Moore sets sights on Rio Olympics
Madelyn Moore, the Bermuda swimmer, is knocking on the door to Olympic qualification.
The 15-year-old sprint swimmer came to within less than ½sec of qualifying for this summer's Olympics in Rio after recording a 26:65 in the 50 metres freestyle, her speciality event, at the Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Championships (CCCAN) in Barbados last summer en route to winning the gold medal.
Moore, who attends Warwick Academy, has two meets remaining to qualify for the Olympics and feels good about her chances of reaching the 50 free qualifying standard of 26:17
“I have the nationals here in Bermuda at the end of May and the Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships, which is in Bahamas end of June and that will be the last time to qualify,” she said.
“I need a 26.17 and right now I have 26.65, which is a bit of a time to take out in the 50 freestyle.
“Hopefully I will qualify at the nationals, and if not, I still have the Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships to try to do it.
“It would mean everything to me to qualify for the Olympics. This year I would definitely be going for the experience and seeing what it would be like and then for 2020 [in Tokyo] definitely going for it.”
Ben Smith, the Bermuda head coach, is backing Moore to hit the qualifying mark.
“We are focused on that goal [Olympic qualification],” he said. “She has the ability and the training. It just has to come together at the right opportunity.”
Moore's Olympic qualifying preparations received a massive boost when she was afforded the opportunity to train alongside the visiting SwimMac Carolina swimmers at the Aquatics Centre at the National Sports Centre on Tuesday.
The professional outfit boasts a number of Olympic swimmers, including Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace of Bahamas and Bermuda's Roy-Allan Burch.
“I had the opportunity to swim with the SwimMac Olympians and did some fast 50s against Vanderpool-Wallace,” Moore said.
“She made the finals at the 2012 Olympics, so just being able to see what she can do was amazing and getting to race against her even more amazing. She helped me out with my starts, which definitely helped.”
Vanderpool-Wallace, the World Championships, Commonwealth Games and Pan American Games medal winner, said Moore has lots of potential.
“I was really impressed with her speed and abilities, she is definitely capable of going as far as she wants to go,” Vanderpool-Wallace, who will make her third Olympic appearance in Rio, said.
“She has a great quality in an athlete being that she was willing to listen and learn. I'm excited to watch her improve.”
Moore, who swims for Sharks Swimming Club, has also received useful pointers from Burch, who is also looking to qualify for his third straight Olympics.
“I got to go to the Minneapolis Grand Prix with Roy and just over that meet he really helped me,” Moore said.
“He watched my races and gave me feedback and stuff so that was really nice. He showed me activation stuff you can do before races and that was really cool.”
Moore is fresh off an outstanding showing at last week's Carifta Championships in Martinique, where she won gold medals in the 50 back and 50 free, as well as silver in the 100 free competing in the girls 15-17 age group for the first time.
“The competition was harder this year because I just moved up to the 15-17 age group,” she said. “But it was fun and I'm very pleased with my performance.
“It is an honour to represent your country and especially to medal and get to your [country's] anthem on the first place podium is definitely great.”
Moore was among Bermuda's 11-member squad that bagged 21 medals in Martinique, including nine gold, and set four championship records.
“This year particularly was a very small and young team,” Moore added. “But it was a new pool we had some really fast times. It was a ten-lane, 50 metres pool and a fantastic facility.”