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Then-sophomore Matthew Fallon competes in the men's 1650y freestyle during a meet against Rider University at Sheerr pool on Jan. 27, 2023.

Credit: Samantha Turner

If you think your weekends have been busy, junior breaststroker Matt Fallon’s November has been jam-packed — three straight weekends of Quaker dual meets, a trip to Los Angeles for the 2023 Golden Goggles Awards, and most recently, the U.S. Open in Greensboro, N.C. But, it’s clear that the 2023 Worlds medalist is not slowing down any time soon as we approach championship season. 

At the U.S. Open, Fallon’s first event was the 100-meter breaststroke. In morning prelims, Fallon swam a 1:01:10 time to finish third in his heat and eighth overall — sneaking into the A-final. The 100m is historically his weaker of the two breaststroke events.

That evening in the finals, Fallon’s recent top-speed work and long-course training clearly paid off. Fallon stayed with the pack during the beginning of the race — his 50m split being one of his all-time fastest first 50m split in the event. During the last 50m, he raced his signature high-tempo back-half in a time of 31:15, which was the fastest of the field. He finished in fifth, closely behind the pack with a time of 59.92. This was a personal best for Fallon and his first time breaking the 1:00 barrier — a much needed confidence boost ahead of his signature event the next day. 

The following morning, in the 200m breast preliminaries, Fallon stayed in control and won his heat with a time of 2.09.86 — finishing second, just 0.06 seconds behind 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist Cody Miller going into finals.

Fallon responded to Miller’s swim with an outstanding performance in that night’s finals. In typical fashion, Fallon was seventh at the 50m. However, he quickly moved to second at the 100m mark. For the rest of the race, fellow 2023 Worlds medalist Josh Matheny and Miller followed closely behind Fallon, but Fallon’s signature back-half technique was no match.

Fallon’s last 50m split was the fastest of the field — propelling him to a U.S. Open Championship title in record-breaking fashion. Fallon’s final time of 2.09.49 was two seconds off of his personal best set this past summer, and a new U.S. Open meet record that was originally set by Miller in 2019. Miller finished 0.35 seconds behind Fallon for second, and Matheny rounded out the podium with a 2:10.49. 

The meet served a preview of what to expect this June at the 2024 Olympic Trials in Indianapolis, where many of America’s top swimmers who competed in Greensboro will also swim. Fallon continues to cement himself as the top American in the 200m breast event. However, fellow world-class breaststrokers like Miller and Matheny prove it will not be an easy road to Paris in 2024.