First-year Social Sciences student, Mr Matthew Bedderson, scooped two gold medals and one silver at the South African Senior National Swimming Championships held in Port Elizabeth recently.

He won the gold medals in the 50m and 200m Breaststroke events and a silver medal in the 100m Breaststroke in the SA Youth Category which is for swimmers who are not older than 18 years and have the requisite youth qualifying times.

‘The feeling of winning is one of extreme elation. It means that the sacrifice made in the long hours spent training has finally yielded positive results and encourages one to achieve even further,’ said Bedderson.

Ironically, his interest in swimming came about at age six, after he nearly drowned in a pool. His parents then sent him for swimming lessons. ‘Once my confidence grew in the water, I did not want to stop swimming. I started competing at the age of 11,’ he said.

From there on, Bedderson went on to win the Senior Victor Ludorum at Northwood Boys High in 2016 and 2017. His other swimming achievements include three Gold medals at Level 2 in the SA National Swimming Championships for 50m, 100m and 200m Breaststroke and Honours for swimming at Northwood Boys High.

For Bedderson, swimming has instilled a sense of discipline, which not only has yielded results in competitive sport, but also in his academic achievements.

His future plans are to qualify for and compete at the 2021 World Championships, the 2022 Commonwealth Games and 2024 Olympic Games.

Offering advice to other students and sport enthusiasts, he said, ‘Dedication, discipline and hard work does pay off, and if you believe in yourself, you can achieve whatever you put your mind to.’

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photograph: Abdulbaqi Badru