Josh Matheny is a competitive swimmer who represents the United States internationally. Matheny first appeared on SwimSwam in July 2014, when as an 11-year-old he went 2:53.37 in the 200m breast – 30.5 seconds faster than he had gone 1 year prior.
Matheny continued to turn heads at the 2019 Pennsylvania AAA state championship meet, where he broke Brendan Hansen’s 19-year-old meet record in the 100 breast by over 1 second, clocking a 52.52 to break the old record of 53.67.
Matheny didn’t stop there, making great improvements through the summer of 2019, earning him the #4 rank in SwimSwam’s Way Too Early NCAA Recruit Rankings Boys’ Class of 2021.
2018 Junior National Championships – East
Jr nationals was a breakout meet for Matheny, where to took wins in the 100 and 200 breast. In the 100, he touched 1st in a time of 52.89, while in the 200 he touched at 1:55.27. He also placed 21st in the 200 IM, finishing in 1:50.32 after a 1:49.94 prelims showing.
2019 National Championships
At the 2019 nationals, Matheny placed 12th in the 100 breast (1:00.91) and 3rd in the 200 breast (2:11.02), the latter of which broke Reece Whitley’s 15-16 NAG (who coincidently won the event). These finishes qualified Matheny to swim the 50/100/200 breast individually at the 2019 World Junior Championships.
2019 World Junior Championships
Matheny wasted no time in Budapest, registering a best time as well as breaking Michael Andrew’s 15-16 NAG in the 100 breast prelims. Matheny touched in 1:00.66, just touching out Andrew’s old record of 1:00.68. In the first of 2 semi finals, Matheny touched 1st, lowering the NAG once again in a time of 1:00.32.
In finals, Matheny once again lowered his NAG, touching at 1:00.17 to earn a silver medal. Later in that same session, Matheny split 59.31 on the mixed medley relay to help Team USA to not only a gold in the event, but a world record as well.
Matheny kept his momentum going in the 200 breast, capturing a come-from-behind victory with a huge lifetime best of 2:09.40, just .16 ahead of 2nd place. That breaks his own 15-16 NAG in the event as well.
Matheny finished on the last day of competition, first earning 4th in the 50 breast with a personal best of 27.92. He finished with a silver in the 4×100 medley relay, splitting 59.55 on the breaststroke leg.
2019 Swammy Awards
For his accomplishments in 2019, Matheny earned the Age Group Swimmer of the Year (15-16) Swammy Award.
2020 Swammy Awards
Of the four 17-18 NAG Records that were broken in 2020, only one was swum by an age-grouper; the other three performances came from 18-year-old college students David Johnston (University of Texas, 1000y free), Luca Urlando (University of Georgia, 200y fly), and Carson Foster (University of Texas, 400y IM). Matheny took just over 7/10 off his personal best time in the 200y breast at 18&U Winter Championships in Carlisle, PA to win in 1:51.35. That was .05 under the NAG mark set by Reece Whitley in 2017.
For this performance, Matheny earned the 2020 Swammy Award for 17-18 Male of the Year.
2023 U.S. International Team Trials (Indianapolis, Indiana)
In the 200 breast prelims, Matheny bested his seed time with a solid 2:09.34 to qualify 1.15 seconds back of Matt Fallon. In the final, Matheny was second at the 50 and stayed near the front of the field for the rest of the race but was passed by Fallon’s signature back half. He posted a best time of 2:08.32 for 2nd in the final. The swim qualifies him for his first senior international meet.
While he did not swim a PB in the 100 breast prelims as he did in the 200, Matheny set himself up well with a 1:00.15 for 3rd in sleepy prelims that raised concerns that a 2nd swimmer couldn’t hit an A cut behind Nic Fink. In the finals, Matheny lit up with 27.86 on the 1st 50 but found himself in 3rd. He powered home over the second 50 to go a new best time of 59.20 and earn a second event in Fukuoka behind Nic Fink’s 58.36.
2023 World Aquatics Championships (Fukuoka, Japan)
For his first senior international meet, Matheny managed a tight double taper and long meet solidly. In the 100 breast, Matheny was just off his best with a 59.40 for 6th in prelims. He tied his best time in the semis with a 59.20 to stay 6th. In the final, he was 7th in 59.45. In the 400 mixed medley prelims, Matheny had a fantastic 58.45 breast split but nearly brought about disaster with a -.01 reaction time on his exchange. In the finals, the US took bronze.
Matheney was a little further off his best form in the 200 breast but was still good enough to qualify for the final. He was 2:09.90 in prelims for 6th and 2:09.94 in semis for the same place. In the final, Matheny was 8th in 2:10.41 while his best time from trials would have netted him 5th. To wrap his meet, Matheny was 59.12 on the prelims 400 medley relay that earned gold in the final.