Thursday, May 25, 2023 | 2 a.m.
Madeleine Hebert was never athletic as a young child.
She got involved in sports through dancing, and it was fun to start. But then she caught swimming competitions at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London on television and realized what she wanted to do.
Turns out it was the right decision. Hebert won the 100 freestyle and 200 freestyle 5A championships last year as a junior and was also key in helping Coronado win the 200 and 400 freestyles. She broke her own state record with a time of 1 minute, 47.63 seconds in winning another state championship in the 200 freestyle this year, in addition to coming in first in the 100 freestyle and as a part of two relay teams.
“I would say the biggest thing for me is I’m pretty versatile,” Hebert said. “I go from 50 to 500, and I hold records at Coronado for every single one of them. I think the biggest thing is I’m very focused on staying not categorized in one place.”
Hebert has spent most of her swim time at Team Rebel Aquatics, a club team that practices at UNLV. The intensity of club swimming, Hebert said, has allowed her to put the sport into full focus heading into college. She’ll be attending North Carolina State, currently the No. 4 program in the nation.
“I love the experience I get in high school, and that’s what makes it special,” Hebert said. “I definitely go to a couple dual meets, be the best captain I can be at these dual meets, but when it comes to regionals and state, that’s usually my time to shine.”
Hebert said she doesn’t try to model herself after other swimmers, but growing up, gold medalists Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky always stood out. She even got to swim against Ledecky in the 400 freestyle, coming in 20th among 80 total participants.
“I’ve never been focused on place,” she said. “I’ve always been focused on improving my time.”
Hebert will compete in the 200 and 500 freestyles when she starts at NC State.
• Juliana Alejandro, Centennial wrestling: Went a school record 47-0, against boys and girls, to finish No. 9 nationally at 101 pounds.
• Ali’a Matavao,Liberty basketball, volleyball and track: Named state’s Gatorade Player of the Year for a second straight season after averaging 18 points and 12 rebounds in basketball, in addition to winning two events at the state track meet.
• Angelina Sayles, Coronado volleyball: Won the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year award after leading the Cougars to a state title.
This story appeared in Las Vegas Weekly.