The teenage swimmer who trained in a paddling pool! Matt Richards, 18, battles through frigid temperatures and boredom in a three-foot-deep pool to claim a dream ticket to Tokyo
- Matt Richards takes on the world’s fastest swimmers in the 100m freestyle
- The 18-year-old managed to keep swimming through the lockdown last year
- He attached a harness to a bungee rope and swam for two hours a day
Matt Richards managed to swim through the lockdown last year – without leaving his backyard.
Facing 10 weeks out of the water, the teenager spent £1,000 on a king-size paddling pool he bought on the internet and set up on his lawn.
The 18-year-old attached a bungee rope to a hook in his garage, attached to a harness and swam for two hours a day in what he described as “a swimming treadmill.”
Matt Richards is ready to take on the world’s fastest swimmers in the 100m freestyle
His reward for battling through frigid temperatures and boredom in his 5 x 3 meter deep one meter pool was two Welsh records and a dream ticket to Tokyo to beat the world’s fastest swimmers in the 100 meter freestyle.
“When the lockdown was announced, I had to go to the Midlands from my training base in Bath. When I heard I wouldn’t be able to train in the water I thought I was going to go crazy,” said Richards, European Junior 100 freestyle champion.
“I went online and found what was essentially a huge paddling pool and put it outside the garage in my backyard.
The 18-year-old managed to keep swimming through the lockdown last year
“I attached a bungee rope to the garage wall and tied it at the other end to a harness I wore in the paddling pool. After that, I spent hours every day in stationary swimming.
“It was essentially a swimming treadmill, but that’s how I got through the first 10 weeks after we got out of the pool.
“It allowed me to maintain my sense of the water, kept me fit and, from a psychological point of view, helped me stay healthy.”