Pathway to podium: Matthew Hyde

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When it comes to hours spent in the water, Matthew Hyde clocks up enough pool time to warrant classing it as a part-time job. The talented 19-year-old has been swimming competitively since he was 13 and is committed to representing New Zealand in the pool at the Olympic Games.

Matthew Hyde

He trains day in, day out, all year round, churning up and down the pool for hours, in an effort to shave milliseconds off his times.

Recognised as part of the Pathway to Podium programme, Matthew has already competed at the Oceania Swimming Champs, where he placed second in the 400 freestyle. This year he has his sights firmly set on even more success at the NZ Nationals in April.

Fitness Journal has a quick chat…

How did you become involved in the sport?
I was 13 when I took up competitive swimming. My swim coach at the time thought I had potential so she introduced me to Graeme Laing and I started training under him. He is still my coach.

Your upcoming 12 months?
I’ll continue training hard and mainly I’m aiming for top results at the NZ Nationals (April) and to be selected for the World University Games.

What are your achievements to date?
• Fourth at 2016 NZ Open in 400m and 200m freestyle.
• First time as a senior NZ representative swimmer achieving a second in 400 free and a fifth in the 200 free at Oceania Swimming Champs.
• A member of the Aquaknights Zonal team for 2016
• Age group champion in the 400 free in 2015

What motivates you to keep involved?
I enjoy swimming with the daily challenges, both mental and physical and the camaraderie of fellow swimmers.

What is the greatest challenge?
The lack of funding and lack of high level competition in New Zealand.

The team around you?
My swim coach Graeme Laing, gym coach Logan Posthumus and my family. Graeme oversees my whole training schedule, inclusive of any outside consultants, he ensures my technique, swim fitness and training is correct. He also helps tweak any training issues and pushes me through any physical and mental barriers I run into. The gym side of things is equally important, ensuring my body is developing the correct muscles for swimming and enabling me to keep injury free.

What does your sport involve in terms of training?
Nine to ten two-hour swim training sessions every week and two one-hour gym sessions. I also stretch daily.


What gives you the most pleasure from your sport?
Doing well in training and surpassing personal best times in racing.

What are your long-term goals?
2020 Olympics. To get there I need to stay dedicated to my training programme and race hard. There is a need to constantly consolidate and improve.

Was there a time when you thought of giving up and why?
Yes, when I was 14 years old. I wasn’t enjoying myself and I wasn’t improving my times. It can get discouraging but my love of the sport and the people around me kept me motivated and I stuck with it.

Where are your favourite training spots?
I train year-round in the Matamata pools, but have trained at altitude in Spain and Australia. Spain was cool but very hard work.

Where in the world would you want to train/compete and why?
Training-wise, wherever my coach is I will go.  I would like to compete on the world circuit, where you race in a different country each week, both for the challenge of competing in new venues and racing against fresh competition. It would be a great way to see the world!

Name five things about you/your sport people would be surprised to know?
–  I do 20- 25 hours of training a week, every week all year round, just to drop half a second in a race.
–  I average about 7 km each swim session, which is 280 lengths, that’s 2520 lengths per week.
– Swimming doesn’t have an ‘off’ season.
–  I have achieved a hole in one at golf.
–  I hold age group national records for pool events in surf lifesaving.

Who inspires you and why?
Lauren Boyle inspires me due to her insane work ethic and achievements as a swimmer.

What advice wold you give to someone who wants to take up the sport?
Find a good coach who you trust and are comfortable with. They need to know when to push you and how to motivate you. Be prepared to work hard to achieve results.


The nationwide Pathway to Podium programme includes 45 Waikato pre-high performance athletes selected by their National Sport Organisation (NSO) and aims to recognise and help prepare them for life as high performance athletes. Waikato Pathway to Podium is led by Sport Waikato, and is part of the national Pathway to Podium programme established by High Performance Sport New Zealand and Sport New Zealand.

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