Ultra Swim Swimmer of the Month is a recurring SwimSwam feature shedding light on a U.S.-based swimmer who has proven themselves over the past month. As with any item of recognition, Swimmer of the Month is a subjective exercise meant to highlight one athlete whose work holds noteworthy context – perhaps a swimmer who was visibly outperforming other swimmers over the month, or one whose accomplishments slipped through the cracks among other high-profile swims. If your favorite athlete wasn’t selected, feel free to respectfully recognize them in our comment section.
It was a busy month of January for Virginia sophomore Paige Madden.
The Cavalier swam five different events in nine individual swims spread out over four meets. In three of those events, she ranks inside the top 10 nationwide over the month of January, and all nine individual swims were wins.
Chronologically, Madden’s month looks like this: on January 11, she and the Cavs took on Tennessee in a battle between last year’s 7th (Tennessee) and 9th (Virginia) place teams at NCAAs. Madden came up big with two huge wins. She was 1:46.09 in the 200 free (besting Tennessee’s best swimmer, Erika Brown) and 4:45.59 in the 500 free. At the time, both swims ranked #1 in the nation for the month.
The very next day, Virginia hosted Virginia Tech and Madden won three individual races – all three different from what she swam against Tennessee. She was 1:57.62 in the 200 back (the event in which she won the ACC title last year), 9:59.58 in the 1000 free and 2:03.34 in the 200 fly.
Then, two weeks later, her Cavaliers made a swing through North Carolina. On Friday night, she went 1:56.39 in the 200 back and split 50.08 anchoring a 400 medley relay in a dominating win against UNC. That 200 back still sits 14th in the nation this month.
The next day was the true showdown, with Virginia taking on bitter ACC rival NC State. Madden won the 1000 free (9:50.61 and ranking 10th in the nation this month) and 200 free (1:46.29) in tight races with NC State swimmers – and those two events took place back-to-back, with only the men’s 1000 free (roughly 10 minutes) in between. Those two swims flipped a 13-4 NC State lead after the medley relay to a 29-26 NC State lead after the 200 free. Virginia wouldn’t ultimately overcome the deficit, but Madden did return to win the 500 free in 4:44.21, blowing out the field by five seconds and ranking #1 in the nation for the month of January.
Madden’s Top Times in January 2019
- 200 free: 1:46.09
- 500 free: 4:44.21
- 1000 free: 9:50.61
- 200 back: 1:56.39
- 200 fly: 2:03.34
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