Swimming World Presents – Josh Matheny: Rising Star

Swimming World June 2021 - Josh Matheny - Rising Star
Matheny at Jr. World Championships [Photo by FINA/Budapest 2019]

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Josh Matheny: Rising Star

By Matthew De George

From a middle-schooler newly committed to swimming full-time in 2016, the future looks encouraging for 18-year-old Josh Matheny, who approaches the U.S. Olympic Trials for Tokyo in June as a dark horse to make the team in men’s breaststroke.

Josh Matheny had prepared physically for the holiday burst of training last December, with school on break and two-a-days on the docket. He was less ready for the logistical ordeal of finding somewhere to work out, even as the “roller coaster” of 2020 had deposited so many challenges in his way.

As restrictions in Pennsylvania ramped up to curb a rise in COVID-19 cases, Matheny was on the road as much as in the water, getting creative to find open pools. With Pittsburgh Elite Aquatics training partner Nico Butera, he attended open swims at SPIRE Institute in Ohio, renting an Airbnb to do doubles—at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.—for a week.

The next week, Matheny commuted a little over an hour each way to Morgantown to swim at the University of West Virginia. He and Butera rang in the New Year with Luke Barr, Matheny’s future University of Indiana teammate, who is from Nebraska and has family in Arizona. Together with a group of five others, they headed west for a true training escape.

“I’ve been pretty much everywhere just to get as much training as possible,” Matheny said. “It’s been a wild ride.”

A LEVEL-HEADED APPROACH
Matheny’s multi-year ride has vaulted him into the upper echelons of American swimming. As the one-year postponement of the Games has pushed many established names in the breaststroke field deeper into their late 20s, it’s only benefited the high school senior’s maturation.

Matheny’s gains in the pool are built on a level-headed approach out of the pool—one that comes from being relatively new to swimming. Until he was in middle school, swimming was just one of the sports he participated in, along with lacrosse and hockey. Aquatic talent runs in the family—older sister Abby Matheny swims at Williams College—but Josh was allowed to discover the sport for himself.
His athleticism on dry land and the competitive drive from team sports continues to serve him.

“I didn’t think I needed to be laser-focused on swimming because I think that would’ve led to a burnout relatively quickly,” Matheny said. “It helped me fall in love with swimming because I got to experience all these different types of sports and realize that swimming was the sport for me instead of being forced into it when I was little.”

The love informs a dogged training approach. Dave Schraven has coached Matheny since he was 9 years old, through Upper St. Clair Swim Club, then Pittsburgh Elite Aquatics and Upper St. Clair High School. He’s witnessed the rapid benefits Matheny has reaped in his teens, going from a 13-year-old few had heard of to a national name by 15.

“I think it makes him more focused on swimming now because he wasn’t just living swimming since he was 8,” Schraven said. “It makes him fresher. And if you consider the sports of lacrosse and hockey, there’s a toughness element to the sports, which I think is helpful.”
“He’s just athletic at everything he does…except basketball. I will say that one,” said Butera, a Wisconsin signee. “But he’s just a natural athlete, and he brings that athletic mentality to the pool every day.”

 

To read more about Josh Matheny’s path to Trials…and Tokyo,
Click here to download the full May 2021 issue of Swimming World Magazine, available now!

TSwimming World June 2021 - King 15 - Eddie Reese Retires After Leading Texas To 15th NCAA Championship
[PHOTO CREDIT: ISHOF ARCHIVE]


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Swimming World May 2021 Issue

FEATURES

014 WOMEN’S NCAAs: A NEW NO. 1
For the first time in the history of the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships—since 1982—the University of Virginia finished first. It was also the first time it cracked the top 5 with its previous highest finish sixth in 2019.

