Madsen leads GVSU women into GLIACS

GVL / Archive 
Caitlyn Madsen

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GVL / Archive Caitlyn Madsen

Jay Bushen

Before she takes her marks, junior Caitlyn Madsen stares down her competition and imagines what it will feel like to take them down.

The GVSU women’s swimming and diving team will look to Madsen for leadership as they hope to upset the reigning NCAA Division II champs, Wayne State University in the upcoming GLIAC Championships.

No swimmer in GVSU women’s history holds more varsity records than Madsen, who owns the record in the 200 yard backstroke (2 minutes, 2.18 seconds), 100 butterfly (56.01) and 200 butterfly (2:01.45). She has also been a part of the school’s fastest 400 medley relay team (3:47.94) and 800 freestyle relay team (7:34.24).

The junior captain from Chicago, Illinois said positive imagery is the secret to her success.

“I always look at the record board and visualize taking the letters down,” she said. “With my name replacing their names.”

In the team’s 177-123 victory over the University of Indianapolis last Saturday, the junior touched first in the 200 butterfly (2:09.25), 100 butterfly (58.64) and 400 IM (4:41.47). She and teammates Olivia Schultz, Danielle Vallier, and Sarah Roeser also finished first in the 200 medley relay.

Madsen’s attention to detail highlights her ability to prepare for competition. Every aspect of her routine is premeditated, from pre-game music to how her body will feel when she enters the water.

GVSU head coach Andy Boyce said Madsen’s success didn’t happen overnight.

“Caitlyn is very dedicated,” Boyce said. “She’s one of the hardest workers on our team, and it pays off in meets.”

Her work ethic dates back to her time at Community High School, where she learned the importance of setting (and exceeding) personal goals. Her teacher owned the school record for the fastest time in the 100 butterfly, a record that Madsen promised to eclipse.

She followed through on her promise, besting the previous mark as a senior in a speedy 58.46 seconds en route to being named an All-American.

“Her work ethic is very strong. She always gives 110 percent,” said classmate and co-captain Danielle Vallier. “She always gives 110 percent. Caitlyn comes in every day with a positive attitude and is really good at pushing her teammates to do their best both academically and in the pool.”

The biomedical science major said her teammates are her primary source of motivation.

“I love this team,” Madsen said. “We’re like a family. We are all so close, and are always cheering for each other and helping each other get through the season.”

She hopes to meet her goals at the conference championships, where GVSU will attempt to take down a Wayne State team that has won the GLIAC title six of the past seven years.

“Caitlyn does the right things every day, and she’s only a junior,” Boyce said.

The Lakers will head to Canton, Ohio for the GLIAC Championships which begin on Feb. 6 a 4 p.m. The NCAA Division II National Championships start on Mar. 6 at 10:30 a.m. in Birmingham, Ala.

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