For the last three years, Marco Island resident Maddy Burt has established herself as one of the top high school swimmers in the state. A state qualifier at St. John Neumann four years in a row, Burt had amassed four medals – including a pair of silvers – in her first three seasons.
She can finally add a gold to her trophy case, as Burt broke through with a first-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly in the Class 1A state swim meet at Stuart on Saturday. In doing so, she became the first Neumann swimmer to ever win a gold medal. She also added a sixth-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle, giving her six medals in four years.
“It means a lot to me,” she said. “I was super excited going into the meet. To come out of this final year with a win, it made me so happy. I really thought I could do it but I knew this was my last chance.”
Burt was seeded first in her event and maintained that seeding through the preliminary swim. Her early success and previous experience gave her plenty of confidence heading into the final event. Burt was state runner-up in the 100 fly as both a sophomore and junior, also placing fifth as a freshman.
“There was some pressure on me heading into state but after I swam the prelims, I grew more confident,” she said. “The pressure was still there but the nerves went away. I was able to relax and race my race.”
Burt said she was unaware no Neumann swimmer had ever won gold until after the race.
“I thought that was pretty cool,” she said. “I was able to leave my mark on the school and on the program. These last four years have been a lot of fun. I’ve made a lot of friends here and worked with some good coaches.”
Burt committed to the University of Arizona earlier this year, where she’ll swim in one of the best Division I conferences in the country, the Pac-12.
But before she heads off to college, she has a few big meets coming up for her club team SwimFlorida - including a long course event in January where she’ll have a chance to qualify for the Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb. next June.
“Right now, my time is pretty close,” she said. “That’s my main goal in the next few months, getting that time down and having a shot at the Olympic Trials.”