  • VIRGINIA’S ROAD TO HISTORY
    by Dan D’Addona
  • NC STATE ADDS TO ACC DOMINANCE
    by Dan D’Addona
  • THE TALK OF THE MEET: MAGGIE MacNEIL
    by John Lohn

018 MEN’S NCAAs: THE PERFECT RETIREMENT GIFT
Days before their coach, Eddie Reese, officially announced his retirement from coaching after 43 years, the Texas men’s team won their 15th men’s NCAA national team championship.

  • THIS ONE’S FOR EDDIE!
    by Andy Ross
  • SCINTILLATING PERFORMANCES: SHAINE CASAS & RYAN HOFFER
    by John Lohn
  • PATIENCE REWARDED: MAX McHUGH & NICK ALBIERO
    by Andy Ross

022 NCAA D-II CHAMPS: SOME THINGS NEVER SEEM TO CHANGE
by Andy Ross
A year into the pandemic that has completely changed our world, Queens University of Charlotte brought about some stability to the 2021 NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championships by sweeping their sixth straight women’s and men’s team titles.

023 NO LIMITS!
by David Rieder
Claire Curzan has been swimming fast since she was a young age grouper and has continued to do so in high school. Last March, she came within 13-hundredths of the American record in the short course 100 fly, and in April, she found herself within 22-hundredths of the long course U.S. best. She’s versatile, she’s coachable, she has international experience, and she’s moved from a fringe Olympic contender to an Olympic favorite. Curzan is only 16, and her promising future couldn’t be brighter.

026 TAKEOFF TO TOKYO: WHEN IRISH EYES WEREN’T SMILING
by John Lohn
Ireland’s Michelle Smith—a four-time Olympic medalist in 1996 who received a four-year ban from the sport in 1998 for tampering with a doping sample—has been defined as being a poster girl for cheating, and by her willingness to cut corners and take advantage of performance-enhancing drug use to make the leap from an athlete of very-good skill to one of elite status.

029 50 SWIMMERS, 6 MEDALS
by Dan D’Addona
The Tokyo Olympics will mark the fourth occasion that open water swimming will be contested on the Olympic level, and even a 10-kilometer marathon race can bring exciting moments and dramatic finishes.

030 JOSH MATHENY: RISING STAR
by Matthew De George
From a middle-schooler newly committed to swimming full-time in 2016, the future looks encouraging for 18-year-old Josh Matheny, who approaches the U.S. Olympic Trials for Tokyo in June as a dark horse to make the team in men’s breaststroke.

032 ISHOF: THE ART OF SWIMMING
by Bruce Wigo
This is the story of Hero and Leander, Lord Byron and the birth of open water swimming.

035 NUTRITION: HYDRATION—BEYOND THIRST!
by Dawn Weatherwax
Hydration truly has a daily importance for all kinds of swimmers from age groupers to Olympians to Masters swimmers, but it tends to get more notoriety when the weather gets warmer.

COACHING

012 THE POWER OF POSITIVE COACHING
by Michael J. Stott
Relationships built upon honesty, trust and communication go a long way toward cementing a bond between coach and athlete. Coupling that with knowledge of the individual first and athlete second produces a positive working relationship that can last for a lifetime.

038 SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: MAXIMIZING SWIMMING VELOCITY (Part 1)—STROKE RATE vs. STROKE LENGTH
by Rod Havriluk
Swimming velocity is the criterion measure for swimming performance and is the product of stroke length and stroke rate. This article explains how stroke length and stroke rate vary and how stroke time provides insight into maximizing swimming velocity.

042 Q&A WITH COACH STEVE HAUFLER
by Michael J. Stott

044 HOW THEY TRAIN CHARLOTTE SHAMIA
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

037 DRYSIDE TRAINING: THE IM DRYLAND CIRCUIT
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

047 UP & COMERS: TEAGAN O’DELL
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS

008 A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

011 DID YOU KNOW: ABOUT THE MOREHOUSE TIGER SHARKS?

046 THE OFFICIAL WORD

048 GUTTERTALK

Swimming World is now partnered with the International Swimming Hall of Fame. To find out more, visit us at ishof.org

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