ALucas Matzerath cannot remember that moment that threw him off course. The 21-year-old swimmer from SG Frankfurt was on the way to training in his car that morning when the film tore. Apparently he had miscalculated when turning left at a busy intersection. A 40-tonne truck sped into the driver’s side of his car; the athlete himself only knows that he later woke up in the hospital.
“I was lucky,” he says two weeks later. How unbelievable is the condition of his car, which is a total write-off. Matzerath miraculously got away with a slight whiplash and a few bruises. A few days ago he got back into training. The short course world championships just before Christmas in Abu Dhabi are his next goal. A week beforehand, he wants to recommend himself at a qualifying competition in Magdeburg at best for the 2022 long-track World Cup in Fukuoka, Japan.
The continental title fights in the 25-meter pool, which are currently being held in Kazan, will take place after the accident without the specialist for the chest stretches. His trainer Mark Jayasundara considered it better not to start a competition straight away after the short break. “The risk was too great,” explains the coach.
Despite thorough examinations in the clinic, one cannot know how the head reacts to high loads after such a hard impact. The training is carefully built up; Some exercises do not yet allow pain in some parts of the body. The person who stayed at home observes the competition mainly through the results. When it comes to medals in the water sports palace of the Russian metropolis, he does his own laps. The athlete says, “I got over the shock relatively quickly”. He is “slowly getting back to everyday life”.
The preliminary work shows how well Matzerath was prepared. At the World Cup in Berlin at the beginning of October, he improved his previous best performance by finishing third over the 100 meter chest in 57.97 seconds; Over half the distance he had also succeeded in this at the German championships in Wuppertal, where he won both gold medals, in 26.92. The Olympic participant from Tokyo seamlessly built on his achievements from the summer: At the Games, the debutant over 100 meters chest set a new personal record twice in a row and barely swam past the final in 59.31 seconds in ninth place. At the European Championships in Budapest before, the national title holder had already caused a sensation with several increases and as the best German with a fifth place over 50 meters chest.
The plan goes through Paris
“I just stayed on the ball,” says the 2.01 meter tall Schlaks, explaining his continuous upswing. For many others, the transition from the youth classes to the active area is difficult; many even stopped. Jayasundara builds up the individual training very systematically and allows new stimuli to flow in again and again. The coach is an integral part of the long-term performance development of the hardworking worker. With him, the talent from the small community of Titz near Düren moved from Mönchengladbach to Hesse in 2016; now the two are looking for a common sporting home again.
The internationally experienced A-license holder left Frankfurt in July for family reasons in order to move back to his former environment and thus to the proximity of the relatives. After his return from Asia and a few days of vacation, Matzerath planned a six-month training stay in Australia during the phase in which Jayasundara was reorienting itself. However, the stay abroad failed due to the pandemic due to the visa.
In September Matzerath moved into the sports boarding school in Bochum and is continuing his studies in electrical engineering at the university there. He also does his units in Essen, together with his new training partner and chest colleague Max Pilger, who wants to try something new after missing the Olympic qualification. Jayasundara, who gives lessons at a school, looks after the two as a personal coach. From January the expert is hoping for a new full-time job in a club. “There are a couple of options,” he says. But the perspectives and the atmosphere should be right.
It doesn’t matter where the father of two ends up in the area: Matzerath goes with them. That is not a compelling reason for a change of club: he feels very comfortable and in good hands with SG Frankfurt, and as a member of the national team he can choose his own training location. The Olympic third party Sarah Köhler, for example, continues to compete for the SGF, although she was drawn to Heidelberg and from there to Magdeburg at an early stage. Down under remains a goal for Matzerath, but only after the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024. The entire planning is geared towards this. The major events on the way there are important, but only intermediate stops.