Making a Splash: Matt Desmond

11th grader Matt Desmond

11th grader Matt Desmond

Steven Cass, Ranger Review Staff

As a student at Greely High School, 11th grader Matthew Desmond, with a decorated list of achievements, has already become one of the greatest swimmers the school has ever seen. His proudest accomplishments include placing 2nd in the state for his age group in the 500 freestyle and mile at the Maine Winter Championships in 2018. He also ranked 2nd in the state as a freshman and holds the Seacoast team record in the 500 freestyle and 100 IM. Furthermore, he holds the freshman record on the Greely High School swim team in the 500 and 200 freestyle.

However, being such a gifted swimmer didn’t come without years of training and a strong work ethic. Matt started taking swimming lessons when he was a one-year old, meaning it has always been an integral part of his life. He started to learn how to swim with the intent of being fast in 1st Grade, and it was only a matter of time before he began swimming for sport. It was in 2nd Grade that his mom asked if he wanted to pursue swimming as an extracurricular activity, and it’s been his main sport ever since. In the 9 years to follow, Matt has continued to take swimming seriously, especially at his swimming meets.

“To prepare for swim meets I usually eat very healthy food and drink a lot of water in the days leading up to the meet,” Matt said. “Then the day of the meet I spend all the time before the meet stretching, listening to music, and visualizing my races in my head over and over. I picture every single detail of the race and go through the motions repeatedly. When I am at the meet, I warm up for 10 minutes before each race and make sure that I am loose and mentally prepared to swim.” 

One aspect of his life that Matt wishes others could see is his work-ethic. “I wish that there was a way for people to see how much work goes into the sport and that nobody can perform on a high level without putting in a ton of work. I wish that people could see how much time and effort I put into the sport and that I am not naturally good at it. I just work hard every day to meet my goals.”

Matt has several influences that keep him motivated. He cites his coaches, teammates, and famous swimmers Michael Phelps, Andrew Seliskar, and Nathan Adrian as a handful of people that “influence him in a great way.”

Matt has unfortunately been held back recently by an elbow injury that has kept him from swimming. He finds that he is constantly wishing that he could be in the pool training so that he’s in the best condition he can possibly be in for the season. 

“I get very anxious about whether or not I will be able to meet the goals that I set for myself going into the swim season. I worry about being slower than I was before I got injured and that it will take too much time for me to get back to where I was and continue to improve as I was before.”

Nevertheless, Matt does not plan to let his injury hold him back long-term. 

“I plan on swimming in college so that I have something to show for all of the work that I have put in up to this point in my life.”

Beyond that, Matt is unsure if he’ll continue his swimming career.

“I like the thought of it, and if I had the opportunity to swim as a career I would do it, but I don’t know if I will ever be able to swim on that level.”