Swimming New Zealand homepage

The start of something extraordinary

Matson and Meehan to Officiate at World Championships

Two Wellingtonian technical officials have been selected to represent New Zealand at the World Swimming Championships in Barcelona, 24 July - 4 August. Matt Meehan will officiate at the pool events, while Paul Matson takes on the Open Water distance.

Matt Meehan has officiated at a number of international swimming events, including several Oceania Championships and Trans-Tasman Series, but this is his first selection for a major global competition. He could hardly believe it when he first heard the news because it had been an ambition of his for a long time.

When asked what he was most excited about Meehan commented, “I’m really looking forward to seeing the best swimmers in the world competing at the highest level. The atmosphere should be fantastic and I can’t wait to be there in person.”

It’s evident that Meehan takes his officiating role seriously. Although he is hoping to do a little sightseeing and sampling of the local paella he is not purely going for a holiday.

“It will be a great opportunity for me to meet up with fellow officials from around the world and learn from their experiences,” he said.

His most memorable moment as a technical official is enlightening for all athletes.

“There have been many great experiences, but the one that always sticks in my mind happened when I was relatively new to officiating. I was the Clerk of the Course at the National Opens in Auckland and at the end of the last session three or four of the top swimmers came around and thanked all of the officials for their time. That was really nice.”

When he’s not volunteering at the pool, or working, Meehan can be found on his boat – Wellington weather permitting. He enjoys heading to the Marlborough Sounds for fishing and diving in his spare time.

Paul Matson is one of only twelve international open water technical officials appointed for the World Championships. He has used his own open water swimming background to enhance his officiating skills.

“Having the experience of competing in open water events gives you an appreciation of what is going on while you watch something unfolding in front of you. I believe open water swimming is more about understanding the environment and how swimmers are acting and reacting to what is going on around them,” said Matson.

He is particularly looking forward to working with people from different parts of the globe and experiencing the Catalan culture as he has never been to that part of the world before.

This will be Matson’s second World Championship event; he went to the World Championships in Shanghai in 2011. He loved being close to the action and learnt a lot from the experience, but his most memorable moment as a technical official involves a boat incident at the Australian Open Water Championships earlier this year.

“I fell out of the boat and the boat then fell on me. The impression that left on the bridge of my nose was probably matched by the impression that incident left with all the Australians,” he said.

Matson is heavily involved in the Wellington community. He is the treasurer of his swimming club – Raumati, a rugby referee, and on the executive of the Horowhenua-Kapiti Rugby Referees Association where he has the role of allocating referees to all senior and college games from Paraparaumu to Foxton.

There is no doubt that both of these family men will represent New Zealand with pride, integrity and professionalism, while still enjoying some sangria and paella.