Dolfin Swim of the Week: Paige Madden’s Huge 4:38 In 500 Free

Disclaimer: Dolfin Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The  Dolfin Swim is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.

As we’ve said with all of these early-season NCAA highlight swims: the usual disclaimers apply. Sure, Virginia was indeed suited up for the Trojan Invite. Yes, there aren’t yet many times in the NCAA ranks to compare to. Of course October swims don’t make any guarantees of postseason success.

But that doesn’t change how fast Paige Madden was last weekend.

The UVA junior blasted an NCAA-leading 4:38.67 in the 500 free. That’s the fastest time in the nation this season by 8.6 seconds. Madden is the first swimmer under 4:40 this season. She’s also the first under 4:45.

Her time compares very favorably to previous early-season standouts, too. Last year at this time, the nation-leading 500 was a 4:48.4. The year before, it was a 4:46.3. The year before that, a 4:44.9.

And for Madden, it’s a huge surge from where she’s been her past two seasons in October. In fact, it’s a half-second faster than she went at Virginia’s mid-season rest meet last season, the Georgia Invite in late November. Here’s a look at her top times from two previous collegiate seasons:

Paige Madden Top 500y free Times In Regular Season, Mid-Season Rest, Post-Season

College Freshman (’17-’18) College Sophomore (’18-’19) College Junior (’19-’20)
October 4:55.43 4:45.11 4:38.67
Mid-Season Rest (Nov/Dec) 4:45.03 4:39.19
February (ACCs) 4:39.77 4:38.13
March (NCAAs) 4:45.32 4:32.98

Madden was able to drop more than six seconds from mid-season to the post-season last year. The year before that, she dropped more than five. If history is any indicator, Madden is set up extremely well for a great 500 free swim later on this college season.

 

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BBQBilly

WOW! Super fast so early in the season.

Swimmer

They wore fast skins!!!!!

Hollar for the Hoos

They did wear fast skins, but the time is fast regardless. She is sitting right at where she was at ACC’s last year, which is ridiculous considering the training that most college teams are undergoing at this point in the year.

Lost

How does this time fare against Ledecky’s early NCAA times?

USA

Ledecky was in between 4:34 and 4:36 (along with a 4:40) in both her years at stanford

swimgeek

Madden and Kate Douglass (plus others) threw down some monster swims at the USC meet. UVA is living up to some of the early hype.

DeSorbo Effect

The Hype is REAL!

All eyes on The BEAST OF THE EAST!

Let’s RAGE!

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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