Newquay 2012 star Matt Whorwood 'proud' of success
LONDON 2012 bronze medalist Matt Whorwood, from Newquay, was one of the star attractions when the British Gas GBR disability swimming team met school children in Swansea this week.
Gold medalist and BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2012 contender Ellie Simmonds was also in attendance, as the Great Britain team put local children through their paces at the Wales National Pool on Tuesday morning.
It has been quite a year for Whorwood, the highlight being his appearance at the London 2012 Paralympics, winning bronze in the 400m Freestyle – four years after competing in Beijing at the age of 18.
But despite his success, and having lived away from Cornwall for the past four years, as he continues his degree in engineering in South Wales, Whorwood insists Cornwall remains close to his heart.
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He said: "I feel very fortunate to be in the position I am now, to have appeared in two Paralympics, it's been very hard work but every single minute has been completely worth it.
"I don't think anybody expected the Olympics and Paralympics to be as successful as they were, and it's just awesome that it's inspired more people to take up sports.
"Being Newquay born and bred I was really proud to do it for the area and the rest of Cornwall.
"With university and training I don't get many chances to come back home, but it's always nice when I do come down and see so many familiar faces."
Whorwood's swimming education began when he took part in surf life saving lessons with his father and brother.
But the 22-year-old revealed how it was when training indoors during the winter months that his love for swimming really took off.
And it was with the Newquay Cormorants club that Whorwood's swimming potential was realised.
He said: "Newquay really took me under their wing, and without their advice and support I wouldn't be where I am today."
The same could be said of St Stephen's Jonathan Fox and Ben Procter, from Cubert, who also came up through the ranks with the Cormorants and appeared in this summer's Games.
Fox claimed gold in the S7 100m backstroke and Procter reached the finals in two events – the 200m freestyle and 100m backstroke.
The trio will, of course, be hoping to represent the Duchy and GB again in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Whorwood's immediate thoughts, however, are on next year's World Championships in Canada.
He said: "In between studies I'll be training very hard."
Matt Whorwood is a member of the British Gas GBR Disability Swimming Team. British Gas has been the principal partner of British Swimming since 2009 and is encouraging everyone in Britain to discover the benefits of swimming. Visit www.facebook.com/BGSwimming