NEWBURY — Opposing coaches couldn’t help but give Newbury swimmer Matthew Yish a round of applause after his work was completed at New England Championships earlier this month.
Yish, who will turn 13 in April, collected five gold medals, two silvers and one bronze -- along with the High Point Award -- in the 12-and-under division at the New England Championships in White River Junction, Vt. Yish swam AAAA times in seven of his nine events, putting him in the top one percent of swimmers nationally in each of those events. He earned a top-50 national ranking in the 100 freestyle and 200 butterfly.
“I had a few records I wanted to break,” Yish said. “I wanted to swipe all of the fly records. My main focus was to do my best and get first overall.”
Yish broke Solo Aquatics team records in the 100 and 200 butterfly, along with the 50 and 100 freestyle. He earned gold in all four events, and the combination of the 200 fly and 100 free earned him an ovation from opposing coaches.
He finished the 200 fly -- one of the meet’s most difficult events -- in 2:10.95, and then 17 minutes later, he won the 100 free in 52.42.
“I love racing,” Yish said. “The practices are nice, but racing is what I swim for.”
Yish trains six days a week with Solo Aquatics. During the week, he practices from 5:30 to 7 p.m., swimming roughly 6,000 yards per workout. He swims year-round with the lone break coming for two weeks in August.
Yish’s long-course season started immediately following the New England Championships. He will compete in a long-course meet -- in a 50-meter pool -- at Hanscom in Concord April 6 and 7.
“The kids I’m racing in long course are much bigger, older and developed than the kids I raced at the last meet,” Yish said. “I’m looking forward to having a bigger competition to see where I can place against those kids.”
Yish has aspirations to qualify for the Olympics at the height of his swimming career, and he says his coach, Matt Forrest, is on the same page. He knows the ascent to the top will require hard work in addition to his talent.
“The talent only takes you so far,” Yish said. “You can really try hard and do well, or you can have a lot of talent and do well. But the people at the top have talent, and they work harder than everyone else.”
Yish’s top times
50 free 24.30
100 free 52.42
200 free 1:56.80
500 free 5:19.69
1,000 free 11:06.49
50 back 28.55
50 fly 26.83
100 fly 58.21
200 fly 2:10.95