Madeleine Jude Brown was born in Dallas, Texas on May 31, 1987. Her family moved to Atlanta, Georgia when she was 15 months old. Within two years she had two sisters: Veronica Jane and Anne-Catharine Helen.

Madeleine went to grammar school at Christ the King and graduated from Marist High School in May 2006.

Madeleine Brown was a powerful person. Even as a child she was determined and capable. She was involved in a number of activities but her true passion was for swimming. She was a member of the Dynamo Swim Club and then swam under Doug Gjersten at Swim Atlanta for six years.

When she was 11, Madeleine began to get sick. She developed asthma and then over the next 4 years multiple other organs were affected. She developed epilepsy, hypothyroidism, pancreatic and then adrenal insufficiency. During those years she never made it through a dance, a football game or a party at Marist without having a seizure. She was placed on numerous medications. In 2003 she was discovered to have celiac disease, an allergy to gluten which is found in wheat.

Despite her many crosses, Madeleine never complained.  She accepted what she had been dealt.  The difficulties she encountered did not strip away her passion or her love of life. Instead, her experiences gave her the deep insight into humanity that usually comes at a much later age.

She found a poem, “Don’t Quit” that reflected her philosophy toward life. She posted the poem by her bed and read it every night. Through her trials, Madeleine became a person of tremendous faith and courage.  She was not afraid to speak out for truth and against injustice.  Her life was guided by the virtues of compassion, forgiveness and redemption. She believed in the inherent goodness of everyone she met.  She became a sanctuary for scores of friends, touching many lives in very profound ways. She became a completely joy-filled person. She brought out the best in people.

Madeleine was a wonderful student and had a nearly 4.0 average at Marist. She was elected to the National Honor Society and she was an AP Scholar. In senior year, she was elected president of the Marist student body. As a competitive swimmer she was a member of the varsity swim team, coached by Terry Blish. She went off to college to study pre-med. Her goal was to become a doctor and help people, especially children.

In college Madeleine was a member of the Varsity swim team. Within the first few months of the year, she achieved qualifying times for the NCAA Division III Championships. She was very happy. She had worked hard to achieve her goals.

On December 16, 2006, Madeleine drowned during varsity swim practice. Her lungs, liver and corneas were transplanted to needy recipients, as was her wish.




In 2009, Emory University dedicated the aquatic center in Madeleine’s honor. A part of the Woodruff Physical Education Center, the Madeleine Jude Brown Aquatic Center is a world-class facility hosting Emory’s nationally-ranked swimming and diving teams. The Center continues to host the annual Madeleine Jude Brown Invitational Meet of Champions, an event involving hundreds of high school competitors from around the southeast.


Beginning in 2007, the Capital City Waves Swim Club has presented the Madeleine Brown Carpe Diem Award to one of its middle-school swimmers. This award recognizes the individual who best exemplifies the “never quit/no complaining” attitude of Madeleine Jude Brown, who coached the Waves during their 2006 season.


Coach of the Marist Swim Team, Terry Blish, presented the first Madeleine Jude Brown Swimming Cup in at the Westminister-Marist Dual Meet in 2007. Long time competitors, the Marist and Westminister Swim Teams wished for the cup to commemorate Madeleine’s competitive and generous spirit. Coach Blish noted: “…as Madeleine taught us, the most intense rivals in the pool can remain the best of friends after the last race is swum. Let us continue to remember her for her dedication, friendship, and commitment to excellence that is the hallmark of these two outstanding teams.” It was agreed that each year the trophy would be housed at the pool belonging to the victors of the annual dual swim and dive meet.