Matthew Walker – MBE
Matthew’s first international medal came with a bronze in the 100 m breaststroke at the 1997 European Championships in Spain. This was followed by four further European Championship medals and eight World Championship medals. He also won a bronze medal in the 50 m freestyle and finished fourth in the 100 m freestyle, at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, where he was the only disabled swimmer representing England.
Matt competed in the Paralympics for the first time during the 2000 games in Sydney. He received a bronze in the 100 m breaststroke SB7, silver in the 50 m freestyle S7 and gold in the 4×100 m freestyle 34 pts as part of the gold medal winning relay team, which also included Jody Cundy, Giles Long and David Roberts, and set a new world record time of 4:06.85.
In the 2004 Summer Paralympics, in Athens, Matt won a further two individual medals, silvers in both the 50 and 100 m S7 freestyle events, and was again part of the gold medal winning 4×100 m freestyle 34 pts relay team, which also included Roberts, Marc Woods and Robert Welbourn, that set a new world record of 3:59.62.
Beijing 2008 was his third appearance at a Paralympics, and Matt’s most successful to date with five medals won. He medalled in both the 50 and 100 m S7 freestyle events, and picked up medals in butterfly and medley events for the first time, winning silver in the 50 m S7 butterfly, with a European record time of 32.24 seconds, and bronze in the 200 m individual medley SM7.
Matt competed in his fourth paralympics at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and he won a bronze medal in the S7 men’s 50 metres freestyle. Matt dedicated the medal to the memory of his father Alan.
Matt was awarded a MBE in the 2009 New Year Honours list.