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COWDREY Matthew
Sport Swimming
NPC Australia   
GenderMale
Born22 Dec 1988 in Adelaide, AUS
Height1.82 m
Weight 76 kg
Human Interest
Impairment Information
Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Congenital - Illness
Classification
S9, SB8, SM9
Further Personal Information
Residence
Adelaide, SA, AUS
Occupation
Athlete, Student
Languages
English
Higher education
Law, Media Studies - University of Adelaide: Australia
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
He took up swimming at age five in Adelaide, SA, Australia and began competing at age eight.
Why this sport?
His parents introduced him to swimming lessons so he would be safe in the family pool. Later on, he became addicted to competing against able-bodied swimmers. "It was just always that competitive edge and being able to push myself against the able-bodied competitors that really got me hooked on the sport."
Club / Team
Marion Swimming Club: Adelaide, SA, AUS
Name of coach
Jacco Verhaeren [national]; Peter Bishop [club]
International Debut
Year
2004
Competing for
Australia
General Interest
Nicknames
Matt (ausport.gov.au, 18 Dec 2009)
Hobbies
Playing golf, supporting American football team the New York Giants. (ausport.gov.au, 18 Dec 2009)
Hero / Idol
Australian swimmer Keiren Perkins. (swimming.org.au, 22 Nov 2010)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"You only get out what you put in." (swimming.org.au, 22 Nov 2010)
Awards and honours
He was named the Swimmers’ Swimmer of the Year by Swimming Australia in 2012. (Swimming Australia, 24 Nov 2012)

He was Australia's flag bearer at the closing ceremony of the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing. (paralympic.org.au, 18 Dec 2009)

He won the Australian Swimmer of the Year with a Disability award for 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. (paralympic.org.au, 18 Dec 2009)

He was named 2008 Male Paralympian of the Year by the International Paralympic Committee. (paralympic.org, 18 Dec 2009)

He received World Swimming Magazine's award for 2007 World Swimmer of the Year with a Disability. (paralympic.org.au, 18 Dec 2009)

In 2005 he received the Medal of the Order of Australia in recognition of his performances at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens. (itsanhonour.gov.au, 18 Dec 2009)
Impairment
He was born with a congenital amputation below the elbow of his left arm. The challenge of swimming against able-bodied athletes had him hooked on the sport from day one. "When I was pretty young still, in primary school, I was able to make the state 'able-bodied' swimming team, with South Australia not being the best and most competitive state, I was able to keep up and win medals." He says he does not look at himself as a person with a disability, "It has not stopped me doing anything, except maybe swinging off monkey bars when I was five." (abc.net.au, ausport.gov.au, 27 Sep 2010)
Other information
PARALYMPIC SUCCESS
He became the most successful Australian Paralympian when he captured eight more medals at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, taking his overall tally to 23 medals including 13 gold. South Australian state premier Jay Weatherill said the main pool at Adelaide's SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre would be named in Cowdrey's honour. "I was blown away when they asked me about re-naming the pool. It's a huge honour and to have my name associated with it is quite humbling," Cowdrey said. (paralympic.org, 12 Sep 2012; heraldsun.com.au, 25 Sep 2012)

FUTURE POLTICIAN
In 2014 he completed a three-month internship in the office of US congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in Washington, DC, United States, and he also has experience of working in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra, ACT, Australia. He would like to pursue a career in politics when he has finished his competitive swimming career. (smh.com.au, 03 Apr 2014)

HISTORY MAKER
He was the youngest member of Australia's swim team at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens. He was also the first swimmer with an impairment to make South Australia's able-bodied state swimming team. (paralympic.org.au, 18 Dec 2009; messenger-news.whereilive.com.au, 24 Jul 2008; abc.net.au, 27 Sep 2010)

Competition Highlights (historical)
Paralympic Games - Swimming
Rank Year Event Result
3 2004 50m Freestyle S9 26.88
1 2004 100m Freestyle S9 58.15
3 2004 400m Freestyle S9 4:31.80
6 2004 100m Backstroke S9 1:08.44
13 2004 100m Breaststroke SB9 1:18.92
2 2004 100m Butterfly S9 1:04.24
1 2004 200m Individual Medley SM9 2:21.80
1 2004 4 x 100m Medley Relay 34 Points 4:26.25
1 2008 50m Freestyle S9 25.34 CR
1 2008 100m Freestyle S9 55.30
2 2008 400m Freestyle S9 4:17.28
1 2008 100m Backstroke S9 1:03.34
2 2008 100m Butterfly S9 59.46
1 2008 200m Individual Medley SM9 2:13.60
2 2008 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay 34 Points 3:53.59
1 2008 4 x 100m Medley Relay 34 Points 4:11.90
2 2012 100m Butterfly S9 59.91
1 2012 100m Backstroke S9 1:02.39
2 2012 100m Breaststroke SB8 1:09.88
1 2012 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay 34 Points 3:50.17
1 2012 50m Freestyle S9 25.13
1 2012 200m Individual Medley SM9 2:15.95
1 2012 100m Freestyle S9 55.84
3 2012 4 x 100m Medley Relay 34 Points 4:14.97 Q
World Championships - Swimming
Rank Year Event Result
1 2006 50m Freestyle S9 26.30
1 2006 100m Freestyle S9 56.67
3 2006 400m Freestyle S9 4:23.85
2 2006 100m Backstroke S9 1:04.61
1 2006 100m Butterfly S9 1:02.31
1 2006 200m Individual Medley SM9 2:18.67
2 2006 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay 34 Points 3:58.64
1 2006 4 x 100m Medley Relay 34 Points 4:22.09
2 2010 100m Butterfly S9 1:00.35
1 2010 200m Individual Medley SM9 2:14.54
1 2010 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay 34 Points 3:48.72
1 2010 100m Freestyle S9 55.60
1 2010 50m Freestyle S9 25.53
1 2010 100m Backstroke S9 1:01.85
1 2010 4x100m Medley Relay 34 Points 4:13.33
1 2013 100m Freestyle S9 55.33
1 2013 50m Freestyle S9 25.16
1 2013 200m Individual Medley SM9 2:17.31
1 2013 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay 34 Points 3:51.14
3 2013 100m Butterfly S9 1:00.75
1 2013 100m Backstroke S9 1:03.23
4 2013 4 x 100m Medley Relay 34 Points 4:16.18
Commonwealth Games (Overall) - Swimming
Rank Year Event Result
1 2006 50m Multi Disability Freestyle 26.06
1 2006 100m Multi Disability Freestyle 56.73
1 2010 50m Freestyle S9 25.33
4 2010 100m Freestyle S10 55.57
World Championships Short Course - Swimming
Rank Year Event Result
1 2009 100m Backstroke S9 57.93
2 2009 100m Breaststroke SB9 1:07.22
2 2009 100m Butterfly S9 59.46
1 2009 100m Freestyle S9 53.57
1 2009 100m Individual Medley SM9 59.07
1 2009 200m Individual Medley SM9 2:11.83
1 2009 50m Freestyle S9 24.45
1 2009 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay 34 Points SC 3:46.38
1 2009 4 x 100m Medley Relay 34 Points 4:08.37