Jo Matthews – We can and we will
How did you first become involved with swimming?
When I was 14, I went along to the local swimming club and asked if I could join. They were a bit surprised due to my age and that I was a virtual non-swimmer. My real reason for going was to meet boys! They set me a challenge of being in the top squad by Christmas, which was only 3 months away. That’s when I knew I loved a challenge and much to their surprise, I made it. After swimming for a couple of years, I gave it up to do other sports.
What do you love about swimming?
It is like a drug; I don’t feel like I have achieved in the day if I haven’t taken part in some sort of swimming. I hate it if I must miss a session due to illness.
When did you first join Masters Swimming?
I joined at 37 years of age, after a chance race against Mike Fibbins who was ranked 5th in the World for the 50m freestyle. He was the one that told me about Masters Swimming and strongly suggested I join a club.
Most memorable swimming moment?
In 2005, winning a silver medal in the 200m Butterfly at the World Masters Games in Edmonton Canada.
200, 100 & 50 Fly and 400, 200 & 100 IM
How often do you swim, and where?
I swim six times a week, 4 times at the NAC with Jan Croft and twice a week at the Good Shepherd Pool with Brian Stehr.
What motivates and inspires you?
Having short term and long-term goals and inspirational sports men and women.
Have you had setbacks to overcome?
Yes, in 2012 I was diagnosed with Lymphoma and was out the water for 18 months. Then last year I broke my arm and had to swim and compete one armed for 6 months.
Favourite things? Likes and dislikes?
Positive people, laughing and animals. Negative people, bad drivers and queuing.
What upcoming events are you swimming in?
I’m looking forward to the Nationals and States next year when I move into the 65-69 age group.
Other interesting facts about you?
I’m President of the Noosa Masters Swimming club. I have two Grandchildren, Lily who is 5 and Grace who is 2, and a Shih Tzu/Maltese Cross female dog called Charlie and a female tabby cat called Diana. I am an ex-Principal of a High School and I am still involved in teaching and tutoring, as well as running an Airbnb business.
Philosophy on life? Favourite saying?
Don’t give up, failures and obstacles make you stronger. ‘We can and we will.’
What would you say to someone who is thinking of becoming a Masters swimmer?
Do it! It is great fun, you meet some amazing people and you will surprise yourself, in what you can achieve.