Matthew set to take on the world

Swimmer Matthew Johnson with his medals from the European Youth Olympic Festival. (d02081102)
Swimmer Matthew Johnson with his medals from the European Youth Olympic Festival. (d02081102)
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MATTHEW Johnson has a golden glow as he prepares to take on the world after conquering Europe’s best in the pool.

The 16-year-old swimmer from Dewsbury completed a 100 per cent gold medal record in the individual races with the Great Britain team at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Trabzon, Turkey last week.

He won gold in the 200m butterfly and 400m freestyle in new British age group records plus the 400m individual Medley in another record time. He also took gold in the 200m individual medley.

Matthew, was also part of the GB relay teams who won silver in the 4x100m and 4x200m races.

It has been non-stop for Matthew as he returned to Dewsbury from Turkey late on Saturday and on Sunday was back in his home pool, Ponds Forge at Sheffield, to take part in the National Youth Championships and win a record breaking 43rd national title.

Matthew swam in the 400m individual medley and not only did he strike gold again he also smashed the record he had set the previous week in Turkey. He finished in a time of four minutes 20.87 seconds, beating his nearest rivals by nine seconds.

This week it has been back in the pool again for Matthew as he prepares for his big challenge of this season – the World Junior Championships in Peru. He flies out next Thursday to Lima where he will acclimatise before taking part in the event between August 16 and 23.

When he returns he will have a week at home to train for the Commonwealth Youth Games on the Isle of Man early in September.

The travelling, the training and the competitions this year have not only been rewarded with medals and records but they have got him noticed among the sport’s elite.

Earlier this year Matthew was included in the list of potential swimmers in the London 2012 Olympic Games. It will be his main focus next year, starting with the first Olympic trials at the Games’ aquatic centre in London in March and the second trials at Sheffield in June.

Another goal for Matthew next year is to qualify for the European Junior Championships.