Swimmer Matthew makes a splash at national event

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A Sabden teenager made a splash when he swam away with silver at the Association of College’s National Championships.

Sixteen year-old Matthew Sharpe – an A-Level student from Blackburn College – represented the college and the North West in the championships in Northumberland.

The former St Augustine’s pupil and previous Lancashire champion, who swims for Pioneer 79 swimming in Accrington, came third in 50m breaststroke and came second in the 200m freestyle relay, when he battled it out at the Sunderland Aquatic Centre.

Overall the North West team took home silver beating off stiff competition against 10 other regions.

Matthew was joined in the championships by plumbing apprentice Byron Abbot, 17 from Darwen who helped the North West Cross Country team win the silver medal. While the College’s cricket team came away in sixth place overall.

Speaking after taking home the medal, Matthew said: “I was really glad to have come away with a silver medal and a third in my individual event.

“It was a great weekend overall and I had a really good experience competing with other great swimmers from the North West.”

Matthew is part of Blackburn College’s Centre of Excellence. The Centre of Excellence at Blackburn College is aimed at students who want to excel in their chosen sport, as well as receive an outstanding education.

Students who are part of the Centre of Excellence receive bespoke training sessions, competitive matches, physiotherapy, access to all sport facilities and the opportunities to progress to professional sport teams.

Matthew Hinchley, College Sport Maker at Blackburn College, said: “Matthew and Byron’s success has demonstrated the progress we have made here at Blackburn College. I am really pleased for the pair of them, to qualify for nationals alone is quite an achievement, to then medal is fantastic.”

“This year has seen the most students the college has ever had participate in the AoC Sport National Championships and has contributed to the North West finishing 4th, its highest placing in recent years!”