At the IPC World Swimming Championships in Eindhoven in August, Matt Cowdrey, aged 21, won gold medals in six events, setting world record times in the 100 metres backstroke and the 4 x 100 metres freestyle relay. He also won a silver medal in the 100 metres butterfly.
He followed this up two months later in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi with a world record breaking performance to take the gold medal in the men’s 50 metres freestyle S9 classification, winning by almost 1.5 seconds.
Born with a congenital amputation of his lower left arm, he began swimming at the age of five. He quickly began to make a mark, breaking his first Australian record at 11 and his first world record at 13. At the age of 15, he returned from the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games with three gold, two silver and two bronze medals and two world records. Following Athens, Matt was named the Australian Swimmer of the Year with a Disability three years in a row, Junior Male Paralympian of the Year and was awarded the Order of Australia medal.