When she was eight, her family moved to Medfield, Massachusetts. Her mother signed her up for a recreational summer swim team at the local pond as a way to make new friends. Now, Maddie Marcucci ‘19 is a skilled swimmer for the Shawmut Aquatic Club in Medfield, an accomplished team part of the highly competitive USA Swimming League.
“I loved swimming from the moment I began. I wanted to pursue it at a more competitive level because, although you may be swimming on a large team, you’re ultimately swimming for yourself; it is an individual sport with a team aspect. Though I race against many people at a meet, I’m really racing myself. If I get last in my heat or even in my event, but raced my best time, I have achieved the goal of competitive swimming,” she said.
Maddie specializes primarily in 50, 100, 200, 400, and 500 yard Freestyle, but also in 100 and 200 yard Butterfly and Individual Medley (IM). Shawmut’s meets generally last anywhere from two to three days, and occur once or twice per month. Maddie said, “Although the meets are intense, there is a lot of time to improve on one’s skills between meets.”
She said, “Swimming has taught me how to be more independent and self-reliant. I’ve learned to recognize my flaws, which allows me to focus on improving myself rather than paying attention to what others are doing; this is particularly applicable to schoolwork. Swimming is a sport that requires equal mental and physical stamina—you could be the most fit person in the world and still not be able to swim competitively because it is just so mentally taxing. Swimming has helped me foster a healthy competitive spirit: When I race against myself and try to beat my best time, I have more fun, since I’m only focused on myself and not other people. I’ve learned to stick with a task and put my full effort and focused into it to become a better swimmer, better student, and better friend.”
Maddie added, “I definitely have times where I find it easy to give up swimming. It is hard to balance my two-plus-hour practices five, maybe six days a week and my workload from school. What motivates me to go to practice and keep swimming are the people on my team. They are always encouraging me to challenge myself to become a beat my time and become a better swimmer. My friends and coaches are so supportive, and they keep me accountable for bettering myself and the team. Instead of comparing one to the rest of their teammates, they really center in on ‘the individual.’”