A junior, Ladd was a PIAA state consolation finalist in the 100 back as a freshman and sophomore; successfully defended her title in the 100 back at the AACA Championships Feb. 8 with a season-best 59.59; and is the defending District 1 AA champion in that event. She has been an integral part of the Hurricanes’ powerful 200 medley relay and a key cog in Villa Maria’s last two District 1 AA team championships. Outside of the pool, Ladd is involved in many extracurricular activities at Villa Maria Academy.
Q: What has been your best swim in the 100 back for Villa Maria to date, and what was the key to your performance that day?
A: I would have to say my best swim in the 100 back was at the consolation final at the 2018 PA State Championships my freshman year. I dropped time from my prelims swim and just edged out the swimmer next to me to win the consolation final. I’d say the key to my performance that day was my attitude -and a good nap. I remember being discouraged with my swim that morning, but I went into finals with a calm mindset — with no expectations except to try the best that I could. For me, swimming is just as mental (if not more) than it is physical, so my mindset is what affects my performance the most. Being able to come back and win the 100 back consolation final was such a rewarding feeling, and I will always remember that swim as one of my favorites.
Q: What has been your favorite moment as a Villa Maria swimmer to date?
A: Though I have made so many great memories with my teammates the whole time I have swam for Villa, I have to say that my favorite moment has to be my experience at States my freshman year. I was the only [Villa Maria] freshman to qualify, and was so excited to go. I looked up to all of the older girls and had a lot of fun getting to learn from them and know them better. As I am now one of the older swimmers on the team, I remember this feeling and try to share it with the younger swimmers. My freshman year was also one of the years we won States. Contributing points to the score and getting to experience this win with my team was such a great moment. Knowing that you have played a part in helping your team win a championship gives you a great sense of accomplishment.
Q: What sparked your initial interest in competitive swimming. Who have been your most influential swimming mentors and why?
A: I started swimming competitively at 7 years old after taking several years of swim lessons at my local YMCA. I began as a Y swimmer then transitioned into USA Swimming. My most influential swimming mentor would have to be my club coach, Ray Lease. He has been with me since I first started swimming, and has supported me every step of the way. My high school coaches Fritz Schumann and Cathy Hay have also been a source of valuable insight and encouragement. In addition, all of the other coaches that I have interacted with over the years have made a positive impact on my swimming. I am grateful to each and every one of them for their coaching and helping me to become the swimmer I am today.
Q: Can you walk us through a typical day, or cycle, of training?
A: I have a 2-2.25 hour afternoon practice 6 days a week, followed by dryland training at Marino’s Athletic Performance two times a week. On Thursdays specifically, I go to high school practice in the morning, followed by club practice in the afternoon, followed by dryland to close out the day.
Q: What is your favorite swimming venue, and why?
A: My favorite swimming venue would have to be the Kunkel Aquatic Center at Franklin and Marshall College. I have swam there for meets (both short course and long course) ever since I joined USA Swimming. It is a beautiful facility, and I have had some of my best swims there.
Q: Are you involved in any other extracurricular activities at Villa Maria Academy other than swimming?
A: This year, I co-founded a business club centered around educating students about different careers in the business field. I am the Assistant Editor of Villa Maria’s newspaper and the Secretary of the Quill and Scroll Writing Honor Society. I am on the board of Villa’s Student Advisory and Student Integrity Committees that help to plan school wide events and initiatives. Last summer, I was selected by the faculty at Villa to attend the HOBY Leadership Seminar, and will be participating in it again this summer as a member of the ambassador team. Outside of Villa, I interned with Swimming World Magazine last summer where I wrote aquatics-related articles to be published on their website. I had the opportunity to interview and connect with people all across the country, and it was so interesting getting to write professionally about the topics that interest me. I also have a job outside of school. Since freshman year, I have been employed as a year-round lifeguard and swim instructor at the Brandywine YMCA.
Q: What is your favorite academic course at Villa Maria Academy? What do you think you’d like to major in at college? Is there a career path that particularly interests you at the present time?
A: I had to pick just one, I’d say my favorite course at Villa this year is AP United States History. I really enjoy learning about our country’s history, and find the class very engaging. Looking forward to college, I intend to major in business. After attending several business-related camps and understanding the many opportunities majoring in business provides, I feel that it is the path I want to go down for my career.
Fun facts – Maddie Ladd
Favorite book: The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.
Favorite author: John Green.
Favorite TV show: Friends.
Favorite movie: Wedding Crashers.
Favorite athlete: “Missy Franklin. She was a big inspiration for me in my early swimming years.”
Favorite pre-meet pump-up song: Welcome to the Rodeo by Lil Skies.
Favorite team: “Eagles. Go Birds.”
Favorite place to visit: “Duck, North Carolina. I love the beach.”
Favorite pre-meet meal: Chicken and rice.
Person I most admire, and why: “The people I admire most are definitely my mom and dad. They have been my biggest supporters and always encourage me to be the best version of myself. Their selflessness, kindness, and work ethic are the qualities I admire most about them. I am so grateful for all they have done for me and continue to do for me each day.”
Family members: parents Adam and Jill.
(To be selected as Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by her coach.)
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