Kiera Aitken applauds Madelyn Moore as her record is finally broken
Former Bermuda Olympian Kiera Aitken has hailed the record-breaking exploits of swimmer Madelyn Moore.
University of Northern Colorado junior Moore broke Aitken’s twelve-year-old national record in the 100 metres freestyle competing at the Amateur Swimming Union of the Americas Tokyo Qualifier held at the Orlando Health National Training Centre in Florida.
Moore posted 56.57 seconds in the 100 free to eclipse the previous national record of 56.99 set by Aitken at the 2009 World Championships in Rome, Italy.
“I am happy to hear that Madelyn has broken my record,” Aitken, 37, told The Royal Gazette. “I am a bit surprised that record lasted so long. I had to do some research myself because I figured that it had already been broken.”
In response, Moore said: “Kiera was a trailblazer for Bermuda swimming. It has taken a long time for her records to be lowered and that truly speaks to how amazing she was and still is!
“She is genuinely one of my role models and motivating factors to keep working hard.”
Moore, 20, is trying to qualify for this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo in the 50 free which is her speciality event.
The A qualifying standard in the women’s 50 free stands at 24.77 and the B standard at 25.51.
“I wish her all the best in her bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics,” added Aitken.
“I know it is an extremely stressful endeavour in any times, let alone during a pandemic.
“The standards get faster every time and although swimmers are also getting faster, I think that what it takes to qualify is harder with each round.”
Aitken is one of Bermuda’s most successful swimmers who represented the island at multiple Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, Fina World Championships and Pan American Games.
She is the first Bermudian female to break the one minute mark in the 100 back and stills holds the national records in the 50 back (29.31), 100 back (1:02.62), 200 back (2:16.95) and 400 free.
Aitken, whose speciality was the 100 back, was also a member of the island’s teams that hold the national records in the 4x50 freestyle relay (1:52.44) and 4x50 medley relay (2:04.32).
She won numerous medals throughout her sparkling career, including gold competing at the Caribbean Island Swimming Championships and XVI Spain Club Cup.
She is also a two-times Bermuda Female athlete of the year award winner who had the honour of carrying Bermuda's flag at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India and Closing Ceremonies of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
“It was an honour to represent Bermuda,” Aitken said. “Being Bermudian is a huge part of my identity.
“I’m very proud to be Bermudian and grateful for this to be my home. I received so much support over the years that it is overwhelming to think about.”
Aitken, who is poised to make her Bermuda Day Half-Marathon debut later this month, retired from competitive swimming in 2013.
“I don’t miss competing at all,” she added. “It gives me anxiety just thinking about it. I miss training though.
“When I retired from swimming, I didn’t know what I was going to do, and it was scary. I kind of stumbled into teaching [Elliott Primary].
“This ended up being a perfect fit for me creatively and is also my way of trying to give back to a community that gave so much to me.
“My hope is that I am able to transmit to my students some of the valuable life lessons I learnt during my swimming career.”