Matthew looking to beat nerves in Steel City
NEATH disability swimmer Matthew Thorne admits he faces a battle with nerves as much as his rivals on his Sainsbury's School Games debut — but is vowing to defeat both in Sheffield.
The 14-year-old is set to take to the Ponds Forge pool in both the 50m and 100m freestyle at the Games, which will see 1,600 athletes compete across 12 different sports.
Matthew is no stranger to Ponds Forge having competed at the exact same venue at the start of March for the National Junior and Youth Disability Swimming Championships.
And Matthew, who attends Cefn Saeson Comprehensive School, is determined to overcome ongoing nerves in Sheffield and leave his maiden School Games with a medal to declare.
"Hopefully I will win a medal in my events — doing that would really top my season off and put me in a good position heading into next year," he said.
"I'm really excited to take part as it will be a new experience for me. It is a big competition and I'm looking forward to the atmosphere and to be racing as part of a team.
"The start of my race still needs improving. I wish I wouldn't get so nervous before a race when I'm standing on the blocks as I think this makes my start weaker."
Matthew clocked a time of 1:38.29 minutes for the 100m freestyle at the National Junior and Youth Disability Swimming Championships in Sheffield at the start of March.
And the Neath teenager is determined to show improvement on his return to the Steel City as he seeks a place on the British senior team in the future.
"My main goal is to feature on the GB team which I know is possible. I need to carry on training hard and do my best in future competitions," he added.
"Some of the Paralympic swimmers train at the National Pool in Swansea and whenever I have been there I always find watching them incredibly inspiring and this motivates me to push harder."
The Sainsbury's 2013 School Games, which is supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England and delivered by the Youth Sport Trust, takes place in Sheffield from 12-15 September 2013. Visit www.2013schoolgames.com for more information.