Matt Richards Named British Swimming Athlete Of The Year Following Double Gold In Fukuoka

Matt Richards Named British Swimming Athlete Of The Year Following Double Gold In Fukuoka

Matt Richards has been named British Swimming Athlete of the Year with Ryan Livingstone winning the coaches’ award after guiding the Millfield swimmer to the 200 free title at the World Championships.

The 20-year-old led home Olympic champion Tom Dean for a British 1-2 in Fukuoka, Japan, in July before the pair joined forces with James Guy and Duncan Scott to claim the 4×200 free title, two years after gold at the Tokyo Games.

With victory in a Welsh record of 1:44.30, Richards became the second Briton to win the event eight years after Guy claimed gold at Kazan 2015.

The Welsh swimmer moved to Millfield after spending time at Bath National Centre with Jol Finck and latterly Dave McNulty after the former returned to Australia.

Despite training alongside the likes of Guy and Dean, Richards’ performances fell short of of previous years and he made the big switch between the 2022 World Championships and Commonwealth Games weeks later.

He served notice in April when he became the first man to hit a freestyle treble of 21/47/1:44 at the British trials in Sheffield.

Then on to Fukuoka where he paid tribute to Livingstone, words he echoed after the awards night, saying:

“I’m over the moon. It’s been a great year – this wasn’t the goal at the start of the season, but obviously I’m super happy to walk away with this. It’s a testament to my team, Ryan [Livingstone] and the rest of guys at Millfield and the hard work we’ve all put in. Hopefully we can just continue to improve and build now and have an even better one next year.

“It was my first individual gold on a senior level, so obviously that was massive. There were lots of things that didn’t quite go right – the 100m wasn’t necessarily where I wanted it to be, but getting the British record was still a big win. We’ve got so much momentum now, I’ve got a lot of confidence going into this year and I’m really excited to see what we can do in Paris.”

Matthew Ward was named Swimming Emerging Athlete of the Year after winning bronze in the 50 and 100 back at the European Junior Championships in Belgrade, Serbia.

Ward also led off the mixed medley relay that won silver.

Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix and Lois Toulson were jointly crowned Diving Athlete of the Year, with the pair having taken a historic silver as a synchro duo in the women’s 10m Synchro in Fukuoka, the first female diving medal for Britain at a World Championships.

Maisie Summers-Newton became Para-Swimming Athlete of the Year before being named the British Swimming Champion Athlete of the Year.

Summers-Newton – who defended her SM6 200IM and SB6 100m breaststroke titles at the Para Swimming World Championships in August – collected the Maurice Watkins Champion Athlete Award to join the likes of Adam Peaty, Jack Laugher, Alice Tai and Tom Dean.





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