Josh Matheny

Eleanor Bailey/The Almanac

Josh Matheny of Upper St. Clair has another reason to celebrate. The two-time WPIAL and PIAA champion and record holder recently captured gold during the FINA Junior World Swimming Championships held Aug. 20-25 in Budapest.

Josh Matheny of Upper St. Clair will compete in the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships to be held Aug. 20-25 in Budapest, Hungary. He was one of 45 boys and girls selected to represent Team USA.

The Upper St. Clair junior qualified by claiming two Under-18 titles during the Phillips 66 U.S. National Championships held at Stanford University. The 16-year-old son of Kristin and Jeff Matheny posted the fastest times among all swimmers in the country in the U-18 division in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events. He took third among all swimmers in the 200 and 12th overall in the 100.

His times of 2:11.02 in the 200 and 1:00.91 in the 100 also met the qualifying standards for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. That event will be held June 21-28 in Omaha, Neb.

Matheny’s time in the 200 also set a new national record for the 15-16 age group. It is now the second national record he set this season.

During the PIAA championships, he won a state title in the 100-yard breast with a 52.52 mark, which broke the National Federation of State High School Association’s standard. Matheny also broke the meet record set in 2000 by Brendan Hansen by nearly a second. The Haverford product went on to become a six-time Olympic medalist.

Matheny, who was the 2018 U.S. junior national champion in the 100 breaststroke and a member of the 2018-19 U.S. men’s junior team, is a two-time PIAA and WPIAL champion in his premier event.

Matheny, who swims for Pittsburgh Elite Aquatics Club, recently, led the list of area swimmers garnering All-America honors from the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association. He ranked No. 1 in the nation for the 100-yard breast and 40th in the 200 IM. His time of 1:49.00 earned him a fourth-place medal at the 2019 PIAA championships.

In other local swim news, Leah Smith of Mt. Lebanon competed in the FINA World Championships held in July in South Korea.

The Oakland Catholic and University of Virginia graduate placed third in the women’s 400-meter freestyle (4:01.29) and fifth in the 800 freestyle (8:17.10).

A two-time Olympic medalist, Smith competed in the 2016 Summer Games held in Brazil.

The daughter of Dan and Margee Smith hopes to again gain a spot on the U.S. Team for the 2020 Olympic Games to be held July 24-Aug. 9 in Tokyo.

Almanac Sports Editor

An award-winning journalist, Eleanor Bailey has been employed by Observer Publishing Company since 1982. She is the sports editor at The Almanac and a contributor for the Observer-Reporter.

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