The area's swimming community was hit hard when Yuna Choi died in a wrong-way accident on the Kansas Turnpike. Hana Choi, Yuna's twin sister, survived, but their mother and 9-year-old brother also died. The Chois father, Eunseo, was not traveling with the family at the time.
The swimming community is conducting a fundraiser for Hana, who suffered severe injuries, to help offset medical expenses.
Swim caps, designed by East coach Joe Hutchinson and Southeast coach Aaron Maus, are being sold for $10 at The Starting Block, the swimming pro shop at the Wichita Swim Club.
Chris Erickson, the Kapaun Mount Carmel swim coach who also coaches at the Swim Club, is pushing this fundraiser to his athletes and their families.
"Those girls swam at the Wichita Swim Club for three years," Erickson said. "If anything happens in our tight-knit community, it's important for us coaches and swimmers to step up and show support. If not financially, emotionally. Those are two great girls, really good swimmers. Like I said, it's just a tragedy."
Five hundred caps have been ordered. Donations are also being accepted.
Moving forward — Randy McVay is the girls swimming coach at both Wichita Independent and Wichita Collegiate. But the programs are in two different spots.
At Collegiate he's trying to build the program. He has three swimmers and his top swimmer, Anna Horner, recently returned after missing the majority of the season with a broken hand.
At Independent, he has six swimmers who will or have qualified for state.
"They're high-level, year-round swimmers," McVay said.
Independent's 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay have qualified for state. The next focus is getting the 200 free relay qualified.
Individually, McVay said every time Kelsey Eklund, Brooke Brittain, Chesley Kilgore, Kate Wickham and Allie Griffin swim, they qualify for state.
Eklund's top event is the 200 free, while Brittain's favorite is the 100 backstroke.
Wickham has had some shoulder issues, so she's missed several meets. Griffin is versatile, while Kilgore is best at sprints. Kilgore, whose brother Christian won two events at the Class 5-1A meet in February, and Wickham are freshmen.
Since the Independent team is small — 11 swimmers — it hasn't won a meet yet.
"That's our goal right now," said McVay, whose team competed at Maize on Saturday.