A TALENTED young Tavistock swimmer has come home with no fewer than seven medals from the Commonwealth Youth Games, writes Sarah Pitt.
Matthew Ward, 18, attended Tavistock’s Mount Kelly where he trained with coaches Emma Collings-Barnes and Greg King-Limb at the Mount Kelly Swim Centre.
He represented Scotland in the annual games, the young people's version of the Commonwealth Games, held in Trinidad and Tobago.
Born in Scotland and partly raised in the US, he has called Tavistock home for four years now.
Matthew did spectacularly well, coming back with four individual golds in the 50, 100, 200 metre backstroke and the 200m IM (individual medley).
He also got a silver medal in the 100 freestyle and an additional two silver medals in the mixed freestyle and mixed medley relays.
The swimming action took place from August 6 at the National Aquatic Center in Couva, Trinidad, in the Caribbean.
Matthew's achievement marked him out as the most decorated Scottish sportsman ever at the youth games.
As a result, he invited to be Team Scotland’s flag bearer at the closing ceremony
"This a huge achievement and one his school, friends and family are all extremely proud," said his dad Alan.
Matthew, who returned home at the weekend, said: “It just is a dream come true to come away with being the most successful sportsman at the Commonwealth Youth Games.
"I have been concentrating on this for a couple of years now and everything was heading in the right direction. I just needed to get a bit bigger, a bit stronger, a couple of things needed to fall into place so we knew this would be a big summer.”
He had success earlier in the summer, at the European Junior Championships in Belgrade in Serbia, where he represented Great Britain alongside fellow Mount Kelly swimmers Blythe Kinsman and Erin Little.
He secured individual bronze medals in the 50m backstroke, the 100m backstroke and the 200m IM, making him Great Britain’s most sucessful swimming at that championships.
His latest achievement at the Commonwealth Youth Games takes his swimming to another level again..
"My ambition has always been to represent my country and at the European Juniors I represented Great Britain and at the Commonwealth Youth Games I represented Scotland so I’m pleased that now I have done both."
Matthew now has his sights set on taking part in the Olympics in 2028 and plans to train at the prestigious Bath Performance Centre, alongside university studies in mechanical engineering.