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Best of the Best women's swimming candidates made big splash



EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the coming weeks, TopSports.news will recognize hundreds of Shawnee County's all-time greats in 25 sports/categories as part of our Best of the Best project. Readers will have the opportunity to vote through July, with the Top 25 in all categories announced in August. To cast a vote for the Best of the Best, click on: https://linkto.run/p/CVR1E070Email votes/nominations will also be accepted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Shara Stafford was a multi-time state swimming champ for Topeka High before going on to become a 13-time All-American for Florida and Missouri and a part of a NCAA national championship team for the Gators while Shannon Suddarth was a six-time state champion for Hayden and went on to become a nine-time All-American at Notre Dame.

Stafford and Suddarth are part of a long line of local stars to make their mark as club and high school swimmers before going on to star at the collegiate level, including Topeka West state record-setter and Virginia product Emily Dicus, former Hayden and Nebraska standout Kristin Strecker and Washburn Rural and Kansas standouts Haley Molden and Sammie Schurig.

Shara StaffordShara Stafford [FloridaGators.com]

Shannon SuddarthShannon Suddarth [Submitted]

Emily Dicus2Emily Dicus [TheSwimPictures.com]

Hayden products Kristen Carlson and Katie Merriam also turned in dominating high school careers while Topeka West senior to be Kadence Jeffries has already earned her place among  Shawnee County's best ever, posting four dominating Class 5A-1A state individual championships in her two state appearances.

KadenceJeffriesCityKadence Jeffries [File photo/TSN]

There are 25 candidates in all listed to pick from at https://linkto.run/p/CVR1E070  while readers are encouraged to write in the names of their favorites.

Vote as many times as you wish, with the only requirement that eligible candidates must have grown up in Shawnee County or attended one of the county's 10 high schools.

Final selections will be based on reader vote as well as input from TSN contributors and current and past local sports media professionals.   

Votes will be accepted through July 31 before TSN publishes our Best of the Best lists in August.

NEXT UP: Men's swimming.

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