INTRODUCING ... MATT WYLIE
WHAT/WHO INSPIRED YOU TO TAKE UP SWIMMING COMPETITIVELY?
I began swimming after a serious leg injury at the age of 9. I had a bone tumour which led to a fracture in my femur. Due to extensive surgery I was required to participate in hydro therapy which is a bit like walking around in a swimming pool. After this I was encouraged to start swimming, so I joined a club and began swimming a few times a week. It wasn’t until I watched the Paralympic games on TV in Beijing that I knew this was something I wanted to do in my life.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?
I love racing, but more importantly I love winning. My biggest motivation is thinking about all of my competitors all around the world and thinking everyday how can I beat them. What can I do today that is better than what they are doing, that they aren’t prepared to do. This mind set provides me with daily motivation as well as a competitive edge.
WHY DO YOU FIND SWIMMING SO ENJOYABLE?
I love all aspects of my swimming, both training and racing. In particular I love the lifestyle it allows me to enjoy. I travel the world training and racing. I love the sensation of swimming quickly through the water, feeling the water rush past as I propel myself.
WHAT IS YOUR TRAINING REGIME LIKE?
I swim 9 times a week in the pool. This includes weekdays every night as well as 4 early mornings. In addition to this I do four gyms sessions a week. All of my training is based at the Sunderland Aquatic Centre.
HOW DO YOU RELAX WHEN YOU’RE NOT TRAINING?
Outside the pool I enjoy being a normal teenager; playing online or going out with my friends. I am also studying a distance learning degree in law at Northumbria University. I really enjoy the topic so I find it easy reading and doing research for my degree.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE STROKE?
My favourite stroke is freestyle. Like most swimmers I love the feeling of moving quickly through the water and for me freestyle is the quickest way of swimming. This leads on to my favourite event being the 50m free; short, fast with close finishes.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SWIMMING ACHIEVEMENT?
My biggest achievement in swimming is my Paralympic Gold medal and title. A gold medal at the Paralympics is the highest accolade a para swimmer can achieve.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN SWIMMING?
I have been quite lucky in my sport to have never suffered any serious injury. So for me my biggest challenge in swimming came in 2015. After qualifying for my first major championships the year before, I failed to qualify for the World Championships. For me this was a big blow and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stay in the sport as I felt like I was regressing rather than improving.
WHAT DID IT FEEL LIKE TO COMPETE IN THE PARALYMPICS?
Competing at the Paralympic games for Great Britain was the most fantastic experience I have had to opportunity to do. The whole games environment; living in an athletes’ village, eating in the food hall, racing in the aquatics centre. There is a general buzz around the whole event. Racing in the Aquatic Centre with thousands of spectators was equally terrifying and exciting.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST SWIMMING MOMENT TO DATE?
I remember swimming at trials for the Paralympic games, standing on the block and thinking of the work I had put in to what I was about to. Seven years of hard work with my coach Danny Thompson were all coming down to this. The next thing I remember was touching the wall and seeing Danny’s face on pool side, sharing a mutual moment of relief and happiness. That is the moment I am most proud of as it wasn’t just about me; it was the work that Danny and I had put in collectively.
WHO IS YOUR SPORTING HERO & WHY?
My sporting hero is a guy called Matt Cowdry. He won the S9 50m Free in London, the event I won in Rio. He remains one of the most decorated Paralympic athletes of all time. I never had the opportunity to race him as he retired in 2014.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD & DRINK?
My favourite food in training is natural yoghurt as it’s a great source of protein and I can eat it by the tub. In my time off I really enjoy food from Asia with my favourite being honey chilli chicken and rice. I also love drinking coffee and for Christmas this year I got my own coffee machine.
WHO WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO MEET & WHY?
I would most like to meet my favourite actor, Matthew Grey Gubbler. He is most famous for his portrayal of Dr Spencer Reid in Criminal Minds and even directs some of the episodes. I have seen almost all of the films he is in, including Alvin and the Chipmunks. Matt is quirky, laid back and always has interesting stories to tell in interviews.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MARU SWIMWEAR DESIGN?
My favourite Swimwear design is the Nightlight Pacer Trainers. I love bright colours on my training costumes.
Introducing Matt Wylie: February 1st, 2018 by Matt Wylie