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INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE
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5929-Matthew Cowdrey photo

Matthew John Cowdrey

Swimming
19
8
3

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
S9, SB8, SM9

Further personal information

Residence
Adelaide, SA, AUS
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."

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 inducted into the Australian Path of Champions in 2014. The Path of Champions recognises the achievements of Australia’s top athletes. (swimswam.com, 21 Oct 2014)

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 an impairment. "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
RETIREMENT
He announced his retirement from competitive swimming in February 2015. (swimswam.com, 09 Feb 2015; smh.com.au, 14 Sep 2016)

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." (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)

Results

Unit Date Rank
IPC Swimming World Championships Eindhoven 2010 (Eindhoven, Netherlands)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 50 m Freestyle S9 Final Round 1
Men's 100 m Backstroke S9 Heat 2 1
Men's 100 m Backstroke S9 Final Round 1
Men's 100 m Butterfly S9 Heat 1 1
Men's 100 m Butterfly S9 Final Round 2
Men's 50 m Freestyle S9 Heat 3 1
Men's 4x100 m Medley 34pts Final Round 1
Men's 4x100 m Medley 34pts Heat 1 1
Men's 4x100 m Freestyle 34pts Final Round 1
Men's 4x100 m Freestyle 34pts Heat 1 1
Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM9 Final Round 1
Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM9 Heat 2 1
Men's 100 m Freestyle S9 Final Round 1
Men's 100 m Freestyle S9 Heat 2 1
Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games (Beijing, China)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 4x100 m Medley 34 pts Final Round 1
Men's 4x100 m Medley 34 pts Heat 2 2
Men's 4x100 m Freestyle 34 pts Final Round 2
Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM9 Final Round 1
Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM9 Heat 2 1
Men's 100 m Backstroke S9 Final Round 1
Men's 100 m Backstroke S9 Heat 2 1
Men's 100 m Butterfly S9 Final Round 2
Men's 100 m Butterfly S9 Heat 2 1
Men's 400 m Freestyle S9 Final Round 2
Men's 400 m Freestyle S9 Heat 1 2
Men's 100 m Freestyle S9 Final Round 1
Men's 100 m Freestyle S9 Heat 3 1
Men's 50 m Freestyle S9 Final Round 1
Men's 50 m Freestyle S9 Heat 3 1
Athens 2004 Paralympic Games (Athens, Greece)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m Butterfly S9 Heat 2 3
Men's 100 m Breaststroke SB9 Heat 2 7
Men's 100 m Backstroke S9 Final Round 6
Men's 100 m Backstroke S9 Heat 3 4
Men's 400 m Freestyle S9 Final Round 3
Men's 400 m Freestyle S9 Heat 2 2
Men's 100 m Freestyle S9 Final Round 1
Men's 100 m Freestyle S9 Heat 1 1
Men's 50 m Freestyle S9 Final Round 3
Men's 50 m Freestyle S9 Heat 3 3
Men's 100 m Butterfly S9 Final Round 2
Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM9 Heat 1 1
Men's 4x100 m Medley 34 pts Final Round 1
Men's 4x100 m Medley 34 pts Heat 1 2
Men's 4x100 m Freestyle 34 pts Final Round 2
Men's 4x100 m Freestyle 34 pts Heat 2 2
Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM9 Final Round 1
London 2012 Paralympic Games (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m Butterfly S9 Heat 2 2012-08-30 4
Men's 100 m Butterfly S9 Final Round 2012-08-30 2
Men's 100 m Backstroke S9 Heat 2 2012-08-31 5
Men's 100 m Backstroke S9 Final Round 2012-08-31 1
Men's 100 m Breaststroke SB8 Final Round 2012-09-01 2
Men's 100 m Breaststroke SB8 Heat 2 2012-09-01 1
Men's 4x100 m Freestyle 34pts Heat 2 2012-09-02 3
Men's 4x100 m Freestyle 34pts Final Round 2012-09-02 1
Men's 50 m Freestyle S9 Final Round 2012-09-05 1
Men's 50 m Freestyle S9 Heat 3 2012-09-05 1
Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM9 Final Round 2012-09-06 1
Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM9 Heat 2 2012-09-06 1
Men's 100 m Freestyle S9 Heat 3 2012-09-07 1
Men's 100 m Freestyle S9 Final Round 2012-09-07 1
Men's 4x100 m Medley 34pts Heat 2 2012-09-08 1
Men's 4x100 m Medley 34pts Final Round 2012-09-08 3
2013 IPC Swimming World Championships (Montreal, Canada)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m Freestyle S9 Final 1 2013-08-12 1
Men's 100 m Freestyle S9 Heat 2 2013-08-12 1
Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM9 Final 1 2013-08-13 1
Men's 50 m Freestyle S9 Final 1 2013-08-13 1
Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM9 Heat 2 2013-08-13 1
Men's 50 m Freestyle S9 Heat 2 2013-08-13 1
Men's 4x100 m Freestyle 34pts Final 1 2013-08-15 1
Men's 100 m Butterfly S9 Heat 1 2013-08-17 4
Men's 100 m Butterfly S9 Final 1 2013-08-17 3
Men's 100 m Backstroke S9 Heat 2 2013-08-18 2
Men's 4x100 m Medley 34pts Final 1 2013-08-18 4
Men's 100 m Backstroke S9 Final 1 2013-08-18 1