Featured Freshman Friday: Madison Straight

Quitting band in the eighth grade may have been one of Madison Straight’s best decisions—although her band director might not agree. The individual medley-specialist from Ft. Worth, Texas has made her mark on the team early on—without a French horn—as her 200- and 400-yard IM times currently rank second on the squad and sixth and seventh in the Big 12, respectively. Straight holds five school records at Keller Central High School and was a member of the USA Swimming Scholastic All-America team 2012-14. In this week’s Freshman Friday, KUAthletics.com caught up with Straight, the 2014 recruit that ranked 18th in the state of Texas according to CollegeSwimming.com.

Why did you decide to swim for KU?
“Coaches were the number one reason. The team was also really supportive, I loved that. I also just felt at home here. Every time I visited it was just so comfortable. Also, compared to Texas, there’s so many pretty trees in Kansas. I was like, ‘Yeah, I love this.’ We visited two or three times just to check out the campus, and each time I loved it.”

What are you looking forward to the most about being on this team?
“I love the dual meets and I’m excited to just get faster with the team. The big meets are going to be a ton of fun with the team.”

Besides swimming, what are your hobbies?
“Hmm… I don’t have much time for hobbies but I love shopping and just relaxing whenever I can.”

What is your favorite pool game?
“I’ve learned that pool games always become violent. On my club team, we would play Sharks and Minnows and someone would always end up hurt. I really haven’t done many pool games but I guess Sharks and Minnows would be my favorite.”

What has been your most memorable swimming moment so far?
“Getting my Junior National cut in the 200 IM two summers ago. It was at the UT Senior Circuit meet, which was my last chance to get it, so it was so much pressure. I had all my friends cheering me on behind me, and it was a really special moment when I touched the wall and saw I had gotten it.”

What has been your favorite vacation?
“My family and I went to Hawaii and it was really relaxing. We did some tough hikes—probably through private property—but we got to this beach that no one was at, so it was worth it.”

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
“Graduated with a degree. Hopefully I’ll have a successful job, possibly in the business world. I’m undecided right now but leaning toward business. I’m still not 100 percent sure what I want to do.”

What is your favorite KU tradition?
“Waving the wheat. I love being a part of that, it’s so cool. At football games when everyone does it together, I’m always like, ‘Whoa.'”

What is your favorite food?
“Bread. I love anything bread-related. French bread is my favorite. At restaurants I’ll dip it in the oil and vinegar mix, but even just with butter it’s good.”

What is your favorite song or artist to get pumped up to?
“I like country music. I like being relaxed before I race, and country music is relaxing. I’ll put on the top-country music. Nothing too old-country though.”

Tell us something that most people don’t know about you.
“I used to play the French horn in middle school. I was running cross country, swimming and doing band—which was way too much, so I picked swimming because I enjoyed it more and I felt like I could go further in swimming than I could in band or running. When I told my band director I was going to quit, he told me, ‘You’re making the worst decision of your life.’ Now I look at it and I’m like… I’m not so sure about that.”

This Freshman Friday, Straight may be carbo-loading on bread to prepare for her meet on Saturday. Straight and the Jayhawks host the third home meet of the season against Illinois on November 8 at 1 p.m., a meet which will be broadcasted on Time Warner Cable Sports and ESPN3 outside the Kansas City metro area. All events at Robinson Natatorium are free of charge and open to the public.

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