As every fibre of his being pushed him to the wall during the Men’s 100m Butterfly at the World Swimming Trials, Matthew Temple was about to realise a lifelong dream.
Swimming sub 52 seconds for the first time in his career, the Nunawading athlete touched equal first with TSS Aquatics’ David Morgan to clock 51.47. In that split second, Temple smashed his personal best, became the third fastest Australian in the event and more importantly, qualified for his first Dolphins swim team.
Reflecting on the moment he secured his ticket to the 2019 World Championships in South Korea, the 20-year-old said it took days for the good news to sink in.
“As soon as I touched the wall in the 100m equal with David Morgan, I couldn’t believe it – it was a shock to me, but I knew I had swum as fast as I could,” Temple said during his maiden Dolphins training camp.
“When I got named (in the team) I was still in shock. Even a few days after I couldn’t believe I had finally made the team. It’s been a long goal of mine to represent Australia on the big stage.”
As the only debutant in the 27-strong team, Temple is the first athlete to feature in Swimming Australia’s new series ‘New Kids on the Blocks’, which aims to showcase our emerging Dolphins’ journey to the national team – a huge achievement for any swimmer.
Hailing from country Victoria, Temple begun racing competitively as a teenager. Developing his skills and love of the sport at a fast pace, his family made the decision to move to Nunawading and train under Scott Talbot in order to increase his opportunities for success.
“I started competing around the age of 14 or 15 and I have just been progressing since then,” he said.
“Moving to Nunawading around two years ago helped me a lot, especially working with a new coach in Scott Talbot. I have really been benefiting from new people and a higher level of training.”
This intense training regime, which sees Temple clock up 50km across nine two-hour sessions per week, has no doubt improved his times in the pool. In a testament to his commitment and determination, earlier this year at the 2019 Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Championships, Temple claimed a silver medal in the 100m butterfly and placed fourth for both the 200m and 50m fly.
It’s a tremendous result considering only a few months prior the BMX-loving labourer broke a few fingers and was reduced to working solely on his kicking.
“I broke three fingers not too long ago when I was tinkering with my car and the bonnet collapsed, so I was doing just kick for a couple of months,” he said.
“I also used to ride my BMX a bit but stopped because of the ‘no injury’ rules from my parents. Every time I left the house, they always told me ‘no injuries’,” he laughed.
It’s this support and positive influence that Temple credits for getting him to this point in his career. While swimming is an individual sport once you’re standing on the blocks about to hit the water, there’s always a team of people behind every athlete and for Temple, it’s his coach and family.
“My parents have supported and inspired me along the way, and I couldn’t have done it without them. They moved to Nunawading with me for my swimming and I’ll be forever thankful to them for that.
“They will travel to South Korea to watch me swim which means a lot – I think they are more excited than me,” he laughed.
Temple will compete in the men’s 100m and 200m butterfly events which takes place on Tuesday 23 and Friday 26 July, with the pool competition in South Korea beginning on Sunday 21 July.