Varsity Kansas

Girls swim preview: Wichita East, Kapaun headline Wichita’s top teams and swimmers

The Wichita Eagle’s 2018 All-Metro Swimming and Diving Team (left to right - front row: East’s Astrid Dirkzwager, East’s Gillian Pierce-Butt, East’s Julia Whitfield, East’s Hannah Balch; back row: West’s Maci McCullough, Hesston’s Addi Schroeder, Kapaun’s Natalie Knapp, Derby’s Megan Keil, Carroll’s Lexie Shelton, Carroll’s Sydney Schmidt)
The Wichita Eagle’s 2018 All-Metro Swimming and Diving Team (left to right - front row: East’s Astrid Dirkzwager, East’s Gillian Pierce-Butt, East’s Julia Whitfield, East’s Hannah Balch; back row: West’s Maci McCullough, Hesston’s Addi Schroeder, Kapaun’s Natalie Knapp, Derby’s Megan Keil, Carroll’s Lexie Shelton, Carroll’s Sydney Schmidt) The Wichita Eagle

The 2019 Wichita area girls swim class figures to be loaded.

Here are the top 10 teams, top 10 swimmers and three storylines to watch ahead of the newest Kansas high school girls swimming and diving season in the Wichita area:

Top 10 Teams

1. Wichita East

East brings back seven state swimmers from a year ago, looking to win its third straight state championship in Class 6A.

2. Kapaun

Kapaun was four points away from its first girls swim state championship in school history and will be in the hunt again.

3. Bishop Carroll

Carroll had its highest finish at state ever, going third. The Golden Eagles bring back almost its full roster.

4. Maize

The Eagles bring back seven state swimmers from 2018 and will be one of the favorites to make noise out of the suburbs.

5. Maize South

Maize South brings back a healthy crop of state-caliber swimmers, including senior Alexa Penn and sophomore Christiana Wagner.

6. Andover

Sophomore Reagan Bayliff and junior Morgan Esworthy figure to lead Andover toward a top 10 finish in Class 5A.

7. Trinity Academy

Junior Sierra Williams and sophomore Maddy McDaniel are two of seven returning state swimmers for the Knights.

8. McPherson

The Bullpups bring back a lot of familiarity in basketball standouts Maggie Leaf and Cassie Cooks.

9. Newton

Newton lost a lot of pieces, but the Railers finished eighth in Class 5A last season. The Railers bring back junior standout Annika Senn.

8. Collegiate

Collegiate brings back only two state swimmers in promising sophomores Johanna Yang and Skylar Haag.

10. Hutchinson

Hutch is looking to break into the top 10 in Class 6A after coming 14th last year.

Top 10 Swimmers

1. Astrid Dirkzwager - Wichita East, Jr.

Dirkzwager is one of the best swimmers in Kansas. An All-Metro selection, she won event titles in the 100-yard back, 200 free relay and 400 free relay.

2. Sydney Schmidt - Bishop Carroll, Sr.

At last year’s Class 5-1A state meet, Schmidt won two individual events within 10 minutes. She is an All-Metro selection and one of the most powerful swimmers in the state.

3. Katerina Savvides - Wichita East, Sr.

Savvides and Dirkzwager provide an outstanding one-two punch as the East senior and All-Metro selection’s times almost mirror her counterpart’s.

4. Maci McCullough - Wichita West, Jr.

McCullough carried the West banner at state last year and earned All-Metro honors after finishing runner-up in the 500 free and third in the 200 free.

5. Claire Conover - Kapaun, So.

Conover jumped on the scene as a freshman with four top five finishes, including an All-Metro selection in the 200 free.

6. Natalie Knapp - Kapaun, Jr.

Knapp’s state performance even surprised herself last year. Winning the 200 individual medley, she earned All-Metro honors.

7. Gillian Pierce-Butt - Wichita East, Sr.

Pierce-Butt helped East to event titles in the 200 free and 200 medley relays. She figures to boost her indivdiual finishes in 2019.

8. Lexi Shelton - Bishop Carroll, Jr.

Shelton and Schmidt form a real threat not only in the City League but in all of Class 5A. She is an All-Metro swimmer.

9. Brooklyn Blasdel - Maize, So.

Blasdel is likely the fastest swimmer outside of the City League in the Wichita area after a runner-up finish in the 50 free.

10. Elizabeth Mitsch - Kapaun, Sr.

Mitsch had three runner-up finishes and one even title in the 400 free relay. She will be one of the leaders for Kapaun.

3 Storylines

City League upset?

Wichita East has dominated the City League over the past decade, but that is in danger in 2019.

Kapaun and Carroll are two of the top 10, maybe five, teams in Kansas after second and third-place finishes at state last year respectively.

With the top eight swimmers in the Wichita area coming out of GWAL, every East swimmer in the lineup will be pushed in every event.

Area arrival

Although the City League is stacked, the Wichita area teams are coming along strong in 2019.

The Maize schools, Andover, Trinity and others figure to make big leaps at the Class 5-1A state meet after none finished higher than seventh last year.

Reloaded Wichita

Last year’s senior class was solid, but most of the state champions are back.

Five Wichita area swimmers won individual titles in 2018, excluding relays. Only one - Derby’s Megan Keil, who now swims at Missouri - isn’t back.

Related stories from Wichita Eagle

Wichita Eagle preps reporter Hayden Barber brings the area updates on all high school sports while adding those hard-to-find human-interest stories on Wichita’s student-athletes.


  Comments