Paige Madden is Not Used to Racing the Mile, Wins by 11 Seconds Anyway (Video)


  • When: Wednesday, February 19th to Saturday, February 22nd | Prelims 10:00 am | Finals 6:00 pm (1650 prelims Saturday at 4:00 pm)
  • Where: Greensboro Aquatic Center, Greensboro, North Carolina (Eastern Time Zone)
  • Defending Champion: North Carolina State University (NC State) (1x) (results)
  • Streaming: ACC Network
  • Championship Central: Here
  • Detailed Timeline: Here
  • Psych Sheets: Here
  • Live Results

University of Virginia junior Paige Madden won the mile on Saturday at the 2020 Women’s ACC Swimming and Diving Championships to secure her third individual victory and elevate her individual point total to the maximum one can achieve at ACCs: 96 points. Madden was also a key component to UVA’s champion 400 and 800 freestyle relays, bringing her total medal haul to 5 golds.

While the ACC is full of national-caliber talent, Madden distinguished herself as the only swimmer at the Women’s Championships to win 3 individual events. Others, such as teammate Kate Douglass and NC State’s Sophie Hansson each won 2 individual races and played vital roles on their team’s relays, but Madden’s dominance over the freestyles put her above everybody else.

Madden was named the 2020 Women’s ACC Championships Most Valuable Swimmer when the meet was over. SwimSwam caught up with Madden after the session to get her take on her swims and her team’s performance.

While there was some question as to whether Madden would swim the mile or the 200 backstroke on day 4 of ACCs, Madden ultimately opted for the mile, which she won by 11 seconds, despite it being a race she is less-accustomed to racing than others in her repertoire, such as the 200 backstroke, which she swam at the 2019 ACC Championships (finishing 4th in finals).




  • ACC meet record: 15:25.20 – Leah Smith, 2016
  • ACC record: 15:25.20 – Leah Smith, 2016
  • 2019 ACC champion: Tamila Holub (NC State) – 15:56.91
  1. Paige Madden (Virginia) – 15:50.38
  2. Makayla Sargent (NC State) – 16:01.36
  3. Kate Moore (NC State) – 16:09.86

NC State freshman Katharine Foley led the early heats with a 16:17.45. That’s 11 seconds faster than she was at midseason, and is over 40 seconds faster than her best time coming into college. With a handful of women in the final heat seeded with times in the low 16:20s, it looks like Foley could have a good chance of ending up in the top eight overall.

Virginia Tech sophomore Loulou Vos (16:25.99) and freshman Brooke Travis (16:27.47)were the only other two women under 16:30 in the early heats. That’s about a 3.3s personal best for Vos, while Travis was about six seconds off of best time from high school.

UVA junior Paige Madden had competed in the 200 back at ACCs the past two years, but she made her first ACC 1650 a memorable one. Swimming in in the final heat, she moved into the lead early on, and was roughly 10 seconds ahead of the field with 600 to go. No one came close to challenging her, and she ended up winning by nearly 11 seconds, in 15:50.38. That’s a new best time for her by nearly 8 seconds and moves her to #4 in the nation this year (pending other results today).

It also completes the distance sweep for Madden, as she’ll walk out of the meet with three individual gold medals, as well as relay gold for the 4×200 free. Madden mention in the post-race interview that she thought it was only her second time swimming the even in the past five years, and sure enough, until she swam the 1650 at the Tennessee Invite, she doesn’t appear to have swam that event since December 2013.

NC State got 2nd and 3rd place finishes from the two women who flanked Madden, Makayla Sargent (16:01.36) and Kate Moore (16:09.86), while UVA freshman Maddie Donohoe picked up 4th with a 16:13.64. Sargent moved up one spot after finishing 3rd last year with a 16:06.58.

Foley’s time from the early heats held up for 5th, and Vos’s time put her 8th. Louisville’s Sophie Cattermole (16:20.33) and Notre Dame’s Lindsay Stone (16:23.93) also made the top eight from the final heat.

NC State closed the gap a little bit with that event, and UVA’s lead has been cut to about 90 points. Notre Dame has closed to within 6 points of UNC.


  • ACC meet record: 3:09.45 – Virginia, 2018
  • ACC record: 3:09.45 – Virginia, 2018
  • 2019 ACC champion: Louisville – 3:11.63
  1. Virginia – 3:10.57
  2. Louisville – 3:11.57
  3. NC State – 3:13.00

Virginia wrapped up the ACC champs with a dominant showing in the 400 free relay. The Cavaliers used a pair of freshman for the front half; Kate Douglass got things rolling with a 47.77 leadoff, then handed it over to Lexi Cuomo, who split 47.84. At that point, the seniors took over. Paige Madden, who swept the distance events, split a 48.04 that’s not at all shabby for someone just won the mile in 15:50, then Morgan Hill stormed home with a 46.92 split as UVA won in 3:10.57. That’s about a second off of the meet and conference record the Cavaliers set two years ago, but at the moment, that appears to be the fastest time in the NCAA this season (although that could change soon this evening).


  1. Virginia – 1492.5
  2. NC State – 1333
  3. Louisville – 1105.5
  4. North Carolina – 839
  5. Notre Dame – 784
  6. Duke – 675.5
  7. Florida State – 555
  8. Virginia Tech – 469
  9. Georgia Tech – 407.5
  10. Pitt – 359
  11. Miami – 298
  12. Boston College – 164

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About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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