Under Fatigue, Olympic Champ Matt Richards Swims 3 PBs at Regional Championship

2022 Swim England South West Regional Championships

  • November 4-6, 2022
  • 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.

Richards’ Results:

SW Champs Previous PB Time Drop
50m free 21.54 21.38
100m free 46.58 (Welsh Record) 46.84 -.26
200m free 1:43.76 1:43.11
50m fly 23.05 (Welsh Record) 23.07 -.02
100m fly 52.45 53.92 -1.47

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.

2022-2023 SCM Men 100 Free

ROU45.64 WJR12/15
View Top 26»

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.


Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

In 2019 the 16 year-old Matthew Richards had impressive displays both in LC (48.88 and 1.47.23 at EuroChamps in July) and in SC (21.38 in the 50 free, 46.84 in the 100 free, 1.43.64 in the 200 free, 23.27 in the 50 fly at Ontario Junior International in December). This one is a very promising beginning of the season, after two years of “ups and downs”.

1 year ago

Was there an article of Grousset’s 45.61!? This is the first I’ve seen of it. That’s super impressive.

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

Grousset’s was the more title worthy swim and would’ve drawn more clicks.

Reply to  Troyy
1 year ago

Yeah that’s the second fastest time of the year in the men’s blue ribbon event. Would have expected an article just for that swim.

Obese Legend
Reply to  Sub13
1 year ago

Grousset 45.6 deserves more articles than Popovici 46.6.

1 year ago

Never did I expect to see an article on the sw winter champs regardless of the swimmer of interest

Last edited 1 year ago by Swimmerfromjapananduk
Scuncan Dott
1 year ago

GB really need him to get back to that 1:45.0 or better relay split in the 200 Free

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. 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, …

Read More »