Upper St. Clair’s Matheny a candidate for USA Swimming’s national junior team
Upper St. Clair swimmer Joshua Matheny is taking the next step after winning at the Junior National Championships recently in California.
Matheny, who will be a sophomore, is a candidate for the 2018 Men’s National Junior Team that USA Swimming will select on Sept. 3.
Designed to strengthen future Olympic teams, the squad will represent the U.S. in international competition through next August. It will consist of 26 to 40 members 18 years old or younger.
Matheny, 15, said his victory in the men’s 100 long-course meter breaststroke does not feel real.
″(It was) quite a surprise,” he said. “I wanted to win, (but) wasn’t expecting it.”
Seeded ninth, Matheny gained confidence after winning in the first round (1 minute, 1.98 seconds).
He was the youngest swimmer in the final, where he finished about a second ahead of the runner-up (1:01.06)
Matheny just missed winning the 200 breaststroke, placing second by less than a second (2:12.69).
David Schraven, Matheny’s coach with Pittsburgh Elite Aquatics and the Upper St. High School team, said Matheny has superior technique, combined with drive.
“He has a very bright future,” Schraven said.
Matheny is the second Upper St. Clair swimmer in recent years to earn a junior national title.
Finn Minuth took first place in the men’s 400 freestyle in 2016, when he was 18. He was a junior on the South Carolina team last season.
Earlier, Matheny was named 2017-18 high school All-America in the 100-yard breaststroke by the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association.
The time he achieved in winning the PIAA Class AAA crown, 54.55, ranked him 17th among the top 100 performances in the event. Matheny also was WPIAL champion.
Matheny, junior Jack Fitzgerald, junior Samuel Reese and senior David Frauen ranked 41st in the 200 medley relay (1:32.90).
Fitzgerald came in 60th in the 500 freestyle (4:29.27) and 61st in the 200 individual medley (1:50).
Also honored were the Mt. Lebanon girls 200 medley relay team of freshman Hannah Morelli, sophomore Maddie Dorish, junior Trinity Ward and junior Libby McDyer, 74th (1:45), and Mt. Lebanon junior Owen Johns, boys diving.
Matheny is one of two members of his family to shine for Upper St. Clair.
His sister was WPIAL champion in the girls 200 freestyle and WPIAL runner-up in the 500 freestyle last season.
Abby Matheny will continue her career at Williams, a NCAA Division III school in Massachusetts. Eph coach Steve Kuster said her versatility will be an asset.