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Stamford Swimmer's Career Soars From Humble Start

STAMFORD, Conn. – Stamford’s Dan Madwed compiled a long list of achievements and accolades in four years of swimming at the University of Michigan. A few days ago he was named the Big Ten Swimmer of the Year , and he completed his career as a 14-time All-American.

What makes Madwed’s journey remarkable is how it started. He joined the swim team at the Newfield Swim Club at the request of his mother, Ilene, when he was 10. “It was just something to do for the summer for him and his sister (Dana),’’ said Bert Madwed, Dan’s father.

Dan Madwed’s career took off quickly from there, when he joined the Stamford Sharks youth swim team and later the Westhill High School team.  “I don’t know if I’ve ever properly thanked her,’’ Dan said in a phone interview. “I guess I have. But it definitely has been an incredible journey.”

His career with the Wolverines has ended, but he still has the Olympics to shoot for. Madwed will try to make the U.S. team for London at the trials in June, entering after his best year at Michigan.

He won five All-American citations at the NCAA championships, with a fourth-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly and a fifth-place finish in the 200 butterfly. He also helped three relay teams earn All-American honors, with two fifth-place finishes and one sixth-place finish. At the Big Ten championships, he was named the Swimmer of the Championships with wins in both butterfly events and two relays. The engineering major also earned several major academic awards. He is scheduled to finish his classroom work in May.

“I don’t know that it hit me that this was my last time swimming for Michigan for a while,’’ Madwed said. “I don’t think it was until after we had our last meeting that I thought about it being over.”

Madwed still holds the Connecticut High School State Open record in the 100 butterfly, which he set when he was junior. He spent his senior training with the North Baltimore Aquatic Club. If there was a learning curve for Madwed, he found it quickly. He earned first team All-Big Ten honors as a freshman.

“Michigan was a good fit right away,’’ Bert Madwed said. “Educationally it was good for him; athletically it was good for him. He was always able to adapt to new situations pretty easily.”

Dan Madwed also competed on the world stage, helping the United States win gold in the 4 x 400 meter freestyle at the 2009 FINA World Championships. He won a silver medal in the 200-meter butterfly at the 2007 World University Games and was fourth in two events at the 2008 U.S. Open. He gradually played an increasing role in success of Michigan’s team, which finished fifth at the NCAA championships and won its 36th Big Ten Championship.

“The wins in the relays were the most exciting thing about being a Michigan swimmer,’’ Madwed said. “The fact that I was able part of it was great. It’s only four people competing at the same time, and we’re all pulling for each other. It definitely gets louder when you’re pulling for your relay team.”

Madwed is now making a run at the Olympic team and could get on to the team by finishing in the top two in the butterfly events or by finishing in the top six in the 100 freestyle. The top two in the freestyle make the individual finals. The next four compete in the 400 free relay. He is keeping his options open until after the U.S. Trials. Wherever it winds up, the career that began as a 10-year-old kid at the Newfield pool has been a remarkable journey.

“Each time we’d go to a meet, Daniel would move up a little bit more,’’ Bert Madwed said. “He’d be 10 seconds behind, then 6 or 7 seconds. I didn’t know if he’d ever catch them. But he caught them.”

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