January 24

College Connections: Falmouth’s Madden back in the swim

The sprinter reclaims the top spot at Wheaton after an injury.

By Steve Craig scraig@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Wheaton College swim coach Barrett Roberts says he knew Adrianne Madden would be just as fast despite missing her junior season after having surgery to reconstruct a chronically injured ankle.

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Adrianne Madden, a Falmouth native who swims for Wheaton College, has returned from surgery to reconstruct a chronically injured ankle and is doing so well, she has her sights on the NCAA Division III championships.

Eric Nordstrom Photos

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Adrianne Madden

“Because of her events as a sprinter I knew she’d still be fast and I had no concerns about her coming back grossly out of shape,” Roberts said.

Madden, a senior from Falmouth, wasn’t so sure. It had been almost a year with no swimming.

As a sophomore she’d been fast enough to set Wheaton records in both the 50-yard freestyle (23.70 seconds) and the 100-yard backstroke (59.69), and qualify for the NCAA Division III swimming and diving championships.

“At first it was a little intimidating. Part of it was I didn’t swim with last year’s freshmen and then there was a whole new group of freshmen,” Madden said. “The first couple days were tough. I felt sluggish. But once I got back up and raced, it felt like I was riding a bike, the same pool, the same water.”

The results also indicate Madden will be, if anything, even faster by season’s end.

Roberts said all of her times have been “untapered and unshaved.”

To taper means to gradually reduce the practice workload prior to championship meets. When done right it almost always produces faster times. Swimmers also routinely shave body hair to reduce drag.

In addition to her individual events, Madden is a stalwart on the 200- and 400-free relay teams, and the 200 medley relay. The 200 free relay is ranked in the top 20 nationally. The top 16 relay times will receive an invite, Roberts said.

“All of our relays are incredible and have the potential to qualify for the NCAAs,” Madden said, noting Roberts has built a much stronger all-around team in his three years as coach.

“The 200 free relay is a race that comes down to fingernails, it’s so close. To have four incredibly fast 50s is so great. We’ve won some meets due to that one race. To know we’re swimming those times and we weren’t tapered or shaved and had our old suits on puts a smile on our faces. We can be so much faster and have so much more potential.”

One of Madden’s relay teammates has been freshman Lindsey Thomsen of Gorham.

A former state champion swimmer at Deering High who became a multi-time All-American at Wheaton, Roberts is always on the lookout for Maine swimmers with untapped potential. Kelsey White of Bath (Morse) and Abby Washington of Brunswick are juniors on the Wheaton team.

Roberts cites Madden, a top field hockey player and track athlete at Falmouth, as an example of evolving from an athlete who swam to becoming a true swimmer.

Madden held the state record in the 50 free and was blessed with an exceptional start but had done little training. Madden admits she was “scared of the 100 freestyle,” in high school.

“And here we really train like sprinters, where in high school everybody is pretty much doing the same workout,” Roberts said. “Lindsey Thomsen has dropped close to a second off her high school time without shave or taper.”

Madden, 21, is double majoring in graduate studio art and art history, and is hoping to have a career in marketing or advertising.

Before she puts on a cap and gown, she hopes to wear a sleek tech suit at the NCAA championships in Indianapolis on March 19-22.

“Yes, I would love to. It was an experience my sophomore year. That time I went alone with Barrett,” Madden said. “I’d love to go back to the NCAAs with other people from my team.”

(Continued on page 2)

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