Apollo High School has a long-standing tradition of athleticism. Matthew Huston, an 18-year-old junior, and three-year member of the AHS swim team, is working hard to ensure that this tradition continues.
Matthew is enthusiastic about his girlfriend, is a pizza connoisseur and loves to dance. Matthew is also a friend, a teammate and an athlete with Down syndrome.
Bill Duncan, along with his wife Kelly, have served as the swim coaches at AHS for the past 15 years. When asked about Huston’s presence on the team, Coach Duncan credits Matthew for being an encourager.
“Matthew inspires me with the sheer joy he experiences and expresses when he arrives at the pool, when he’s hanging out with the team, and when he is racing. He loves being around people and they love being around him,” Duncan said.
Matthew began his swimming career nine years ago at the Special Olympics. His father David recalls Matthew’s very first experience as a competitive athlete.
“The excitement on his face while at the medal stand was something I’ll never forget,” David said. “He was ecstatic during introductions.”
Matthew would go on to receive a gold medal at the state level, and continues to inspire and uplift everyone he comes into contact with.
“I got into coaching because I enjoy working alongside young people who want to learn a great lifetime sport,” Duncan said. “I enjoy helping them realize that they are capable of more than they thought. I enjoy celebrating some of the best times and seeing the smiles.”
One of those “best times” as Coach Duncan recalls is a favorite memory with Matthew.
“One of my favorite swim moments was during Matt’s first year. He finished a race by hesitating before touching the wall. He then reached back and slapped the wall with a huge splash, throwing his fists in the air. Not a great finish, but a classic celebration,” Duncan said.
Aside from being an avid swimmer, Matthew has been actively involved with Music Studios for the past six years.
“Don’t put limits on your kids. There are no limits to what they can achieve,” David said. “Find something they like, and go for it! Everything we do, Matthew does as well.”
One of Matthew’s most recent adventures included zip lining with his family.
When asked what he enjoys most about being on the swim team at AHS, Matthew was quick to respond.
“I like being with my friends,” Matthew said.
For athletes like Matthew, who never holds back his infectious and joyous spirit, victory isn’t what matters. The camaraderie and support of his peers means so much more.
“Seeing my son the first time he competed at a high school swim meet and finish his race was exciting,” David said.
“For Matthew, it’s not about winning, it’s about being part of the team.”