Norse News Female Athlete of the Year

Kirsti McEnroe excels in swimming to become this year’s Female Athlete of the Year


Photo courtesy Lifetouch

Kirsti McEnroe (12), the 2022 Norse News Female Athlete of the Year.

Ford Daniels, Writer

Athlete of the Year is a time-honored tradition here at Spartanburg High school. The award is reserved for one male and one female senior that shows superior excellence in a certain field of athletics. Kirsti McEnroe embodies the phrase, “superior excellence”, especially when it comes to her sport of choice, swimming. McEnroe has received the prestigious honor of “2022 Female Athlete of the Year” for her extraordinary athletic resume compiled over the duration of her high school career.

McEnroe is a well-known swimming virtuoso. She has been a member of the Viking Swim program for a total of six years and earned a Letter Award for each year. McEnroe has earned a plethora of awards in her stint as a Viking Swim member. She placed in the “All Region” category in multiple events for all six years. She is a five-time Individual SC High School State Champion and a six-time SC State Champion in relay events. McEnroe is also an SC State record holder in the 200 Freestyle, 400 Medley Relay, and 400 Freestyle. She has also received recognition as a Scholastic All-American, a Summer Junior National Qualifier, and a 2021 National Select Camp Invitee.

Beyond her numerous accolades, McEnroe is more than just her accomplishments.
SHS math teacher and Head Swim Coach Johnna Freestone expands on McEnroe’s best quality as an athlete and the process of training and coaching her throughout the duration of her Viking Swim career.

“Kirsti has several amazing qualities as an athlete. One that is so important is a sense of sportsmanship. She is always supporting her teammates and acknowledging the talent and efforts of her opponents. Another quality that she exhibits effortlessly is humility. Even while having an amazing swimming resumé, she does not act like an athlete who knows she is elite. Finally, Kirsti’s leadership is so important to our team,” Freestone said.

McEnroe plans to continue her athletic career in college as she has committed to Stanford for swimming. She will continue to perform to the best of her ability as she competes at the highest level for years to come.

“Our younger athletes are able to see how to behave during practice and competition and beyond, and they are motivated to be better athletes and people because of how she carries herself.

Coaching Kirsti has been such a blessing, but most of her talent comes from swimming for her club team and competing at incredibly high levels outside of the high school season. She needs very little guidance from me because she knows herself and her physical abilities so well, and she has been continuously prepared from a young age to be as talented as she is today. I am so proud of her and her accomplishments, and we are all so grateful to have had her with us on the SHS Swim Team for all 6 years of her eligibility. We will miss her so much and look forward to seeing all of the astounding things she will be doing at Stanford and beyond!” Freestone said.

As McEnroe has pursued her career in swimming, she has always had the boost and encouragement from her sisters, former high school student and 2021 Norse News Female Athlete of the Year award winner Annika McEnroe, and Teagan McEnroe (9). Annika was an all around superstar when it came to the pool, and won the state champion in multiple events, and set four state records.

The younger sister of the swimming family, Teagan, is an up and coming swimmer on the team. It keeps McEnroe pushing herself to be the greatest swimmer she can possibly be, and not only has it fueled her push for being a successful college athlete, it has made her the competitor that she is today.

Athletic director Todd Staley believes McEnroe’s success in and out of the pool is a reflection of her commitment to her sport and her academics.

“Kirsti, like many of her fellow teammates, exhibits the very best in what it means to be a true student-athlete” Staley said.