Comfort zone: For Dolphins’ Matthews, swimming is a haven

Photo by Dean Humphrey—Carlos Matthews has lived in a lot of different places in the world, but wherever his family has lived, Matthews could be found in the pool. The Grand Junction Dolphins swimmer posted strong times Sunday in the Western Slope Winter League Swim Championships, with the top time in the 400-yard individual medley.

For Carlos Matthews, swimming has been a constant in his life.

Growing up in a family that moved frequently, Matthews always gravitated to the pool.

“When we moved, I was trying to get with a swim team,” Matthews said.

When he moved to Grand Junction at age 10, he joined the Grand Junction Dolphins. Now in middle school, Matthews, 14, has been making a splash as one of the top swimmers on the team.

At the Western Slope League Winter Championships on Sunday at the El Pomar Natatorium, Matthews posted the top time among three age groups in the 400-yard individual medley, was on the winning 200 freestyle relay team and finished with the top time in his age group in the 100 butterfly and 200 freestyle.

As a kid, Matthews grew up all over the world. He was born in Mexico and lived in places like Wyoming and Texas.

“Moving is kind of hard,” Matthews said.

“I leave good friends but I make new ones, so when I move around, it’s kind of a good thing because you know a lot of other people from around the country. So it’s better that way.”

Matthews’ family even spent time living in Ireland when he was 3 years old. Although he wasn’t swimming at the time, he still spent time near the water.

“I do remember the ocean a lot,” Matthews said. “I used to like to go down by the beach there, although the water was freezing so I couldn’t go in.”

Although some may not enjoy the frequent moving, it has given Matthews the opportunity to work with different coaches, each of whom bring something different to the table.

“It helps me build more because I learn something from the next coach that I didn’t before,” Matthews said.

Dolphins head coach Dale Leonhart has been working with Matthews for only a few months and has been pleased with his progress.

“He’s coming along,” Leonhart said, noting that Matthews had worked to improve his breaststroke.

“(The breaststroke) part of his 400 IM was his most significant improvement.”

The meet, which started on Saturday, was won by Montrose with 2272 points. The Dolphins took third with 1803 points.

Twelve-year-old Taylor Kidd picked up wins for Grand Junction in the 100 individual medley, 100 backstroke and the 200 freestyle in the 12 and under division

Cyrus Pearo won the 15 and older 100 backstroke and 200 freestyle.

Alexandra MacAskill won the 25 breaststroke in the 8 and under division.


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