20 Question Tuesday: Madisyn Cox
By Bob Schaller//Correspondent
Madisyn Cox is good at covering distances. The 200 IMer can also bring it in the 200 free and 100 breaststroke for the Texas Longhorns when her team needs it. The native of Lubbock, Texas, and National Teamer also won silver in the 200 IM at the World University Games in her first international meet this summer. The junior, who is an All-American in the 200 IM and 400 IM, talks about how the past has pushed her to where she is now, as well as what she’s focusing on moving forward, in this week’s 20 Question Tuesday.
1. How is your training going?
Madisyn: It’s going really well. I feel great. We are in midseason right now, training through everything. I feel good about my swimming.
2. How do you feel swimming for Coach Carol Capitani?
Madisyn: Carol is the all-around package. I could not imagine swimming for anyone else. She’s laid back, but in a cool way -- a real good role model for all of us to be around. As a person, I aspire to be like her in every way. She has a great coaching style. She’s a great combination of doing the right thing and getting all the work done, but also being very personable. You can talk to her about anything.
3. What will you swim at Trials?
Madisyn: I haven’t looked at the lineup, so for now I am focusing on the 200 IM and 400 IM, and the 200 freestyle as well. I’ve also talking about swimming the 100 breaststroke.
4. How has making the National Team, and what comes with that, helped you as a swimmer or has it?
Madisyn: It has. I honestly think a lot of it is just confidence. When you get confidence it carries over to your other races. I had that in the 200 IM, but having some success helps in 200 free and 200 breast as well.
5. Carol told me you are really coachable -- do you like training?
Madisyn: I love training. I absolutely love it. I would never back down from any set. We train for the 400 IM. If you train for that, there isn’t a race you shouldn’t be able to do.
6. Did your breaststroke come before your IM success or is it kind of a chicken-and-the-egg sort of thing?
Madisyn: I’ve actually kind of always been a breaststroker. At one point I don’t think I was even known as an IMer. I have in and out seasons with the breaststroke, but I think it has always been one of my strengths.
7. One of my best news writing students when I taught at Texas Tech was swimmer Kristin Teinert, wasn’t she one of your coaches growing up in Lubbock back around that time?
Madisyn: Yes, she was one of them. I think she coached me when I was younger, in age group. And then as I got older Trey Hays became my coach. I really do enjoy going back to Lubbock because swimming is growing there. They are doing well. So it’s good to see excited kids and talk to everyone.
8. Why did you choose UT Austin?
Madisyn: Well, as I said, Carol is incredible. She is a big factor why I came, why I fit in, why I adapted so well. We have a great team, too. That helps. The quality and character of the girls on the team is also an attribute of our coach -- she is building this program a certain way, so she focuses on recruiting good people who can fit in well and work well together. So I appreciated how she was developing and running the program when I was being recruited.
9. I remember, in Lubbock, the excitement when you went to 2012 Trials -- did you feel some of that, too?
Madisyn: When I made Trials when I was in school in Lubbock, I think a lot of people might have thought that making Trials meant you were an (laughs) Olympian. People would tell me, “I can’t wait to see you in London!” But at that point, in 2012, making the Olympic team was out of the question. I just wanted to go, enjoy the experience, and learn a lot so I’d be ready if I had the chance to be on the big stage again. So this time around it is different. Fast forward to 2016 and I am looking for a dif
ferent experience at Trials.
10. So back to your point, were you able to enjoy Trials at Omaha in 2012?
Madisyn: We have relatives in Omaha so it’s always fun for us to go there. This time it will be fun but I also have some goals to try to attain. My Mom is from Nebraska so that side of the family has some farm interests out there.
11. So making the National Team, how big of a deal is that?
Madisyn: That means a lot to me. It’s something I always dreamed about. Making the Junior National team was a good stepping stone, and it gave me confidence and led me to start pursuing another goal.
12 That National Junior Team you were on, what a collection of great young people - do you stay in touch with them?
Madisyn: It’s kind of funny because a lot of people on the Junior National team came to Texas, so I get to see four or five of them regularly and we can talk about those memories. Plus, (former National Junior Team Director) Jack Roach is an amazing person. He is a great person to get to know inside and out of the pool. And I am more than thankful to have worked with everyone who makes the National Junior team such an important part of the development program.
13. So you make the National Team and you put an American flag on your cap -- what did that do for you?
Madisyn: It really is emotional. The first time they gave us those caps in Doha, at practice, I was just shaking seeing everyone with them - Ryan Lochte, Elizabeth Beisel, all these incredible people I grew up watching and admiring. To be a part of that was a great experience. And it is so humbling and with so much honor and pride that I put on that cap and represent our great country.
14. The silver medal at WUGs in the 200 IM last summer, how much did that mean to you?
Madisyn: It was a disappointing silver medal. I was hoping to represent us well and a second-place finish was disappointing. But I am proud to have represented my country.
15. I’ll take it if it’s too disappointing, ok?
Madisyn: I do appreciate (laughs) having it, but in prelims and the semifinal I was at least a second in front of everyone else. So in context, it was disappointing based on how I had swum and what I expected from myself. Going into that final, I thought I should have been able to finish it out. I had never done that kind of format, and I let that psyche myself out a little bit. But I look back on it and I am more thankful because it was a good experience to get that kind of lesson now, before Trials and everything. So I am proud to have the medal, but a little disappointed with my performance.
16. What do you take, referring to that “lesson” you mentioned - has it helped you already or is that later this year?
Madisyn: Oh definitely, it even helped me short term that summer because I had a lot more fire underneath me. Had I won, there’s a chance I would have been complacent the rest of the season, but since I wasn’t, I dropped another two seconds from WUGs to Nationals, so I credit that time drop coming from what I learned getting that silver, getting back in the pool a little angry at myself.
17. So you were pretty confident coming back and having a good performance at Nationals?
Madisyn: Actually I was a little nervous going into it, because I had just tapered for WUGs, and I didn’t know if I would have the same endurance. But I also knew some of the people from Worlds were gone so there was a chance to step up and take the stage in some other events. My 400 IM was lagging behind my 200 IM, so I used that to try to bring all my events up to speed.
18. And you come out of it on the National Team, good summer over all?
Madisyn: I was pretty excited. I don’t think I’ve ever walked away completely satisfied - at (Nationals) I still lost the 200 IM, another silver medal (second to Caitlin Leverenz by 5/100 of a second), and that was kind of humbling -- some humble pie to fuel me working harder again. But I was thrilled with many of my races (including bronze in the 400 IM) and I learned a lot at that meet.
19. What’s your major in school and what do you hope to do with it?
Madisyn: Neuroscience. I am doing all the prerequisites for med school, and a lot of them are knocked out as part of my major. The exception is (organic) chemistry, which I am taking but is not required for my major. So it’s very interesting, studying the mind and learning some really interesting things.
20. From those National Teams, do you already have some good memories?
Madisyn: Oh yes, for sure. There are friends I have made that I talk to all the time. That’s the big thing here (at Arena Pro Swim Series at Austin) getting to see everyone, kind of a WUGs reunion. Everyone from those teams are so great. I love continuing those friendships. They’re all great swimmers obviously, but even better than that, they are good friends and great people.