Matt Richards Breaks 22 For First Time in 50 Free; Lowers Own Welsh Record to 21.98



  • British Record: 21.11 – Ben Proud (2018)
  • World Championships Qualification Cut: 21.57


  1. Ben Proud – 21.71
  2. Lewis Burras – 21.92
  3. Matt Richards – 21.98

On Day 5 of the 2023 British Championships, Matt Richards continued his strong meet with a third place finish and Welsh record in the men’s 50m freestyle. Earlier in the meet, the 20-year-old posted a then-world leading 47.72 100m freestyle in prelims, before taking third behind Lewis Burras and Duncan Scott. (Since then, David Popovici has swum a 47.61 to overtake Richards in the World Rankings).

In the 50 free, Richards took third in 21.98. It’s the first time in his career that he’s broken the 22 second barrier; his previous lifetime best was 22.38 from the 2022 European Championships, which tied him for 19th at the meet. That time was also the previous Welsh Record, which he reset resoundingly with this swim.

Richards owns three Welsh records: the 50, 100, 200 freestyles.

Additionally, 21.98 vaults him up the all-time British rankings to fifth, behind Proud, Burras, Adam Brown, and Mark Foster.

All-Time British Performers, Men’s LCM 50 Free:

  1. Ben Proud — 21.11 (2018)
  2. Lewis Burras — 21.68 (2022)
  3. Adam Brown — 21.92 (2013)
  4. Mark Foster — 21.96 (2008)
  5. Matt Richards — 21.98 (2023)

After 2022 LC Worlds in Budapest, Richards switched training bases, and is now training under Ryan Livingstone with the Millfield Performance Squad. He’s had strong signs of encouragement since making the move. In addition to his then-personal best 50 free and his fastest rolling start 100 free at Euros, he posted three SCM lifetime bests in November.

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About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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