Trib HSSN boys swimmer of the week for Dec. 19, 2019: Upper St. Clair’s Josh Matheny

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Thursday, December 19, 2019 | 5:46 PM


No record is safe when Josh Matheny is going after it.

The latest to fall at the hands of the Upper St. Clair junior was the men’s 200-yard breaststroke meet record at the Speedo Winter Junior Nationals last Saturday at Georgia Tech.

Representing Pittsburgh Elite Aquatics, Matheny swam to a time of 1 minute, 52.12 seconds, surpassing the previous record of 1:52.27 set in 2016 by Reece Whitley, currently a sophomore at Cal and the 2019 Pac 12 Men’s Swimming Freshman of the Year.

Matheny’s time, which won the event by more than two seconds, was a personal best by nearly three seconds.

For good measure, Matheny, the defending PIAA champion and National Federation of High Schools record holder in the 100 breast, added the title in that event (52.56) at Junior Nationals. It was a display of swimming that shows he is at the top of his craft as winter begins and the high school swimming season kicks into high gear.

“Right now, our planning and his training revolves around preparing for (June’s) Olympic Trials, so instead of WPIALs and states being the end of what he’s preparing for, it fits into the larger picture of what he also wants to accomplish this summer,” said Dave Schraven, Matheny’s coach at both Upper St. Clair and Pittsburgh Elite Aquatics.

“There are many opportunities to train and swim fast between now and then. It all works together. Josh is excited for what’s coming up and we’re all very excited for him.”

Matheny wrapped up the 2018-19 high school swimming season in grand fashion with his 100-breast swim at Bucknell University. He clocked a time of 52.52 in the finals, nearly three seconds clear of the field.

He then returned to the pool for the next event and helped the Panthers 400 free relay place sixth with a time of 3:07.21.

On day one at states, he placed fourth in the 200 IM and was a part of the state-champion 200 medley relay.

Matheny didn’t slow down in the offseason, and as the summer came to a close, he won two international gold medals, including one in the 200 breast, and two silvers at the FINA World Junior Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

He set a meet record in the 200 breast. A time of 2:09.40 put him among the top six swimmers in the nation and solidified a spot on the 2019-20 USA Swimming national team.

The honor gives him the opportunity to train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, something he plans to take advantage of for a few days before Easter in mid-April.

Matheny then put any speculation or discussion of his college plans to rest in October as he verbally committed to swim at defending Big Ten champion Indiana, a school known in recent years for producing some of the world’s leading breaststroke specialists.

“Josh is on track and progressing well for the Olympic Trials and also what is to come in the high school season,” Schraven said.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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