Olympic History: Tokyo 2020
Highlights: World Champion 4x100 mixed medley relay
Year Born: 1998
State Born: NSW
Matthew had set his sights on becoming an Olympian and he certainly wasn’t going to allow the fact that he just missed out on qualifying for the 2016 Rio Games deter him.
The Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre swimmer bounced back from the disappointment of 2016 to make his Dolphins debut at the 2017 Budapest word championships where he placed eighth in the 200m breaststroke. He broke through for first international win of his career when he captured gold in the men’s 4x100m medley relay at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, while also winning his first individual medal, a bronze in the 200m breaststroke.
He replicated that performance with another third at the 2018 Pan Pacs in Tokyo but the quantum leap in his swimming would not come before the 2019 world championships in Gwangju where he stunned the world by equalling the world 20m breaststroke record in the semi-finals of the event.
His record, 2.06.67 did not last for long, barely a day in fact, before Anton Chupkov of Russia eclipsed it in winning the gold but there was a real sense of achievement as Wilson claimed the silver in a time only .01sec outside his career best.
It all set him up brilliantly for the Olympic selection trials in Adelaide in June 2021, only for a personal tragedy to intervene. Wilson’s grandmother, to whom he had dedicated his swimming, died just days before the trials. He competed in her honour nonetheless but his time in placing second to Zac Stubblety-Cook, 2.08.52 was less than a quarter of a second outside the automatic qualifying time.
Olympic head coach Rohan Taylor admitted the selectors weren’t aware of Matt’s grief until after he had raced and said they had used their discretionary powers to add him to the 35-strong Olympic Team.
In Tokyo He placed 22nd in his heats of the 100m breaststroke in 1.00.03 and in his favourite 200m breaststroke he finished 14th in 2.10.10.
Since Tokyo, Matt has added another world championship silver medal to his collection after competing in the heats of the 4x100m mixed medley relay in Budapest. He subsequently took a break from the pool but surfaced at the NSW state titles in March 2023.