Athlete of the Month: Maddie Healey

By Steve Svetovich

Work harder than your competition. 

That is how you become an All Regional swimmer three years in a row.

Dunmore senior swimmer Maddie Healey is that swimmer. 

Daughter of Georgia and Joseph Healey, Dunmore, Maddie, 17, had the top qualifying time in the 100-yard backstroke with her school record (58.58) and seeded fourth in the 200 free (2:02:14), but could not compete in the post season due to a shutdown of athletics at school because of COVID-19. 

Maddie was expected to compete at a high level in districts and state competition, so the shutdown was a disappointment. 

However, she was honored with her third consecutive All Regional selection. 

She will attend Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York in the fall on a scholarship. She will study chemistry and be a member of the swimming team at Marist College.

“I’m excited about it,” Maddie said. “I am excited to see what the next four years will bring. I will see if all of my hard work pays off.

“I can’t wait to be a part of the swimming team there. Chemistry is a broad major. I am not sure what I will eventually do with it, but it is a strong academic major and it will provide me with a range of decisions.”

Well spoken and personable, Maddie has a 3.65 grade point average at Dunmore. Not surprisingly, her best and favorite academic subject is chemistry. She is a member of the National Honor Society. 

Maddie said her parents teach her a lot. “They teach me to always work very hard and respect my elders.”

The senior stalwart swimmer said she likes listening to music in her spare time and would like to see Post Malone in concert.

She talked about what it takes to be a good swimmer.

“It takes a lot of hard work. There is a lot of talent out there, but you need to put in the work and out work the competition. 

“You need to work harder than anyone else.”

Maddie is a four-year member of the Dunmore swimming team. She has been swimming competitively since age 11 in the Dunmore Middle School. She is also a member of the Dunmore cross country team. She has been participating in cross country since seventh grade and was named “Runner of the Year” at Dunmore the past four years.

She was named MVP of the Dunmore swimming team the past three years.

Maddie this past February scored the 1,000th point of her career as a swimmer. With a time of 58.58 seconds, she broke the school backstroke record set by Coleen Brown in 2019. The previous record was 01.01.03. 

“It was an incredible feeling,” she said. 

Maddie said she and her teammates were heartbroken when a COVID-19 outbreak cancelled Dunmore’s post season.,”All of our hard work was just taken away from us. We were all heartbroken. We were so much looking forward to it.”

Last year the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the state playoffs for Dunmore. Maddie had placed fourth in the 200 freestyle and third in the 500 freestyle in districts as a junior.

Her swimming coach at Dunmore is John Andreoli. “He teaches us a lot of life lessons,” Maddie said. “He tells us to always be there for each other and the team is most important.”

The articulate, hard working senior talked about what it takes to excel as a swimmer.

“You need to dedicate yourself to swimming and put in the time. You need to work hard in and out of the pool. You need to work on both your training and diet. Diet and eating the right food is a big factor. Plus your training out of the pool is a big aspect of it.”

Maddie talked about her Dunmore experience. “Well, due to the COVID pandemic the past year and a half is not what I expected. None of us did. But it has been a great four years to be a part of Dunmore High School and the swimming team. Dunmore is a great school. We are all obviously disappointed in not being able to compete in the post season. I am looking forward to attending Marist in the fall.” 

Dunmore Swimmers Look to Make Great Strides This Season

By Steve SvetovichDHS swim team

Dunmore High School second year girls’ swimming coach John Andreoli is looking for his team to increase its roster and make an impact this year. Andreoli, Aquatics Director at the Greater Scranton YMCA, Dunmore, said practice begins this coming Friday, November 16.

“We had 11 girls on the team last year and are hoping for 15 to 20 this season,” said coach Andreoli.

“We’ve taken great strides in gaining some respectability in our league. It’s been a tall task getting the program on its feet, but I think we are looking real strong going forward. We plan to make some waves in the near future.

“I just need to get some more swimmers on board. And we are planning to do that.

swim“We have two of the best swimmers in the area, senior Colleen Brown and sophomore Maddie Healey, on our squad.

Both girls already garnered quite a bit of attention last season as they each broke three school records.

“We have some returning young swimmers who are going to surprise a lot of people this year. We also have some freshmen who look very promising.

“I would like to see more public interest in our team. We want to build the program and get off to a good start. Swimming is not always on the radar, but our story could be a compelling one this year. Our program should be getting a little boost with more girls coming out to swim.”

Coach Andreoli, who was a star swimmer at Valley View High School, said both Brown and Healey broke multiple school records and placed high in districts last season.

He said junior Mia Chiaro just started swimming for Dunmore last year and placed in districts. “We expect big things from her this year. And she never swam until last year.”

Dunmore’s first swim meet will be Dec. 13.

“Dunmore has not been a traditional powerhouse in swimming. We are trying to change all that. We are taking steps to gain relevance in the program.

“We have a lot of returning swimmers and a lot more depth. We are returning more than half of last year’s team and adding more to the roster.”

Andreoli is in his second year as Aquatics Director at the YMCA. He has coached the Greater Scranton Stingrays swimming team for the past seven years.

bucksBrown is in her fourth year as a member of Dunmore’s swimming team. Healey, in her second year, has had lots of success as a swimmer. Both performed well in districts last season. Both came up in local swimming programs and swim at Blue Dolphin Aquatics.

“Both girls are very dedicated.”

Coach Andreoli can’t wait to get started. “We are going to get the community excited about our program this year. This is an upstart year. And we are trying to get the program out there to the public’s attention.

“We will definitely improve this year. This has always been a small program at Dunmore, but with 15 to 20 girls coming out this year it is expanding. We will make a name for ourselves.”

Andreoli has been coaching swimming for various local teams over the past decade. He has served as a lifeguard and swimming instructor.

Fundraising events have also started for the Dunmore swimming team. Money needs to be raised for warm up suites and equipment.

YMCA Offers Swim Instruction Scholarships

YMCAAs part of the YMCA’s commitment to reduce drowning rates and keep kids safe in and around the water, the Greater Scranton & Wilkes-Barre Family YMCAs will provide scholarships for swim instruction and water safety to children from under-served communities in the Scranton & Wilkes-Barre regions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fatal drowning is the second-leading cause of death for children ages one to 14 years old. In ethnically diverse communities, the youth drowning rate is two to three times higher than the national average, according to a USA Swimming study. Additionally nearly six out of 10 African American and Hispanic/Latino children are unable to swim, nearly twice as many as their Caucasian counterparts.

“Educating children how to be safe around water is just as important as teaching them to look both ways before they cross the street,” said Diana Dempsey, Senior Aquatics Director, Greater Scranton & Wilkes-Barre Family YMCAs. “The Y’s teaches children of all ages and backgrounds that water should be  fun, not feared, and this practice not only saves lives it builds confidence.”

The Y has been a leader in providing swim lessons and water safety for more than 150 years.  The Greater Scranton & Wilkes-Barre Family YMCAs continue to help youth and adults experience the joy and benefits of swimming, so they can be healthy, confident and secure in the water. There are a variety of programs to choose, including swim lessons for all ages, family swim, competitive swimming, water aerobics and more.

In addition to learning lifesaving water safety skills, children can increase their physical activity by swimming. Swimming also motivates children to strive for self-improvement, teaches goal orientation and cultivates a positive mental attitude and high self-esteem. It also teaches life lessons of sport and sportsmanship, so that children can learn how to work well with teammates and coaches and how to deal with winning and losing—skills that last a lifetime.

To learn how to qualify for financial assistance, visit our websites or call: www.greaterscrantonymca.org, (570) 342-8115, or www.wbymca.org, (570) 823-2191.