Upper St. Clair’s Josh Matheny captures 200 breaststroke gold at world championships

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Friday, August 23, 2019 | 12:01 AM


Josh Matheny is a world champion.

The Upper St. Clair junior placed first in the men’s 200-meter breaststroke Friday at the FINA World Junior (18 and under) Swimming Championships at the Danube Arena in Budapest Hungary.

Matheny, 16, swam to a time of 2 minutes, 9.40 seconds and took the top spot by 16 one-hundredths of a second over Japan’s Shoma Sato (2:09.56). The time is a meet record and only one one-hundredths of a second off the world junior record.

Japan’s Yuta Arai placed third (2:10.84).

Matheny came into the preliminaries seeded third.

He kicked off the five-day event Wednesday with a silver medal in the 100 breast finals. He swam to a personal best of 1:00.17 and improved his national 15-16 age-group record.

Russia’s Vladislav Gerasimenko was the only one better in the event with a winning time of 59.97.

Matheny followed up the silver with gold in the 400 mixed medley relay. He teamed with Will Grant, Torri Huske and Gretchen Walsh for a first-place time of 3:44.84.

The time is a new world junior record.

Matheny has a chance for additional medals as he next will compete in the 50 breast prelims Saturday morning at 3:30 a.m. EST.

He is seeded 11th. The semifinals are Saturday at 12:36 p.m., and the finals will be Sunday at 11:30 a.m.

Matheny caps his event schedule Sunday as a member of the 400 medley relay in the finals at 1:50 pm.

He is one of 45 boys and girls representing Team USA at the international meet.

Matheny, a two-time WPIAL and PIAA Class AAA champion in the 100 breast, set a National Federation of State High School Associations record (52.52) in the event at the PIAA championships at Bucknell University in March.

Matheny placed third in the men’s 200 (long-course) breaststroke (2: 11.02) and 12th in the 100 breast (1:00.91) at the Phillips 66 National Championships at Stanford University earlier this month.

Both times met 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials standards.

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

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