A staple on Hilton Head Prep's tennis team for the past six years, Maddy Ivans didn't complain as she watched one talented, young player after another pass her on the singles ladder during her senior season.
Instead, she found other ways to provide leadership and support, and she carried those qualities to the pool, as well, qualifying for the SCISAA state meet in three individual events to help the Dolphins' swim team to a successful inaugural season.
Ivans is also an accomplished artist who finds inspiration from a surprising subject.
The multi-faceted student-athlete took a few minutes this week to talk with The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette about all of the above.
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Question: You're getting into the thick of the tennis season, starting to gear up for a potential playoff run. How do you feel about the team's prospects for the rest of the year?
Answer: Well, I'm really excited about our team, because they're all underclassmen and really young, so they have a good chance for this year and for the next couple of years. That's going to be exciting.
Q. You're one of only a couple of seniors on that young team. How do you see your role in that situation?
A. I'm just trying to show up and be supportive of them, because there's nothing I can really do about the matches anymore, because they're all the top six. I just want them to do well.
Q. You took on another sport this year and were actually participating in swimming and tennis at the same time. What prompted you to try two sports in the same season?
A. Swimming was a sport I played when I was a little kid. I used to swim with (Hilton Head Aquatics). This was the first year Prep had a swim team, and I thought it would be something fun to try, so I went for it.
Q. What was the experience like to be part of a first-year program and see the swimmers kind of learn the sport as the season went on?
A. It was really fun. There was a sixth-grader on the team who had never swam before, and they had to teach him to dive and swim and do flip-turns, and it was really awesome to see him be able to swim 100 (yards) by the end of the season. The program was really organized, because we had good coaches who were actual swimmers.
Q. You're not just an athlete, though. You're also an artist, and you have a painting on display at the Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island. How did that come about?
A. I am a member of the Gullah book committee, and we were trying to put together a book of stories and pictures about Gullah history and Hilton Head Island. I took one of the pictures that I took of the house on the Gullah Museum site and decided to do a painting of it. They ended up just putting it in the show with a bunch of other Gullah art, so that's how that happened.
Q. How did you become so interested in Gullah history?
A. My mom was really into it, and I found it really interesting, so we kind of took it up as a hobby to do together.
Q. Now that you're in your senior year, have you started to reflect on your high school sports career and what it has meant to you?
A. Yeah, it's kind of sad. I'm kind of bummed it's almost over. When I finished my last lap (at the state swim meet), I was like, 'Oh, I don't get to do it anymore.' It's kind of sad that's over, and with tennis, I've been on that team for six years, so that's going to be a major wrap-up, too. That's going to be sad. I'm hoping to do club sports or intramurals in college, though, so it's not over yet.