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Avon’s Madison Kennedy takes fifth in 50 free at U.S. nationals

Avon native Madison Kennedy waves to the crowd before the 50 meter freestyle finals at the U.S. national championships Saturday. (Photo courtesy USA Swimming)

Avon native Madison Kennedy earned another top five finish in the 50-meter freestyle at the 2018 USA Swimming national championships Saturday in Irvine, California.

Kennedy took fifth with a time of 24.92 seconds – her second-fastest time of the season. It was the only event she swam at the championship meet.

Olympian Simone Manuel won the 50 freestyle with a new U.S. Open and meet record of 24.10 – the fourth fastest time for an American ever. Abbey Weitzel, also a 2016 Olympian, was second in 24.56.

Margo Geer was third in 24.79 with 18-year-old Grace Ariola taking fourth in 24.83. The top three finishers earned spots on the U.S. Pan-Pacific championship team on August 9-12 in Toyoko.

Kennedy had to swim well in the preliminary round to get to the finals. She finished eighth in 25.24 seconds, nipping Katrina Konopka in 25.25 to get the last spot in the championship final.

Kennedy, 30, was one of the oldest swimmers in the women’s competition along with 30-year-old Liz Roberts. Kennedy’s time of 24.92 was her best time at the U.S. nationals since swimming a 24.71 in 2015 when she won the 50 meter freestyle race.

Kennedy, who lives and trains in Charlotte, N.C., won the 50 freestyle at the North Carolina Senior Championships in Greensboro, N.C., in July with a time of 25.01 and won the 50 free at the Charlotte UltraSwim in June with a time of 25.11.

Her fastest time of the season was 24.88 and that came in the early rounds of the TYR Derby in Louisville. She finished second to Geer in that event with a time of 25.02.

Kennedy has been training on her own this year. Read more about it in a recent story in Swimming World.

Kennedy graduated from Avon High in 2005 and the University of California-Berkeley in 2010. She was third in the 50 meter freestyle at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials with a personal-best time of 24.48.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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