UNC Sprinter Maddie Smith Transfers to Northwestern for Final Two Seasons

Maddie Smith, a sprinter who was on UNC’s 200 free relay at the 2019 ACC Championships, has confirmed with SwimSwam that she’ll be heading to Northwestern University in the Big Ten after two years with the Tar Heels.

Smith, who is originally from Lake Forest, IL, will be heading back to Chicago’s north shore area. High school teammates with Daria Pyshnenko of Michigan, the two will now be opponents in the Big Ten. According to the USA Swimming times database, Smith is now attached with NASA Wildcat Aquatics, the club team run out of the Northwestern pool.


  • 50y free – 22.42
  • 100y free – 49.17
  • 200y free – 1:51.05
  • 50y fly – 24.71
  • 100y fly – 54.27
  • 50m free – 26.11
  • 100m free – 57.07
  • 50m fly – 28.34

Smith is primarily a sprint freestyler, with her SCY bests coming from the 2017 Tennessee Invitational during her freshman season. She has also proven herself as a sprint butterflier, and could be developed into a medley relay fly option as well as a potential anchor.

In 2019, Smith scored in the 50 free at the ACC Championships, placing 21st (22.77). She also split a 22.36 on their 200 free relay, which took 5th. She made the C final as a freshman in the 50 free and was on the 200 free relay (22.44 split) and the 400 free relay (49.31 split) at 2018 ACCs.

Smith leaves a UNC program that finished out of the ACC top 5 (7th) in 2019, and the Tar Heels recently announced their new head coach to be Mizzou’s Mark Gangloff after long-time head coach Rich DeSelm stepped down earlier this spring amid a cancer diagnosis.

Northwestern, a team on the rise in its second season under an all-new coaching staff led by former Boise State coach Jeremy Kipp, will greatly benefit from another sprinter on the roster. Their incoming class is strong, but not very sprint-oriented; meanwhile, rising senior Malorie Han had a breakthrough 2018-19 season that resulted in PRs and team-leading times of 22.74 in the 50 free and 49.42, but she has just one season left. Smith will be a nice complement to her and will ensure that NU has at least one more season with a reliable medley relay anchor and free relay presence.

If you have a commitment or a transfer to report, please send an email with a photo (landscape, or horizontal, looks best) and a quote to [email protected].

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1 year ago

Can someone please help

Reply to  Concern
1 year ago

We can’t continue to lose our best

Don Edwards
Reply to  Concern
1 year ago

UNC hired two nothing coaches and then lose two of the best swimmers on the team. I have been following UNC swimming for several years and can remember then they were one of the top teams in the conference. Those days are gone forever.

Don Edwards
Reply to  Concern
1 year ago

Unfortunately, we lose good swimmers and recruit nothing to replace them. Virginia and NC State rule swimming in the conference and will continue to do so. The simple reason for that is they have excellent coaches.

Reply to  Concern
1 year ago

Shame! First Elvin, now Maddie. One good thing is that after a devastating year, UNC has made needed coaching staff changes. Not to belabor the point, but only question left to ask is why it took so long to make the needed staff changes.

Don Edwards
Reply to  Really
1 year ago

We got two unknown coaches and whether they can recruit with state and uva is very questionable.

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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