In the last week, the University of Wisconsin women’s program has picked up two verbal commitments, who while on paper may not be blue-chips, are both incredibly exciting for different reasons.
One is Maddie Martin from Madison East High School and Badger Aquatics, and the other is Marissa Berg from the Green County YMCA and Monticello High School.
First: Martin. That name should sound familiar to Badgers fans. She’s the third leg of the three Martin sisters that have been a part of Wisconsin’s core in the pool the last few years. Her older sisters Ruby (just finished her eligibility last year) and Ivy (a junior) both swim/swam for the badgers, and Ivy is the defending U.S. Open Champion in the 50 free.
Maddie Martin’s yards bests are 24.0/52.3 in the 50 and 100 yard freestyles and a 58.18 in the 100 yard fly.
Maddie (whose full names is ‘Madison,’ like the city, that she lives in) is not too far off off of the times where her sisters were after their junior years of high school. Her versatility leaves her times profile looking more like Ruby’s than Ivy’s, but the key is that the Martins thus far have all dropped serious time after starting their NCAA careers.
The other commitment, Berg, comes from tiny Monticello, Wisconsin (population 1,217). Her high school has right around 110-120 students enrolled at any given time – or about 30 per graduating class. That’s as compared to Martin, where there are probably actual classes (as in, a history class) with that many students.
As a result, the school doesn’t sponsor a swim team – but Berg still played volleyball, basketball, and softball for her school, and all-the-while, still managed to find time to swim on the team at her local YMCA.
Despite, Berg, who’s been described as a “pure, natural athlete” has some really impressive times. That starts with a 23.15 in the 50 yard free, done as a high school freshman, that qualifies her for Winter Juniors. There’s probably not a whole lot of four-sport athletes at Winter Juniors, nor at Summer Juniors for that matter (for which she’s also qualified with a 26.79 in the 50 free this past summer).
She’s also been 51.30 in the 100 free, 1:54.90 in the 200 free, and 57.22 in the 100 fly.
Berg is also a three-year starter already on her high school basketball team, who averaged almost 11 points a game last season (second on the team), and an All-Conference catcher in softball.
If I had a crystal ball, I might predict big things from Berg; and the possibilities are still tantalizing.