Cavalier Corner

August 2021

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26 CAVALIER CORNER "I see predictions like that, and I love it because it's like, whether people think that I can do it or I can't do it, it fires me up," Madden said. "If they think I can't do it, I think, well, they don't see what I do on a day-to-day basis. I'm going to prove them wrong. If they think I can do it, great, that's a good confidence booster. "I think, really, it's just the fact that I didn't get to show my cards in 2020. I knew I had a lot left in the tank. So going into 2021, I really wanted to prove that. My training gives me the utmost confidence. I get better and better every year. I don't know how I'm going to beat my time at practice, and every year I do, so that defi- nitely gave me a lot of con- fidence." Madden guided the Cavaliers to an undefeated dual-meet season this year and helped the team earn the No. 1 ranking in the postseason. At the ACC Championships, Madden re- peated as ACC Women's Swimmer of the Meet and earned ACC Women's Swimmer of the Year honors after sweeping her in- dividual events in the 200-yard freestyle, 500-yard freestyle and 1,650-yard freestyle. Madden also joined the first-place 400-yard freestyle relay and 800-yard freestyle relay while UVA won its 17th ACC championship and third in four years. Continuing her success in the pool, Mad- den helped the 800-yard freestyle relay win Virginia's first NCAA relay title to open the 2021 NCAA Championships. She followed that performance with an individual title in the 500-yard freestyle the next night. She also took the gold in the 200-yard freestyle, while setting a new UVA school record, and closed out her NCAA Champi- onship sweep with the 1,650-yard freestyle victory. Throughout the postseason Madden did not lose an individual event and was part of three relay wins. Her accomplishments earned her a selection as a finalist for the Honda Sports Award, which is presented annually to the best female student-athlete in the country. The Mobile, Ala., native also excelled in the classroom during her career as a Cavalier. Madden earned her second ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year award in 2021. She also was selected for NCAA and ACC Postgraduate Scholarships and was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District 3 At- Large team. Madden wasn't done yet, though, be- cause she still had the U.S. Olympic Tri- als in June. She made a splash in her very first event, finishing second behind Katie Ledecky in the women's 400-meter free- style to qualify to represent Team USA. She added a third-place finish in the 200-meter freestyle to earn a spot on the women's 4x200-meter freestyle relay team. Her qual- ification fulfilled a vision that head coach Todd DeSorbo had about Madden when he first arrived at UVA. "That was definitely a really special mo- ment for me, and I don't even know if Todd remembers that conversation," Madden said. "When he said he thought I could be on Team USA, he said it in an interview and it just really struck me, I was like, 'Wow, this man, that I barely know, who's a re- ally renowned coach thinks that I can really make it.' "I also remember him saying, 'I think you can make it in the 200 freestyle,' and he never said anything about the 400, so I might have to give him a hard time for not seeing that potential in me. But I also had not seen that potential myself." Not only did Madden reach that potential, but she has risen to each challenge set be- fore her. She was excited to be an Olympian and looking forward to having UVA team- mates Kate Douglass, Alex Walsh and Emma Weyant, an incoming first-year, in Tokyo with her. Madden made the most of her time in Japan. Swimming the second leg, she helped the United States 4x200 freestyle relay win a silver medal July 29. "It was awesome," Madden said after the race. "This is like a dream." Madden's silver medal means that all four UVA swimmers in Tokyo made podium appearances during the swimming competi- tion. Weyant took the silver medal in the 400 individual medley, while Walsh and Douglass captured silver and bronze med- als, respectively, in the 200-meter individual medley. FIRED UP Paige Madden Was Motivated To Finish Her Career In Impressive Fashion "Whether people think that I can do it or I can't do it, it fires me up. If they think I can't do it, I think, well, they don't see what I do on a day-to-day basis. I'm going to prove them wrong." MADDEN Madden won three individual NCAA titles while leading the Cavaliers to their first-ever women's swimming national championship. PHOTO BY MATT RILEY/COURTESY UVA BY KRISTIN THURMAN I n what was already an incredible season, Paige Madden added one more note to her résumé by qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team to compete in the Tokyo Olympics. The 2020-21 season saw Madden lead Virginia to its first NCAA women's swimming championship, win three individual NCAA titles and earn numerous academic honors prior to her success at the U.S. Olympic Trials. After having the season cut short in 2020, Madden focused her training on achieving all those goals in the upcoming year. Several media outlets noted that Madden would be successful, but did not necessarily think she would be as dominant as she had been.

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