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Wellman-Union
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Trinity Christian
New Mexico Military
Canceled
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Lubbock High swimmer Cox gets shot to make Olympic team

Madisyn Cox will get her first of what she hopes are several shots at cracking the U.S. Olympic team.

Posted: June 22, 2012 - 11:08pm  |  Updated: June 23, 2012 - 12:16am
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Lubbock High's Madisyn Cox will compete at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials next week in Omaha. (FILE)  FILE
FILE
Lubbock High's Madisyn Cox will compete at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials next week in Omaha. (FILE)

Madisyn Cox fully expects to be the wide-eyed kid in the room next week, and she’ll have good reason.

The 17-year-old Lubbock High swimmer will be standing among the sport’s elite at her first U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

“Ever since you’re a kid there was that sense that you want to be someone great, do something great,” Cox said. “I guess that’s where this started. It was just a small, little notion then.”

Now Cox will get her first of what she hopes are several shots at cracking the U.S. Olympic team. She qualified for the trials in the 200-meter individual medley, an event she’s dominated at the local and state level, and will swim in the prelims Wednesday at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb.

Cox was the 200-yard IM Texas state champion in 2011, then

took second place at the 2012 state meet.

She is a six-time high school all-American and holds West Texas Swimming records in the 100 breaststroke, 200 breaststroke, 200 backstroke and 200 IM.

Her state runner-up finish earlier this year followed a disappointing regional meet. But it was a disappointment only by Cox’s high standards.

She won the Region I-5A meet in February with a time of 2 minutes, 4.53 seconds, a little more than four seconds slower than her 2011 championship time.

“I’m a lot more confident in my strokes,” Cox said. “I really think I’ve grown since then and I have a lot more under my belt, training-wise.”

She competed in four events at the state meet, taking fifth in the 100 breaststroke, 12th as part of the 200 medley relay and 15th in the 400 freestyle relay.

Cox qualified for the trials — which are conducted in meters, not yards — in August at the Junior National Championships with a time of 2:18.89, her career-best.

She will be among the youngest of the participants, and veteran Lubbock ISD swimming coach Trey Hayes said she is “to the best of my knowledge” the first swimmer out of Lubbock to compete at that level.

“As a coach you hope your whole life you have somebody like this,” said Hayes, who just wrapped up his 11th year at the Lubbock Independent School District. “It’s the first trials qualifier (I’ve coached), and maybe I’ll never even have another one. Who knows?”

With the trials on the horizon, Cox is focusing on her speed and the pace of the race, with an added emphasis on the butterfly and backstroke.

Both Cox and Hayes are realistic about their expectations.

Cox had the 121st qualifying time of the 129 competitors. Should she advance out of her heat, which is determined by time rather than order of finish, she will be facing the best swimmers in the world.

Among the field in the 200 IM are Natalie Coughlin, who owns a pair of Olympic golds, and Katie Hoff, who won the 200 IM trials in 2008 and took fourth in the event at the Olympics.

“I’m definitely not one of the favorites,” Cox said. “My chances are probably very slim, to say the least. ... What I’m hoping for right here is just getting some experience in the pool, getting some good competition and seeing what it’s like at this level.”

Added Hayes: “It’s a learning experience. Realistically her best chances are 2016 and a real good shot at 2020.”

But fractions of seconds determine the difference between a good and bad showing, so anything could happen. Hayes said only two-tenths of a second separate the fastest and slowest swimmer in the heat he expects Cox to swim.

“It would mean the world,” Cox said of becoming an Olympian. “I wouldn’t even know what to do. It’d be awesome.”

To comment on this story:

david.just@lubbockonline.com
• 766-8736

george.watson@lubbockonline.com
• 766-2166

The Cox file

■ 2011 5A Texas state champion, 200 IM

■ 2012 5A Texas state runner-up, 200 IM

■ Six-time high school all-American

■ Junior National qualifier

■ Senior National qualifier

■ U.S. Open qualifier

■ Two-time district swimmer of the year

■ Twelve-time all-district

■ Twelve-time all-region

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