SWIMMING: It's all gold for magic Matthew

This Is Wiltshire: Matthew Hardick Matthew Hardick

CHIPPENHAM swimmer Matthew Hardick just ‘dozen’t’ know when to stop winning after sweeping the board at the Wiltshire Age Group Championships with a stunning 12 golds in 12 events.

The 11-year-old, who is a pupil at Hardenhuish School, won ten events at last year’s county competition but bettered that feat over two weekends this month, winning five golds and setting a new county record of 39.69 seconds for the 50m breaststroke on March 9 at Swindon’s Link Centre.

Then, last Saturday and Sunday, Hardick added to his haul by winning a further seven events, setting another Wiltshire breaststroke record of 2:53.94 in the 200m along the way.

The youngster, who trains with Chippenham Amateur Swimming Club and Bath’s Aquae Sulis performance club, was delighted with his flawless county championship performance.

“I’ve worked really hard for them and I knew I could do well again but it was even better than I expected,” said Hardick, who finished 180 points ahead of his nearest competitor in the overall 11-year-old boys’ standings.

“I was really nervous before the last race (the 50m butterfly) and I was up against a guy who was beating me for time but I managed to win by less than a second – I’m really proud.”

Hardick’s show-stopping performances in Swindon earned him a second successive appearance at this year’s South West Age Group Championships.

He won three bronzes and a silver at last year’s regional competition. He said: “I was in the 10-11 age group last year and I was one of the younger ones, so this year, hopefully I can do a lot better.”

Elsewhere at the Wiltshire championships, Chippenham’s Benjamin Birkett, 13, won bronze and was eighth in the age group points table.

Nine-year-old Katherine Butcher took two bronzes and Amy Gibbons, 10, another.

Butcher was seventh in her age group points table, Gibbons sixth and Ella Parker (10) 13th.

Matthew Hardick’s Wiltshire Age Group Championships medals:

  • 50, 200 & 400m freestyle
  • 50 & 200m backstroke
  • 50* & 200m breaststroke*
  • 50 & 200m butterfly
  • 100, 200 & 400m individual medley

(*new county records)

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