The Dirkzwager Duo
If you follow swimming in Kansas, you’ll recognize one name, Dirkzwager. Behind the name is a pair of Lao-American sisters who have broken records, won state championships and competed on the national stage. Their mother, Koko Dirkzwager (maiden name Kounthong Amphonephong), was born in Vientiane, Laos, and resettled in the United States as a refugee in 1979.
The eldest sister, Astrid Dirkzwager, left her mark on Wichita East High School setting school records in the 100 Back, 100 Butterfly, the 100, 200 and 500 Freestyle events and several relays. The All-American is a five-time Kansas Class 6A state champion and was selected to attend U.S.A swimming’s National Diversity Select Camp in 2018. The younger Dirkzwager sister, Ariana, left her own mark on Kansas swimming by taking a pair of Class 6A titles in the 50 and 100 freestyle events during the 2021 Kansas High School State Championship.
Astrid graduated from Wichita East High in 2020 and became the first Lao-American known to swim at the NCAA Division 1 level when she joined the swim team at Georgia Tech. The Ramblin' Wreck competes in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), a Power-5 conference known to be one of the most competitive in college swimming. As a freshman, she was selected to be part of the Georgia Tech conference team where she competed against some of the top swimmers in the world including Olympic Silver medalist, Alexandra Walsh. She qualified for the C final in the 200 Yard Backstroke and finished 21st.
Ariana formally signed with Georgia Tech on November 10th, 2021 (NCAA D1 National Signing Day). She will join her sister on the Ramblin' Wreck roster in the fall of 2022. The Dirkzwager sisters will be among the five Lao-Americans known to compete at the NCAA Division 1 level along with TJ Pittenger, Steven Insixiengmay, and Angelina Messina. They are early in their swimming careers so be sure to check back for updates in the future.