Matt Marshall’s splashing success is leaving Wisconsin’s competition in his wake.
The sophomore was named Big Ten Swimmer of the Week Jan. 8 because of his performance at the Rainbow Invite in Honolulu, Hi. In that early January meet, Marshall won the 50-yard and 100-yard butterfly and 50-yard freestyle, and he helped four of the Badgers’ relay teams post first-place finishes.
In the previous season, Marshall finished fourth in the 400 free relay and third in the 200 free relay at the Big Ten Championships. This year the sophomore is definitely looking to better those results.
“Last year at the Big Tens I didn’t swim as well as I wanted to. I swam personal bests, but I didn’t place as high,” said Marshall. “I’m hoping to win the 100 fly at the Big Ten Championships this year and place well in my other events and hopefully win some relay titles as well.”
While Marshall is currently focused on his collegiate meets, there was a time when he was just as focused, and effective, at the prep level. In high school, Marshall won all the events in which he swam during his junior and senior years.
In fact, Marshall’s high school races left little to be desired, on more than one level.
During a meet in Tahoe, Marshall’s trunks started to slide off right after he dove into the pool. However, he was able to pull them up in conjunction with his first stroke and finish the race.
Coming out of high school, Marshall was a very talented swimmer, with plenty of potential. However, aside from his sectional victories, he had not accomplished a whole lot.
He began making a name for himself as an up-and-coming swimmer after his un-freshmanlike performance at a meet in Charlotte, N.C., and since has used that momentum to improve.
“He’s a very hard worker and someone who has done all the little extras in order to be great at some point. When that time comes is a little bit unknown, but the progress he’s made recently is astounding,” said Coach Hansen.
When Marshall’s collegiate career at UW is over in two years, he will try his hand at international competition when he attempts to qualify for the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team that will compete in Athens, Greece. Marshall has already qualified for the trials and is hoping to realize his childhood dream of being a member of the U.S. Olympic Team.
“Now he’s top four in the country in the 100 fly and the end of the season is going to be amazing for him …. Hopefully I can expect to see him on the national team this summer,” said Hansen.
Not only has Marshall been a standout individually, he has contributed greatly to all of the relays on which he swims: the 200 medley, 200 free, 400 medley and 400 free. Marshall is joined on these relay teams by Dale Rogers, Lance Jones and Brendan Coyne.
“Their strength is being able to compete,” Hansen said of the relay squad. “They go in there with the attitude of ‘anyone, anywhere, anytime.’ That’s when it’s fun, and they are second in the country.”
If Marshall keeps that same attitude individually, he can make his dreams of conference and international success a reality.