Tom Mix, Published November 03 2013
Fargo North's Derby at home in the pool
Derby, 17, has turned in state-qualifying times in all eight individual events this season.
“It’s a good thing to be able to swim all the events,” said Derby, who is a captain for the Spartans and a returning all-state selection from last year’s state championship squad.
Derby verbally committed to swim at the University of North Dakota earlier this fall and is preparing for the final two swim meets of her prep career.
Saturday, Derby and the Spartans will travel across town to Fargo Davies High School for the Eastern Dakota Conference meet set to begin at 2 p.m.
Derby will be defending her 100-yard backstroke EDC crown. The event is Derby’s favorite individual event.
“I have been swimming it since I was in seventh grade and it just comes natural to me,” said Derby, who has won the last two 100 backstroke conference titles.
She finished second in the 100 backstroke at state a year ago behind Bismarck Century’s Dani Bergeson, who broke the state record during the finals. In her other individual event, the 100-yard butterfly, Derby finished third.
Derby was a member of North’s 400 freestyle relay team that won a state championship finishing in
a state-record time of
3 minutes, 34.29 seconds.
Derby’s fastest time in the 100 backstroke this fall was
1 minute, 1.16 seconds during a dual with Davies on Aug. 30.
“Maddie has a great disposition,” North head coach Talia Butery said. “She is always smiling and works hard every single day. She is just the ideal athlete you want to work with as a coach.”
Derby also swims on two of the Spartans’ A relay teams and is one of North’s top point earners.
“She scores all those points because she is an athlete with a great work ethic,” Butery said. “She has a positive attitude and has the ability to motivate her teammates. She really is a priceless person to have on our team.”
North graduated a large senior class, which required Derby and other incoming seniors to hold down the guard with leadership.
“It is a big role to play, being a role model for the younger girls on the team and,” Derby said of being elected a captain. “I think the seniors on the team this year had an even bigger responsibility because of how many seniors we lost from last year’s team, but I think this season has gone well.”
Committing to UND means Derby, who has been swimming competitively since seventh grade, is the third North girls swimmer in four years to move to the Division I level. Emily Roche, a 2013 North grad swims at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Rachel Wessman is a senior captain on the UND swimming team.
“I knew I wanted to swim in college around my freshman year of high school,” Derby said. “I was really excited when I committed to UND.”
Butery thinks it will be a good fit.
“Maddie hasn’t been swimming that long, so I feel she is just starting to hit her stride as a swimmer,” Butery said. “I knew any college that she decided to go to was going to be lucky to have her because she has so much potential. We have really only scratched the surface of her ability as high school swimmer.”
Readers can reach Forum reporter
Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562