Three Letters (2021, 2022, 2023)
Academic All-Big Ten (2022, 2023, 2024)
Big Ten Sportsmanship Award (2023)
Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll (Fall 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023; Spring 2021, 2022, 2023)
Tom Osborne Citizenship Team (2021, 2022, 2023)
Three-Time Colorado State Champion (50 Free, 2018, 2020; 100 Fly, 2020)

2023-24 (Senior)
The co-captain from Colorado Springs, Colo. finished her Husker career strong, setting career-bests in four events and 15 top-five finishes throughout the season. In a dual with Iowa (Nov. 10), Cairns picked up a pair of top-three finishes. She finished runner-up in the 100 butterfly (56.69) and third in the 100 backstroke (57.39). 

At the mid-season Hawkeye Invitational, Cairns set a career-best in the 100 backstroke prelims (55.08). She touched the wall in 55.70 for a sixth-place finish in the final. Cairns added a seventh-place finish in the 100 butterfly (55.07) and a 13th-place finish in the 50 freestyle (23.59). She swam in two relays for the Huskers at the Big Ten Championships. In the 200 medley relay, Cairns helped her team to the second-fastest time in school history (1:39.42)

2022-23 (Junior)
Cairns continued to make an impact during her third season, dropping time and racking up top-five finishes. At the mid-season Hawkeye Invite (Dec. 1-4), Cairns swam career-best times in the 50 freestyle (23.39), 100 backstroke (56.73) and 100 butterfly (54.59). She earned spots in the A Final in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke, placing fourth and eighth, respectively. 

In the first dual of the season, Cairns swam to third in the 100 butterfly against SDSU with a 1:00.01. She followed that up with a pair of top-five finishes in the event over the weekend of Oct. 14-15, placing fourth against Iowa State (57.57) and fifth in a double-dual with Minnesota and South Dakota (57.59). Cairns notched three-straight fifth-place finishes in the 50 freestyle in duals with Iowa State (24.69), Iowa (25.04) and Kansas (24.93).

At the 2023 Big Ten Championships, Cairns earned a spot in the 100 butterfly C Final and placed 23rd in 54.85. To cap off her junior season, Cairns competed at the CSCAA National Invitational Championships. She pitched in a 24th-place finish in the 100 butterfly (54.98) and was a member of four relays, including the fifth-place 200 medley relay (1:40.76).

2021-22 (Sophomore)
Cairns kicked off her sophomore season at the South Dakota State dual, where she placed third in the 100 butterfly and was a part of the runner-up 200 medley relay. At the Iowa dual, the sophomore placed fourth in the 100 freestyle. The Mizzou Invitational (Nov. 17-19) was marked by a career-best in the 100 butterfly prelims (55.60). Cairns went on to finish eighth in the event, while also snagging a top-15 finish in the 100 freestyle (52.37). She capped off her dual season with a top-five finish in the 100 fly against Rutgers. She closed her sophomore campaign at the Big Ten Championships, where she competed in the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly. Cairns swam season-best times in the 50 free (23.65) and 100 free (52.74) at the conference meet.

2020-21 (Freshman)
Cairns made an instant impact for the Huskers in the sprint freestyle events as a freshman. Cairns contributed to Nebraska’s best finish in history at the 2021 Big Ten Swimming Championships in Minneapolis by swimming legs on three Husker relays, including the 200 medley relay, the 200 free relay and the 400 free relay, which combined to scored 126 points at the meet. Cairns closed her freshman year with a collegiate-best 23.47 in a 50 free time trial (Feb. 27). She tied for 45th in the 50 free (23.58) at the conference meet, while adding a 57th-place finish in the 100 free with a career-best 51.88. She posted her top Big Ten finish by taking 44th in the 100 butterfly in a career-best 55.64.

During an abbreviated 2021 regular season, Cairns earned a trio of top-five finishes, including fourth-place showings in the 50 and 100 freestyles in a season-opening dual at Iowa (Jan. 16). She added a tie for fifth in the 50 free in a home dual with Illinois (Jan. 23).

Before Nebraska
Cairns was a three-time CHSAA 3A state champion for St. Mary’s High School in Colorado Springs. She won state championships in the 50-yard freestyle in both 2018 and 2020, while adding a runner-up finish in 2019. She added a 2020 state title in the 100 butterfly, after taking second place in the event in both 2018 and 2019. Cairns also swam club with Pikes Peak Athletics. Cairns came to Nebraska with career-best times in the 50 free (23.09), 100 free (51.18) and 100 fly (55.17).

The daughter of Scott and Christina Cairns, Caitlin was born Feb. 25, 2002 in Phoenix, Ariz. She has two younger sisters, Grace and Emma. Caitlin is majoring in management and is a five-time selection for the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll. She earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2022 and 2023. Caitlin is also a three-time selection for the Tom Osborne Citizenship Team for her contributions to serving the Lincoln community.

Career Best Times

Event Time Meet (Date)
50 Free 23.38 Big Ten Championships (2024)
100 Free 51.88 Big Ten Championships (2021)
100 Fly 53.99 Mizzou Time Trial (2024)
100 Back 55.08 Hawkeye Invite (2023)
200 Back 2:03.60 Rutgers (2024)