California high school swimmer Matthew Klotz has been named the 2013 Male Athlete of the Year by the USA Deaf Sports Federation: the official governing body for Deaf Sports in the United States, including the Deaflympics.
At last summer’s Deaflympics, Klotz, who is 17 and an unsigned high school senior, won three medals, specializing in the backstroke races where he broke the Deaf World Records in the 100 and 200 long course meters events. At the meet in Bulgaria, he was a 58.6 in the 100 and a 2:07.4 in the 200 meter backstroke races, which are both the fastest ever recorded by a deaf athlete.
Klotz makes the third-straight year where a swimmer has won this honor, after current USA Deaflympics swimming head coach Marcus Titus was the honoree in 2011 and 2012. Those two are expected to lead the Americans to an impressive haul at the 2013 Deaf International Short Course Swimming Championships in Rochester, New York and onto the 2017 Deaflympics as well.
Klotz, who was raised completely orally (in other words, he’s a phenomenal lip reader, speaks with no noticeable impairment), is building off of his explosive Deaflympics performances into a great short course season as well. Last weekend at the SN Davis Winter Invite, swimming for the Sierra Marlins, he swam his first U.S. Open cut of 1:47.86 in the 200 yard back, as well as a best time of 50.05 in the 100 yard back.
The women’s award went to tennis player Emily Hangstefer. Klotz’s older sister Stephanie swims at the University of Alabama.