Matt Richards closed out the 2022 short course season in record-breaking style as his stunning form continued at the Scottish National Short Course Championships.
The 19-year-old claimed a haul of four gold medals, a silver and a Welsh record to boot on another impressive weekend at Edinburgh’s Royal Commonwealth Pool.
On day one, the Olympic gold medallist triumphed in the 100m Freestyle a week on from his British record performance in Sheffield. The Millfield athlete produced a time of 46.75 to top the podium, going 22.31 on the way out and 24.44 on the way home to earn the only sub-47 second time of the field.
More success followed on Sunday as Richards claimed a hat-trick of victories and a 100 Fly Welsh record.
First, he punched a time of 1:41.70 to top the men’s 200m free podium, beating runner-up Jack McMillan of Ireland to the wall, just two tenths of a second off the season’s best he posted the week before.
Next for Richards was the men’s 100m fly where the teen put up a winning effort of 50.86 to clinch gold and set a new Welsh all-time standard.
After breaking the nine-year-old record in the heats with a time of 51.29, he shaved another four tenths of a second off that time to become the first Welshman to go sub-51 in the event. He earned more Fly success in the 50m event, where he earned silver with a time of 23.15.
Finally, Richards concluded his Scottish Championships performances with a victory in the 50m free, posting 21.53. He currently ranks 9th in the world with the 21.11 he registered at the Swim England Winter Championships.
There was also distance success for Kieran Bird, who claimed a silver medal in the 800m Freestyle in a time of 7:37.95 – just a second and a half outside the Welsh record set by David Davies back in 2009. He also clinched third in the 200m A Final in a time of 1:44.55.
It was a fantastic meet for Sterling University’s Zach Speakman, who struck gold in the 50m Backstroke with a fantastic swim, touching the wall in 24.05. He also qualified for the 100m and 200m Back where he finished fifth in both events.
Hector Pardoe impressed in a strong 1500m final, finishing fifth, while Tom Carswell narrowly missed out on a 100m Freestyle medal as he finished fourth in a time of 53.44.
The Swim Wales Winter Championships round off the domestic short course season this weekend. You can catch every race live across our Facebook and YouTube channels.