Dohm a leader in all aspects for Squalicum swim team

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDNovember 13, 2013 

Squalicum’s Maddie Dohm competes in the 100 backstroke in this 2011 photo.

ANDY BRONSON — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

Squalicum's Maddie Dohm is more than just a sprint swimmer. She's also counted on to lead the Storm's swim team, which made it to Class 2A State Girls' Swimming Championship.

As one of the co-captains and a senior, Dohm is tasked with not only swimming anchors of the 200 medley relay and the 200 freestyle relay, but of organizing events, making T-shirts and decorating the bulletin board.

Coach Steve Gibb usually has to remind captains of their responsibilities. Dohm usually already has it done and it's because of her maturity Gibb finds her to be such a good captain.

"She's very serious, very organized," Gibb said in a phone interview. "Some high school girls have a hard time relating to an adult. They talk to you like an authority. She talks to you like another person."

Dohm and her squad finished second at the Class 2A district meet, but now enter a state meet Dohm feels the Storm have a chance at.

"We were pretty happy with a second-place finish at districts," Dohm said in a phone interview. "Going into state, we are standing pretty well against other teams."

Preliminaries start Friday, Nov. 15, at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. Dohm will swim in the 50 freestyle and anchor the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays.

"I'm hoping to advance, but I don't know if I will in my three events," Dohm said. "I just have to keep a positive attitude and give it my all. Whether we do better than we want or worse, we just have to take it."

Her consistency and speed have improved all season long and despite back injuries, Gibb thinks she can do well at state.

"She's had some challenges," Gibb said. "Her back gives her some trouble so it's hard for her to get a workout, but she does a lot of stretching. But she's faster now than she's ever been."

Dohm, along with the rest of the team, is going through a process called tapering. In the process, swimmers reduce yardages before big events to help improve times.

"It's all mental preparation," Gibb said, "which she's very good at."

The preparation also includes dealing with pre-race anxiety, which Dohm says she has always been able to get over. Some of her pre-race relievers include breathing deeply and thinking about the end of the race.

"It's just 30 seconds of pain for a 50-yard race," Dohm said.

Dohm started swimming competitively when she was 5 years old, but took a break and swam more recreationally when she was 10. She eventually came back to racing competitively after a couple years away from the overload that comes with competitive swimming.

Throughout the years, her specialty has always been sprinting.

"She's always been a gifted sprinter," Gibb said. "We couldn't get her to branch out to longer races, but some swimmers are just meant to swim short distances."

Gibb has also tailored Dohm's training to help her focus on her events, which she believes has helped her times this year.

For Dohm, the year has been full of exciting moments and good memories.

"I've had so much fun leading the team this season," Dohm said. "We've not only been a team, but a family this season. There are girls who are more talented, but we are all treated equally."

Dohm also plays tennis and competes in crew, when she's not in the pool.

"I didn't want to dedicate all my time to one sport," Dohm said. "I wanted to have a life."

Dohm plans to swim in college, although not "super competitively." She has applied to seven different schools and is excited for the road ahead.

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