2022 Swim England South West Regional Championships
- November 4-6, 2011
- Millfield School, Somerset, England
- Short Course Meters (25 meter), Prelims/Finals
- Full Meet Results (PDF)
19-year old British Olympian Matt Richards raced his first meet of the new season last weekend, and wasted no time flexing the results of his new training.
Richards swam three new lifetime bests at the South West Regional Championships, including breaking two Welsh Records. The event was held in short course meters and hosted by Richards’ new training ground at the Millfield School.
|SW Champs||Previous PB||Time Drop|
|100m free||46.58 (Welsh Record)||46.84||-.26|
|50m fly||23.05 (Welsh Record)||23.07||-.02|
Of the swims, the one that stands out especially is the 100 meter freestyle. That clears a best time that he swam in 2019 and is six-tenths better than he was at his most recent short course meet, December’s Short Course World Championships. There, he swam the leadoff leg for Britain’s prelims 400 free relay in a 47.49 split, and anchored in finals in 47.67.
The time ranks Richards 10th in the world in the new short course season so far, one spot ahead of the new long course World Record holder David Popovici of Romania.
Richards has been training under Ryan Livingstone with the Millfield Performance Squad since the 2022 World Championships in Budapest (long course). At that meet, he finished 30th in the 200 free (1:48.74) and split 48.19 on the 3rd leg of a national record-setting and 4th-place British 400 free relay. He also swam a 47.99 in prelims of that relay, also on a rolling start, and a 1:48.21 on a prelims 800 free relay before being swapped out in the final.
He was still short of his best times in most races at the Commonwealth Games and European Championships, but a new personal record of 22.38 in the 50 free at Euros and a rolling-start 47.49 in the 100 free at the Commonwealth Games showed signs of getting back on track.
Prior to Millfield, he trained from September 2020 to September 2021 at Bath under Jol Finck, and then from September 2021 through long course Worlds under Dave McNulty (also at Bath).
Richards says that while swimming nine races in two days was “hectic,” there was a purpose.
“We were heavily focussing on delivering new technical improvements under pressure and fatigue,” Richards told SwimSwam. “We deliberately did a pretty hectic schedule (9 races in 2 days) with the aim of putting my body under as much stress and pressure as possible to really challenge the new technical improvements.
“We had an incredibly hard 2-week block of training leading into the meet, probably the hardest 2 weeks I’ve ever had, and so we weren’t expecting much in terms of results, so (we) were pleasantly surprised by the outcome of some of the races.
The plan is of course to go faster next month where I’ll be racing both English and Scottish short course champs with somewhat of a rest (not a full taper but a bit of a wind down before racing) heading into them.”
Richards was not selected for the 11-swimmer British team for December’s Short Course World Championships in Australia. That group does not include an obvious men’s 800 free relay, though the 200 and 400 free and medley relays are strong.
Richards won an Olympic gold medal on the British 800 free relay in Tokyo. He swam a finals #3 leg of 1:45.01 as the team broke the European Record en route to gold.