In less than two weeks, Avon native Madison Kennedy will be representing the United States at the FINA short course World Swimming Championships in China.
Kennedy is getting ready for it. She swam her best time in the 50 meter freestyle on Friday since the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials and finished second at the U.S. Winter National Championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.
Olympian Simone Manuel pulled away to win the event in 24.39 seconds but Kennedy was second in 24.87 seconds – her best time in the event since her personal-best time of 24.48 seconds at the 2016 Olympic Trials in Nebraska.
After qualifying, Kennedy was fourth with a time of 25.13 seconds. In the final, she outlasted Anna Hopkin by 0.06 of a second and Margo Geer by 0.10 of a second.
Kennedy’s time also earned her an invitation to the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 50 free. It will be her fourth appearance. She was ninth in the 50 free in 2008, fifth in 2012 and third in 2016.
Kennedy will be representing the U.S. at the short course world championships for the third time. Every other year, FINA – the organization that oversees competition in six aquatics sports including swimming – holds short course world championships in a 25-meter pool. Long course meets, such as the Olympics, are held in 50 meter pools.
The meet will be December 11-16 in Hangzhou, China. Kennedy will swim in the 50 meter freestyle and may be selected to participate in some relay events. The American team leaves for China on December 4 and will begin preparing for the meet in Hangzhou on December 7.
At the 2016 world championships (25m) in Canada, she won a bronze medal in the 50 freestyle and a gold medal as a member of the 400 meter freestyle relay. At the 2014 world championships (25m) in Dubai, she won a gold medal and two silvers on two relay teams. The 200 meter mixed freestyle relay team won a gold medal and set a new world record at the time.
“I am humbled to go,” Kennedy said in an interview with USA Swimming’s Deck Pass show on Friday night.
Kennedy, 30, lives in the Charlotte area with her husband, Eric, and trains on her own.
In the Deck Pass interview, she talked about her swimming career and continuing her swimming career after barely missing the 2016 Olympic Games. With only the top two swimmers going to the Olympics, Kennedy was third in the trials, 0.15 of a second out of second place.
Kennedy graduated from Avon High in 2005 and the University of California-Berkeley in 2010. She swam at Avon High and set several team records that still stand today. She has lived and trained in Charlotte since 2011.