SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Avon swimmer Madison Kennedy didn’t qualify last summer to compete for the United States in the FINA World Championships currently ongoing in Kazan, Russia.
But she is still working on her preparations for the 2016 U.S. Olympic team trials next year in Omaha, Nebraska. Kennedy will be swimming this weekend at the U.S. national championships in San Antonio. She is the top seed in the 50 meter freestyle and the No. 3 seed in the 100 meter freestyle.
American swimmers earned trips to the world championship meet based on performances at last year’s U.S. national meet. A year ago, Kennedy was fourth in the 50 free in 24.83 seconds – her best-ever time at the U.S. nationals – and 10th in the 100 free in 54.86 seconds.
Still, Kennedy regained her spot on the U.S. national team and has swum well over the past year. She competed for the United States at the recent Pan-American Games in Toronto where she was fifth in the 50 free and swam on the U.S. 4×100 freestyle relay team that won a silver medal.
At the FINA World Championship meet (25m) in December in Qatar, Kennedy was fourth in the 50 free, swam on the United States’ gold medal winning 4×50 mixed freestyle relay team and the U.S. silver medal winning 4×50 women’s freestyle relay team. The short course world championships, which are held every two years, are in pools that are 25 meters long.
The Olympics are long course meets, which are held in 50 meter pools. That is also the case for the current world championships in Russia and the U.S. nationals in San Antonio.
Kennedy is the top seed in Saturday’s 50 free at the U.S. nationals based on her career-best time of 24.75 at the Pan Am Games last month. It’s always a tough field in the 50 free and she will be challenged by Olympian Amanda Weir, Amy Bilquist and national team teammate Katie Meili.
Kennedy is the No. 3 seed in Monday’s 100 free with a time of 54.72 seconds – faster than she swam at this meet a year ago. Weir and Olympian Allison Schmidt are the top two seeds in the race.
For most swimmers, this is the final big national-caliber event before the U.S. Olympic trials, which will be June 26 through July 3 in Omaha next year.