Araceli Valencia

Junior Matthew Reichel practices on his freestyle with fins after school to prepare for his last swim meet of the year.


Matthew Raichel is known for his fast freestyle in swimming

May 15, 2015

For being “skinny and tiny,” as Matthew Raichel describes himself, now a junior, he is one of the fastest freestyle swimmers this year.

As a freshman he was talked into trying out for football which developed a fear of full contact sports. “Football is not for me, I’m too small,” he said. “I used to be a vegetarian because of that, I think that’s why I was small. I was afraid that somebody would tackle me if I played football.”

Raichel’s first time swimming was in the second grade. It was his freshman year when he decided to join the swim team. Throughout his high school years, he has encountered a few difficulties.

Despite the fact that he was small, Raichel could care less if he was smaller or bigger than anyone else on the team because swim was more speed.

“When we wear fins, it makes my feet really uncomfortable, which bothers me when I swim,” said Raichel. Because of his “pale complexion” as Raichel puts it, he constantly gets sunburnt, but it doesn’t affect him while swimming. “I always get labeled for putting on too much sunscreen. Just the usual stuff.”

“I never really had any complications, since swim isn’t a full contact sport,” Raichel said. “I’ve always enjoyed swimming. It makes me keep up with fitness.”

For being one of the fastest freestyle swimmers, he has improved ever since his freshman year.
Marcus Sherman, the coach of the swim team, has seen Raichel evolve since the start. “The first time I saw him swim I noticed he had trouble doing strokes because he didn’t know the right technique,” Sherman said.

“Now he is probably one of the hardest working guys on the swim team.”

Although he was the most improved in freestyle, Raichel still thinks he can progress throughout his senior year. “I’m planning to go to the gym over the summer,” he said, “so I can get stronger for water polo and swim.”

One of the best things he says he’s experienced is receiving compliments after his meets. Raichel says the teams are very nice, and that it’s a great experience for him to associate with other swim teams. When he first started swim, he thought he didn’t fit in with the team.

Going on his third year of doing aquatics in high school, he has created a solid bond with the team. “I never had a dilemma with anybody on the team,” he says.

Because of this Raichel has enjoyed swim ever since the start. “Swim makes me feel like I am part of a team.”

Raichel considers swim a passion. He has been swimming for eight years, and until his junior year he had tried out for water polo.

“I decided to play water polo my junior year because I felt it would be very different from swim,” he says. He plans to play water polo next year, as well. “Hopefully I improve a lot next year, so it can benefit me when I apply to colleges.” Raichel also plans to try wrestling his senior year.

He plans to continue his passion when he goes into college. “It’s something I want to keep on doing.” At this moment, Raichel has a grade point average of a 3.71. For all the effort he puts into his academics and sports, he hopes it’ll soon pay off.

Recently, he received an award for male swimmer of the year. “When I heard my name I was so surprised I received that award. I never expected it.”

“Matthew may be a quiet guy, but his teammates look up to him and (he) -performs well in the water.” Sherman said.

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