Saturday, July 24, 2021

Sports Person of the Week

Bergin Swims to Instant Success with the Indians


Only a freshman, Maddie Bergin has already set the school record in the 50 freestyle and is on the doorstep of doing so in the 100 freestyle as a member of the North Haven girls’ swimming and diving team. Photo courtesy of Maddie Bergin

Only a freshman, Maddie Bergin has already set the school record in the 50 freestyle and is on the doorstep of doing so in the 100 freestyle as a member of the North Haven girls’ swimming and diving team. (Photo courtesy of Maddie Bergin)

It isn’t every day that a freshman jumps into the varsity pool and makes a serious impact, but that’s exactly what Maddie Bergin is doing at North Haven High School. Maddie has been swimming competitively since she was seven, and so she transitioned smoothly to the high school level. In her first year, Maddie set the school record in the 50 freestyle for the Indians, who recently finished their regular season with a record of 7-4.

“All my teammates support each other in everything that we do. Every race, we’re always there for each other, and everyone cheers for one another during every race,” Maddie says. “We’ve worked hard this high school season. I love swimming at meets, I love the team, and my teammates are great. High school swimming is challenging and fun. I love it a lot.”

Maddie is a sprinter whose best event is the 50 freestyle, although she’s also having a great year in the 100 freestyle. In the 50 free, Maddie swam a time of 24.68 seconds to break the school record of 25.07 that had stood since 2005. She’s also just one second shy of breaking the 100 freestyle mark of 53.56 that was set in 2006.

“The 50 free has always been my favorite event. I enjoy sprinting. I’m able to keep my arms moving as fast as I can and kick as fast as I can,” says Maddie. “In distance swims, you have to pace yourself, which is challenging, because I tend to hold back. I just find sprinting better for myself.”

Head Coach Martha Phelan has been impressed with Maddie’s immediate success during her first year in the high school ranks. Phelan feels there’s a good chance that Maddie will have two school records to her name before season’s end.

“To excel in an age program and then go to high school, there’s a transition or adjustment period for most swimmers. It’s a whole new playing field as far as competition goes, going against juniors and seniors. She made that transition immediately,” says Phelan. “She loves representing our team and high school and already broke a record in 50 free. I’m confident she’ll break the 100 free before the season is over, as well. She’s a great addition to my team.”

Phelan continued by saying that Maddie was built to excel in the pool and owns the right attitude to maximize her chances of doing so.

“Maddie is very fortunate in having the perfect swimming body. She’s very long, has long arms, is tall, and very lean, so the dynamic of a body type like that in water gives you an advantage right there,” Phelan says. “She can really turn over, gets very excited about competitions, and it’s a very healthy attitude. She loves having goals and is always asking for my feedback for what she should be doing.”

Maddie also swims for Coach Phelan’s club team, and so the two of them were already familiar with each other when Maddie joined the high school squad. That’s one more reason why Maddie fit right in with the Indians.

“I just enjoy swimming with the team, and Martha has been an amazing coach the past seven years. I don’t know what I’d do without her or her daughter Colleen,” says Maddie, who adds that she enjoys competing alongside her cousin and fellow freshman, Riley Joos. “The whole team is great, and it feels like a big happy family.”

Other than her freestyle events, Maddie also likes swimming the 100 backstroke. Maddie says the mechanics between the two strokes are similar, and so the event plays perfectly to her strengths.

“I feel like in free and back, they’re both very similar in how you swim it,” says Maddie. “You need fast arms and you kick in the same motion, which is helpful for me. I feel better swimming those than the fly and the breaststroke.”

As she enters the home stretch of her fantastic freshman season, Maddie wants to continue making a big-time splash at North Haven throughout the next few years.

“My goals throughout these four years is to accomplish a lot more. I’d like to break the 100 free record in these next years, and I’m hoping to break that pretty soon,” she says. “I hope to just have a good next four years on the team.”

PJ Foti covers sports for East Haven and North Branford for Zip06. Email PJ at

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