The junior is Whitman-Hanson/Middleboro’s top point-getter this season.
Entering the winter of her freshman year, Maddie Navicky was certain about a couple of things: she enjoyed competing and she loved to swim.
However, she had never mixed the two. That was about to change.
“During my freshman year, I saw that students were given the opportunity to swim with a nearby school as a co-op team, WHAM (Whitman Hanson and Middleboro),” Navicky said, “and I loved swimming at my grandparents’ pool, so I thought, ‘Why not try out?’”
Trying out blossomed into of the best decisions she has ever made. Now a junior at Whitman-Hanson Regional High, Navicky is a two-time South Shore League All-Star and back-to-back team MVP. This season, she’s WHAM’s top scorer and a sectional and state qualifier, which are both firsts for her.
“She is just a really hard worker,” said WHAM head coach Everett Clark. “She’s always trying to push it and go the extra mile.”
It’s that type of attitude since Day One that’s sparked Navicky’s success.
“At our practice, lane one is the fastest swimmers and lane six are the beginners,” Navicky, the first competitive swimmer in her family, said. “During my freshman year I was in lane six and I really wanted to strive to make the goal to get into lane five at the end of the year.”
Not only did she leap a lane, but she developed a deep-rooted passion for the sport because of its competitiveness. After all, she did run cross country in the fall.
“First, it was hard because swimming is draining and it uses every single muscle in your body,” Navicky said. “With all the work put into it, I kept seeing quality improvement in my times and that kind of really pushed me to get better.”
That quality improvement flowed into her sophomore year, as she lowered her time in all of her events: the 100-yard backstroke, 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle and 50-yard freestyle.
This season she’s topped those times yet again with a 58.57 in the 100 free, a 2:11.21 in the 200 free, a 1:12.28 in the 100 back and a 26.12 in the 50 free. She qualified for states in the 100 free and sectionals in the 50 free, both during the Dec. 14 meet against Randolph.
Clark said it’s not just Navicky’s speed in the pool that makes her stand out, but also her willingness to lead by example, which is why she was recently named captain. Clark said he has no better recollection of her leadership than from earlier in the year.
“We were trying to make sectionals for the 400 free relay and we didn’t, and her response is always saying, ‘If I had dropped another second, that could have made the difference,’” Clark recalled. “She didn’t turn to the other three swimmers and say, ‘You could have done better,’ and they could have. It would have been easier for them to drop more time than her, but that’s not how she looks at it.”
Clark said Navicky’s leadership is just important as her point production.
“She’s always trying to push it and go the extra mile, that’s why she’s a captain,” Clark said. “That’s how she’s always been, just always wanting to do a little better. She’s great with her peers. She never asks someone to do something she won’t do.
“You really want someone who is willing to go the extra effort and put the extra time in and not just tell people about it and she shows it, she demonstrates it and lives it. That’s what we want as a leader.”
Navicky said her goal is to continue to take her skills to the next level.
“I’ve made so many friendships in high school that I think in college if I join a swimming team it will help me expand more and branch out and become more comfortable with everyone,” Navicky said.
But she still has another year and a half donning red, orange and black, and she’s aiming high.
“I would like to qualify in sectionals and states for more events, especially the 200 free,” Navicky said. “That would be my ultimate goal by the end of the year.”