SAN ANTONIO, Texas, Aug. 8 – It’s been quite a year for Avon swimmer Madison Kennedy. In December, she swam with the U.S. team at the FINA world championships (25 meters) in Qatar and won a world championship on the American 4×50 mixed freestyle relay in world record time.
In July, she represented the United States for the second time at the Pan American Games in Toronto, winning a silver medal in the 4×100 freestyle relay.
On Saturday, Kennedy won her first individual national title. Kennedy pulled away in the final 10 meters to capture the 50 meter freestyle at the Phillips 66 national championships with a career-best time of 24.71 seconds.
It’s the third fastest time of the year by an American swimmer in the 50 freestyle.
Kennedy finished second in the 50 free twice at this event in 2010 and 2011. She was fourth a year ago with a time of 24.83 seconds – her fastest time in the 50 free at the U.S. nationals until today.
Afterward, Kennedy thanked her friends and teammates at SwimMAC Carolina and the U.S. national team – Arianna Vanderpool Wallace, Natalie Coughlin and Amanda Weir — in an interview on the pool deck for the crowd and fans watching online after the race.
“All of the people training with me are telling me not to overthink, just race,” Kennedy said. “I do tend to overthink.”
Kennedy won the race in 24.71 seconds with Amanda Weir taking second in 24.85 seconds, just 0.14 of a second off the race. Kelsi Worrell was third in 25.01 seconds.
The FINA world championships are taking place this week as well in Kazan, Russia. Swimmers earned a roster spot for this long course (50 meters) event at last year’s Phillips 66 national championship meet.
American Simone Manuel earned a spot in Sunday’s world championship final and the sixth seed with a time of 24.47 seconds in the semifinals – the fastest time of the year so far for an American. The other American in the field, Ivy Martin, swam a time of 25.49 seconds in qualifying and didn’t advance to the semifinals.
Kennedy will also compete in the 100 meters here at the national championships. She is seeded third in that race with a 54.72 seconds behind Weir (54.36) and Allison Schmidt (54.46). Kennedy’s best finish in the 100 meters at the nationals is 10th in 54.86 seconds a year ago.
NOTE: FINA holds world championships on a short course (25 meters) every two years. The venue for the Olympics and most major international swimming events, including the U.S. nationals, is long course (50 meters) pools. … Kennedy has won two national titles in the 4×100 freestyle relay. She was part of SwimMAC Carolina’s winning team in 2014 that won by 0.01 of a second and part of California Aquatic’s championship team in 2010.