spot in the 500 freestyle in five of the eight meets.
Dean has claimed three of her five victories in the 100 backstroke. Junior Marian Frick has won the 100 breaststroke in four of the eight meets this year. Senior Eden Kingery has won the diving competition thrice, while sophomore Aubrey Fischer has secured a trio of first-place finishes.
Sophomore Iris Sherron has placed first in the 100 backstroke twice. Freshman swimmers Ali Jones and Carmen Braden have each recorded a win as well.
“I think the girls have matured a little bit,” McDonald said. “They are having fun, but they are working really hard. I think they had that goal in the back of their head to win league and win state. We will see what happens.”
The Sunflower League meet is slated to begin with the diving competition at 6 p.m. Thursday at Summit Trail Middle School. The finals is slated to start at 10 a.m. Saturday.