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Swimmer of the Year Sydney Ringwald leads Cape Central to first state title

Cape Central girls swimming and diving junior Sydney Ringwald poses with the Class 1 200 Yard Freestyle Relay State Championship plaque, the Class 1 State Championship plaque and the Missouri Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association Class 1 Swimmer of the Year plaque while wearing her three gold medals and one silver medal from this year’s state meet on Feb. 16. Submitted photo

In this year’s Class 1 State Meet, Cape Central junior Sydney Ringwald not only earned four all-state medals for the third year in a row, but she made history as well.

On top of being named the Class 1 Swimmer of the Year, Ringwald helped the Tigers girls team win their first-ever Class 1 State Championship. Sydney did so by winning individual state titles in two events (100 and 500-yard freestyle) and was a member of the state championship 200-yard freestyle relay team.

“I was not expecting [to be named Class 1 Swimmer of the Year] at all,” she said. “I mean I knew I had won both of my events, but when he came over and handed [the plaque] to me, I was actually so shocked. I was like, ‘Are you serious?’ I was so happy that I got it. Everyone wants that, but I never thought I would actually get it.”

Prior to this season, Cape had placed second overall as a team Ringwald’s freshman year and took third place last winter. She was on both the Tigers 200 and 400-yard freestyle state championship relay teams her junior year, making for a total of five state titles in Ringwald’s trophy case for events alone.

Individually, Sydney took second place in both events as a sophomore that she won on her own this season. Ringwald won her first individual state championship in the 50 freestyle with a time of 23.92 seconds and then also took took first in the 100 freestyle with a time of 52.26.

“My goal last year was to win, so getting second twice made me kind of be like, ‘Darn,’” she said. “This year that was definitely what I had my eyes set on, so it was really exciting to actually finally win since that’s what I’ve been thinking about all year long after getting second twice.”

As for the relay races, Ringwald and the Tigers repeated as state champions in the 200 freestyle by recording a combined finish of one minute, 38.91 seconds, which was 2.43 seconds ahead of second-place St. Teresa’s Academy. Sydney was joined on the relay team by one of her sisters freshman Kennedy Ringwald and other Cape teammates senior Emillie Dickson and junior Isabella Pattengill.

“For the 200 free, I was so pumped in that one, and we were actually really close to the school and the state record in that,” Ringwald said. “Hopefully next year we can get those!”

Sydney and Kennedy lastly competed together with their other sister senior Addison Ringwald as well as senior Marianne Dean in the 400 freestyle. While these Tigers only took second place at 3:39.36 to Clayton’s first-place time of 3:37.27 in the race, it was pivotal finish for Cape to come away with its first-ever state championship.

“This year, we definitely knew Clayton was going to be stepping it up because we had seen them in other meets before state,” Sydney said. “At COMO we got second, and they got like 11th, so we didn’t realize how close it would actually be. Once the site sheet came out, we were kind of worried about all of that. The competition was really good, especially in all of those relays like last year. It was close in pretty much everything this year.”

Cape Central edged out Clayton for the Class 1 state title by one and a half points at 240 to 238.5. The Tigers 400 freestyle relay team scored 34 points by coming in at second place, so if they had placed any lower they wouldn’t have won state. Cape finished in second just 1.1 seconds ahead of Laude Horton Watkins in the race.

“In the 400 free, our coach came over to us before it and was like, ‘Guys, if you don’t win this, we don’t win the meet,’” Sydney recalled. “So obviously everyone was stressed, and I didn’t realize how close everyone was when I dove in the water for second. Rewatching the video, I was like, ‘Dang! I actually got us a little bit ahead.’

“I was stressed after that because we didn’t win the race, but I looked over at my teammates and they were all holding up 1’s. I was like, ‘Did we win?’ And they were yelling, ‘Yeah, we won!’ I was like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ It was really exciting even us getting second — there were happy tears everywhere.”

While Ringwald was named the Class 1 Swimmer of the Year for Cape, fellow Tiger senior Tommy-Anne Marriott earned Class 1 Diver of the Year after winning her own state championship with a score of 423.85. The runner-up was Notre Dame de Sion’s Naya Narciso at 394.4.

To no one’s surprise, Ringwald will continue her swimming career at the next level once she graduates from Cape next school year. Sydney has already verbally committed to Division-I Florida Gulf Coast.

“I’ve always wanted to go to Florida and swim, so it’s pretty much a dream come true — I get to swim right on the beach,” she smiled. “I know I can do big things for FGCU, too.”

Nick McNeal covers high school sports, college sports and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Cape Girardeau County for the past five years. He can be reached at cbjsports@socket. net.

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