The Haverford High senior completed her sterling swimming career on a high note at the PIAA Class AAA state championships, winning a gold medal in the 100 fly for the second year in a row, and finishing second in the 100 back. Her career swimming totals for Haverford High are: 8-for-8 on individual state medals plus three relays; two golds, three silvers, and a District One Most Outstanding Swimmer cup. She will be continuing her swimming career at Penn State this fall. Hart is a member of the National Honor Society, and a Special Olympics volunteer.
Q: You mentioned that your most memorable moment of your Haverford swimming career was winning the 100 fly for the second year in a row at States – and you won it this year with a great come-from-behind effort. Can you share with us your most vivid memories of the final?
A: It was so memorable because I had my [Haverford High] Coach Matt Stewart, teammates and family there to cheer and support me. I remember the finish well. I could tell it was a close race, so I knew the last few strokes were crucial. I gave it everything I had and could not believe my time [lifetime best 53.35] when I looked up at the scoreboard.
Q: You placed second in the 100 back at States – what do you think was the biggest key to your success in that race?
A: I made it a big goal of mine to work on my underwater kick with my coach this season. I credit a lot of that hard work to my drop in time and strong finish in that event.
Q: You’ve had so much success at States with Haverford’s relays. What do you think are the most important attributes of a successful medley relay squad?
A: With each relay member swimming 50 to 100 yards, it is the little things that make a difference. Matt Stewart works with us on fast relay exchanges, finishes and turns. I think the attention to those details has always benefited us as a team. We are and also have been a close group of girls and enjoy pushing each other to work hard in practice.
Q: Can you walk us through a typical day, or cycle, of your training?
A: I usually train six days a week during the high school season. I practice once a day for two hours a night with my high school Coach Matt Stewart. For the past two years, I have worked twice a week with a personal trainer, Marty Tomes from Function and Strength. I also train in the off season with my Dad [Baldwin School swimming head coach Dave Hart] at The Baldwin Swim Club.
Q: What aspect of your swimming have you been working on the most recently?
A: This season I placed a lot of emphasis on my underwater kicks off the wall. My goal this year was to get more distance off each wall and make my kicks stronger.
Q: What pool did you first swim for? What is your favorite swimming venue, and why?
A: The first swim team was my summer swim club St. Albans. My favorite pool to swim in is any pool while on vacation because it means I do not have to practice.
Q: Do you take a break from swimming during the year?
A: Yes, I take a break after the PIAA State Championship Meet in March and then again in August before fall training.
Q: What (to you) has been the highlight of your swimming career outside of Haverford High?
A: The highlight of my swimming career outside of high school was being able to swim with my siblings Alex, Taylor and Connor on our summer team St. Albans for many years.
Q: Why did you choose Penn State?
A: I chose Penn State because I loved the campus and got along really well with the recruits and girls on the team. I believe in the vision of the coaches. I also believe that I can continue to grow there as a swimmer. My Mom graduated from Penn State so I was familiar with the school.
Q: Do you participate in any other extracurricular activities at Haverford High? What sparked your interest in these activities?
A: I am a member of National Honor Society, and every Sunday I help out at the Special Olympics Program at the Ridley YMCA with my high school teammates. I enjoy working with the kids at Special Olympics. It is rewarding to see them having fun in the sport that I love.
Fun facts – Maddie Hart
Favorite book: The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Favorite TV show: New Girl.
Favorite movie: The Parent Trap.
Favorite athlete: “My sister Taylor.”
Favorite pre-meet pump-up song: Hips Don’t Lie by Shakira.
Favorite team: The Illyria Fighting Armadillos.
Favorite place to visit: Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Favorite pre-meet meal: “Any healthy meal and my favorite snack of Rice Krispy Treats.”
Favorite color: Light blue.
Person I most admire: “My grandmother, Evelyn Highley Hart. She was a two sport NCAA All-American in field hockey and swimming. She is very humble about her accomplishments. She is also a very kind and thoughtful person.
Birth date: March 12, 1998, in Bryn Mawr.
Family members: Parents Nancy and Dave; siblings Alex, Taylor and Connor; and new dog Logan.
(To be selected as Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by her coach.)