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Nelson swimmer Samuel Matthew wins big at BC Summer Games

Bruce Fuhr
By Bruce Fuhr
July 22nd, 2014

Samuel Matthew made the long trek to Vancouver Island not knowing what to expect at the B.C. Summer Games.

A few days later the Nelson swimmer needed to put in a call to the local freight company for a quote on moving a trunk load of metal back to the Heritage City following an amazing six-medal performance in the pool in the Hub City.

“I have to say I was very surprised at my overall results this weekend,” the 14-year-old Matthew said from Nanaimo.

“It was a very good feeling to win,” Matthew added. “I always try to do my best.”

Matthew said initially he didn’t think the results would add up at the start of the swimming sport at the BC Games.

For some reason the son of Anita and Graham Matthew didn’t bust his way off the starting blocks during the morning swims.

But that all changed when finals arrived.

“I wasn’t expecting a whole lot,” he said. “But I’ve always been a lot better final swimmer since my younger days. I thrive on the pressure of finals and just don’t like letting the swimmer in the next lane beat me.”

Matthew has been a mainstay at Nelson and District Aquatic Centre since he was five years of age when he joined the Nelson Neptunes Swim Team.

Last summer Matthew traveled to Castlegar to compete with the Aquanauts after the NDCC Pool was closed for renovations after some ceiling tiles dropped into the water.

In September 2013, Matthew decided to focus more attention on swimming and joined the winter swim club in the Silver City — Trail Regional Aquatic eXcellence (TRAX).

“My coach (Bill Park) told me do my best and not focus on time too much, instead focus on race do my best, working hard and let my talents show.”

The six-podium finishes in the pool for Matthew came with silver medals in 200-meter boys Individual Medley and 800-meter freestyle and bronze in 100 meter Breaststroke, 400-meter boys IM, 200-meter backstroke and 200-meter breaststroke.

“Definitely my best races are in the Individual Medley and Breaststroke events so I wanted to win those races,” said Matthew, who will not take time away from the pool to concentrate on training for his next love, cross country racing.

“In the 200 Breaststroke I got my age group national time. So that was good.”

The National age group Breaststroke time is something Matthew has been pushing toward most of the season, missing his goal by one-tenth in one race and two-tenths in another.

To qualify for the championships, swimmers must achieve at least three National times during the swim season.

“The National age group championships are in Winnipeg this year,” said Matthew, who admits to loving the competitve edge sports brings to him.

“Next year I hope to qualify as a 15-year old when the Championships are in Montreal. I’m looking forward to going there to compete.

“Plus Coldplay is my favourite band and I understand they’re supposed to be playing in Montreal next year at the same time I’m there swimming so that should help my focus.”

The Kootenays finished sixth overall in team standings at the BC Summer Games with 23 medals, meaning Matthew won one-quarter of the hardware for the zone.

Even though Matthew was unable to find a spot on the top of the podium, the 5’8” swimmer feels six medals is still a pretty good BC Games result.

“It was a honour to go up every time me name was called,” Matthew said. “I didn’t mind that (getting presented with a medal) at all.”

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