Matthew Klotz Breaks Deaf American Record in 50 Yard Free


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American swimmer Matthew Klotz, swimming as a redshirt freshman at LSU, has broken the American Deaf Record in the 50 yard freestyle. The newest mark brings him up to 11 total American Deaf Records.

Swimming at the Art Adamson Invitational in Mansfield, Texas on Thursday, Klotz swam a 20.36 that improved upon Marcus Titus’ old record of 20.47 that was swum at the 2014 Texas Swimming & Diving Hall of Fame Invitational. Neither Titus or Klotz, two of the most accomplished American deaf swimmers in history, are primarily freestylers, with Titus focusing mostly on breaststroke (he was 8th at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 100 breast) and Klotz  is primarily a backstroker (he’s a multi-time World and Deaflympics champion).

Klotz, swimming on LSU’s second-best free relay, split 19.73 on a rolling start earlier in the session. That’s within striking distance of putting him on the Tigers’ ‘A” relay, which could wind up with 3 freshmen by season’s end.

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Great swimming Matthew!
5 years ago

Well “deaf” is usually not completely deaf and I know a few top swimmers that wear hearing aids when not in the pool (but if you try talking to them they have difficulty…) May be able to read lips. May hear the buzzer…It’s a fact they get WAY more tired than normal hearing people because they have to spend more energy on deck focusing on lip reading of their coach and peers. Fatigue is a HUGE issue.
That said,as a matter of pride some, if already at the An elite level, would not want records that place them in a different category. Because whether they have a disability or not, some are amazing swimmers that can compete for the… Read more »

Bill Snape
5 years ago

Let me explain briefly what the deal is. First, a deaf swimmer can hear no instructions, no announcements, no nothing leading up to the actual start. Second, yes he/she can see the starting light but must crane their neck to see it (unlike a hearing swimmer), a problem particularly acute in backstroke. Third, officials make mistakes with hand signals and multi-tasking with deaf swimmers all the time, usually at great expense of the swimmer. Fourth, deaf culture likes to celebrate deaf records, particularly given 1-3. Hope this helps you understand. I’m not even getting into some of the socialization and developmental issues deaf youngsters have to contend with in school, athletics and the like throughout their early years (struggles that… Read more »

5 years ago

Can someone explain to me why we have separate records for deaf people? It’s my understanding that they go off of visual cues for the start. But the human body responds faster to visual stimuli regardless. In fact, timers are told to hit the start button based on a visual cue in order to be more accurate so I don’t see how deaf athletes have any disadvantages in a race.

Reply to  Markster
5 years ago

It’s a disability.

Reply to  Markster
5 years ago

I agree. I dont see how it would make you swim any slower.

Reply to  Markster
5 years ago

The way it’s been explained to me is that it is more about the training than it is about the actually racing. It is a lot harder for a coach to communicate to a deaf swimmer.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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