The student news site of Vista del Lago

The Vista Voice

The student news site of Vista del Lago

The Vista Voice

The student news site of Vista del Lago

The Vista Voice

Matt Klotz

A Vista alumnus makes a splash in the competitive world of swim
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Matt Klotz does some heavy lifting for his swim career.

As a world-record swimmer and Big Brother finalist, Matt Klotz is no stranger to high-profile achievements. From Louisiana State to the Deaf Olympics, he’s made a name for himself through accolades and record-breaking times. Today, he’s an esteemed college athlete, but not long ago, he was a student at Vista.

Matt Klotz attending his senior ball in the royal court

Even at an early age, Klotz had great talent. At 17, he competed in the Deaf Olympics, where he claimed the gold medal for men’s 100m and 200m backstroke. “What was cool was going into it. I was kind of an unknown name, but when I did my races, all of a sudden everyone was saying, ‘Oh gosh, the new guy’s really good,’’’ said Klotz.

Only a year later, Klotz was on to his next competition: the 2018 U.S. National Swimming Championship. Here, he would surpass two world records for deaf swimmers, one of which he previously set, the men’s 50-meter backstroke.

“I wanted to achieve something really big, not really making it my name, no, but spreading awareness for the deaf community and being able to push the limits,” said Klotz. “There are no limits that are put on me or anyone else.”

Matt Klotz

Today, Klotz’s extensive resume is decorated with 15 Deaf Olympic medals: nine gold, two silver, and four bronze. He is a celebrated athlete, named both the 2013 Deaf Athlete of the Year and the 2018 Deaf Sportsman of the Year by the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf. Still, his road to the limelight was not one without hurdles. Both in and out of the pool, Klotz found himself challenged by his limited hearing. “I would have late starts…it would be hard doing other sports, like in football, the plays being called out and getting hit in the head — hearing aids can break.”

Some would consider deafness to be a setback in what is otherwise a successful career. Klotz, however, sees it as an advantage towards personal growth. “It taught me a lot of lessons,” he said, “ It taught me to be patient… it kind of humbles you a bit…and it helped me be aware of everything around me and not just be a selfish person.”

While his self-motivation is apparent, Klotz had significant models as well. He was brought up around athletes who were successful in their own right. Notably, Klotz’s sister was a swimming champion at the University of Alabama. “She would always talk about being a college athlete, and that motivated me,” said Klotz. His parents, while not swimmers, were supporters and role models. “My dad was never my coach, but he was my life coach,” said Klotz. “He would push me to get past barriers and not give up.”

With the next Deaf Olympics only a year away, Klotz’s sights are on his newfound goals. “One of my focuses for the next Deaf Olympics is to break the all-time most deaf medals in history,” he said. With 22 medals to his name, he needs only ten more to shatter this record.

The future looks bright for Klotz, who today is a prime example of Vista’s high-achieving alumni. Looking back on his years in amateur swimming, he puts in a word of advice for all the up-and-coming athletes: “As long as you put in the work, the dedication, and the patience into it, there are no limits.”

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