Madisyn Cox, 21, competed in her first races of the 2016 Olympic Swim Trials in Omaha Sunday, and she invited her high school swim coach, Trey Hayes, to be there with her.
Sunday morning she competed in the prelims for the 400 Individual Medley, placing 6th overall which allowed her to go on to the finals. Sunday night, she raced in the finals coming in at 4th place, which wasn’t quite enough to send her to Rio for that event. But Madisyn has several other chances at her Olympic dreams during this trials.
Hayes has known Cox since she was five. He said she’s always had intense drive. The only thing that’s changed as she’s gotten older, he explained, is that she’s become better at staying strong when things don’t go her way.
Hayes went with her the first time she qualified for the Olympic trials in 2012. At that time, Cox was in high school. Now she has years of college swimming and some impressive accolades under her belt .
“We came [to the trials] four years ago and we thought we knew what was going on but we were actually kind of clueless, now actually being a contender is just a lot of fun,” Hayes said.
One of the greatest highlights in Cox’s swimming career so far was taking third place in the 200 yard IM at the 2015 NCAA Championships.
She is also a 2015- 2016 USA Swimming National Team member and the 2015 Big 12 Swimmer of the Year.
Cox swims for University of Texas at Austin and will graduate in 2017. She has been training with UT and is in Omaha with her college coach. Hayes was honored when she invited him to come along as well.
“She wanted to represent Lubbock,” Hayes explained. “And she actually told me when we were down at the high school state meet that she was gonna represent us”
He added that Cox has gone the farthest with her swimming career of anyone to come out of the Lubbock Swim Club.
Hayes said he sees Cox as a product of the growing swimming community in Lubbock
“Now we’re starting to see swimming be one of our main sports [in Lubbock], we’ve seen a lot of success over the last few years and really we owe that to Lubbock Independent School District for building a facility where kids have these opportunities because that’s the most important part there, if we didn’t have these facilities we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
He said Madisyn’s secret weapons as an athlete are her work ethic and her practically perfect attendance. Hayes explained that leading up to Omaha, Cox was swimming around 7,000 yards per practice, but that number has decreased recently to get her ready to race.
“What separates her from everyone else is what she’s willing to put herself through with the last 25 meters of a race, she’s willing to go that extra mile, dig down as deep as she can to beat whoever she can or do whatever she needs to do,” he said.
Hayes explained that Cox aspires to be a neurosurgeon down the road. He said that she will train in hopes of competing in the 2020 Olympics as well, after that she plans to attend medical school.
Cox will compete in at least three more races more races in Omaha. Hayes said she will compete in the preliminaries for the 200 IM (her strongest event) as well as the 200 meter freestyle on Tuesday. On Thursday she will race in the preliminaries for the 200 breaststroke.